Turkey, Kazakhstan prepare for Nursultan Nazarbayev's visit to Ankara
Turkey is working with Kazakhstan to enhance bilateral ties in all areas, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference with his Kazakh counterpart Kairat Abdrakhmanov in the capital Ankara. Anadolu Agency reports in its article Turkey, Kazakhstan look to boost ties 'in all areas' that Cavusoglu said: "We are working together with the friendly and brotherly Kazakhstan to enhance our relations in all areas.”
He said the Fourth Turkey-Kazakhstan Joint Strategic Planning Group was held between the delegations headed by the ministers. He added they discussed the preparation for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's upcoming visit to Turkey as well as the Third Turkey-Kazakhstan High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting. Cavusoglu said both countries want to increase bilateral trade volume to $5 billion. "Turkish companies have played a very important role in the development of Kazakhstan," he added. Abdrakhmanov said Kazakhstan and Turkey will even realize $10 billion of bilateral trade volume in future. Cavusoglu thanked Kazakhstan for hosting the Astana talks aimed at ending the Syria conflict.
Role of Astana process
"The Astana process has played a substantial role in establishing a cease-fire, forming de-escalation zones and taking steps to build confidence [in Syria]," he said. Kazakhstan hosted eight meetings attended by representatives from Russia, Turkey, and Iran, the guarantor states that brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana peace talks running parallel to the Geneva talks.
Cavusoglu said there were some countries -- not involved in the talks -- that try to "weaken" the process. "We will continue with the Astana process in the upcoming period. The next talks will be held between May 14 and 15 in Astana," the minister said.
Abdrakhmanov said Turkey plays a "serious" role in the Astana process. He added Kazakhstan gave importance to the process since it aims to stop clashes and bloodshed there. "We see that Astana process is parallel to Geneva process and foresee that the political process will continue with the support of the UN," Abdrakhmanov added. Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, according to the UN.
Fight against FETO
Cavusoglu said Ankara supports Kazakhstan's fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey. "Our expectations are obvious and unfortunately, there are still some FETO members, even if some of them left the country," he added. The minister said security departments of Ankara and Astana were working together regarding this issue and they share information.
According to the government, FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary. Later on Thursday, Abdrakhmanov will be received by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.