Turkish delegation to visit Egypt in early May
A delegation of senior Turkish diplomats will pay Egypt an official visit early in May, Turkey's foreign minister announced on Thursday.
Speaking on a televised interview on a private Turkish broadcaster, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Egypt had invited the Turkish side for the visit, which is to be held at the deputy foreign minister-level.
TURKISH DELEGATION WILL VISIT CAIRO
The Turkish delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakcı will visit Cairo next month.
Following the meeting between delegations, Çavuşoğlu said he could meet his Egyptian counterpart as well.
IMPORTANCE OF EGYPT
Çavuşoğlu laid emphasis on Egypt in the region, saying: "Egyptian people are our brothers. Egypt is important for the Arab world, the Islamic world, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Africa and even beyond. Egypt's stability is important to everyone."
Turkey and Egypt have recently released statements on bilateral ties, suggesting an expected restoration in relations after more than seven years of political estrangement.
The two countries exchanged positive signals on establishing contacts and dialogue, including the possibility of holding talks to demarcate their maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean.
On recent tensions in the Black Sea, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey wanted the body of water to be a "sea of peace" and added that all coastal countries had come together and agreed to determine their maritime jurisdictions.
The US had sent a diplomatic notification to Turkey on April 9 for the passage of two of its warships through the Turkish straits, but Çavuşoğlu said the US canceled the note verbally pending official notification. The vessels were to arrive in the Black Sea on April 14-15 and remain until May 4-5.
If the US warships do not pass, Çavuşoğlu said the mandated 15-day notification period would start over.
"Turkey strictly follows the Montreux Convention [Regarding the Regime of the Straits]. Neither Russia nor anyone else should have concerns about that," he added.
The Montreux Convention was signed in 1936, giving Turkey control over its straits and authority to regulate the transit of naval warships.
Under the terms of the convention, the US, as a non-Black Sea power, is obligated to give Turkey prior notice before sending warships through the Bosphorus and Canakkale waterways, which connect that sea with the Marmara Sea.
The US is reportedly already carrying out reconnaissance flights above the Black Sea intended to monitor Russian naval activity and surveil potential troop movements in Crimea, which Moscow seized from Ukraine and annexed in 2014.
The US has said Russia is amassing its forces near Ukraine's eastern border at a level unseen since 2014 when it occupied and later annexed Crimea, and began support for separatists in the eastern region of Donbas.
The seven-year conflict between government forces and Russia-backed separatists has claimed more than 13,000 lives, according to the UN. Fighting has intensified in recent weeks with the Ukrainian military saying one soldier was killed in clashes with separatists on Sunday.
'SO-CALLED ARMENIAN GENOCIDE'
Responding to a question on the US position on the events of 1915, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu underlined that if Washington follows international law, it would not recognize the "so-called Armenian genocide."
"We believe the US will not make such a statement on April 24. But, let's assume they do make such a decision, just because a politician said such a thing, it doesn't mean it should be accepted. The UN made its decision openly in 1948," he added.
Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to examine the issue.