The public agenda in Turkiye has been busy with three main topics last week.
The first was the meeting that was held between the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in the opening ceremony of the Qatar World Cup 2022.
Second was the ongoing debates on a possible diplomatic meeting between Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart Al-Assad.
Third was the official visit by the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, to the Turkish capital of Ankara.
Al-Sisi – Erdogan meeting in the World Cup ceremony
After years of tension between the two countries, Erdogan shook hands with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Qatar last week, in what was described in an Egyptian presidency statement as a new start in bilateral relations between the two countries.
In a televised discussion program recorded in Turkiye on Saturday, Erdogan said that he and Sisi had spoken for around half an hour to 45 minutes at that meeting, on the sidelines of the World Cup in Qatar.
“We have narrowly focused on talks with Mr. Sisi there and said ‘now let us have ministers coming and going at a low level. After that, let us broaden and widen these talks’,” Erdogan said.
“The attitude that prioritizes our country’s cooperation in the region has resulted in a new era in bilateral relations with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Our contacts with Egypt for the normalization of ties continue within the framework of the common will and mutual interests of both sides, and respect,” Fuat Oktay told Turkish parliament during budget talks.
It was also reported that the Athens administration had sent a delegation right after the meeting between Erdogan and Al-Sisi, which was claimed to be a move made of frustration of Athens regarding the Turkish-Egyptian normalization process.
The two countries started consultations between senior foreign ministry officials last year amid a push by Türkiye to ease tensions with Egypt, the UAE, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Asked whether or not he would have a second meeting with Al-Sisi, Erdogan did not give a specific date.
Possible meeting between Al-Assad and Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that a meeting with Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad is a possibility, after cutting diplomatic ties with Damascus throughout the 11-year conflict.
Asked by a reporter in the parliament whether he could meet with the Syrian leader, Erdogan said: “It is possible. There is no such thing as resentment, in politics. Ultimately, steps are taken under the most favorable conditions.”
Despite the lack of contact between Erdogan and Assad, the two countries’ spy chiefs have maintained contacts.
Erdogan previously said he could meet with Assad when the right time comes, reinforcing tentative recent steps to restore ties between the two sides.
In a recent TV interview with the government AKP spokesperson Omer Celik said:
We want the talks with Assad to gain momentum. This meeting could take place in a third country. We do care about the territorial integrity of Syria. Terrorist organizations are a threat to both Syria and to us. Therefore, a cooperation can be established. There is something complicated going on such as making Syria a ground for a proxy war just like in Afghanistan. It is always more convenient for us have strong state structures near us. A bottom-up work needs to be done so that the heads of states can come together. The conditions need to be ripe. It can start with intelligence organizations and move further to the political action. We want the processes to gain momentum with both Egypt and Syria. We are currently in a period where the world politics is moving rapidly. We all need this in order to develop an appropriate response to all challenges around us. Our president spoke of a third country, which can be further discussed politically.
Cuban President’s official visit to Ankara
The Cuban President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez paid a three-day visit to Türkiye to have talks on bilateral relations between the countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Bermudez in the capital Ankara, and the leaders will discuss the steps to enhance bilateral cooperation, as the Turkish presidency office said in a statement.
Ankara attaches importance to its increasing cooperation with Cuba, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.
“I especially attach importance to increasing our cooperation and solidarity with Cuba, one of our main partners in the region,” Erdogan said at a news conference with his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez in the capital Ankara.
Erdogan said they discussed ways to develop existing cooperation in fields such as energy, tourism, construction, agriculture, development, health, and the environment.
“I believe that this historic visit will constitute a new turning point in Türkiye-Cuba relations,” Erdogan said.
Diaz-Canel’s visit coincides with the 70th anniversary of Türkiye and Cuba establishing diplomatic relations.
“As you know, our relations with the Latin America and Caribbean region constitute one of the main pillars of our foreign policy,” Erdogan said.
He added that bilateral relations have remained under their potential since unilateral sanctions were imposed on Cuba years ago.
Türkiye and Cuba also agreed to raise their bilateral trade volume up to 200 million USD.
“Türkiye and Cuba are among the few countries that have developed their own domestic vaccines against the coronavirus. In our bilateral meeting, we also discussed making joint vaccine investments in the next period,” Erdogan said.
Diaz-Canel, for his part, underlined that throughout history, Türkiye-Cuba ties developed “on the basis of respect.”
The president said he had a “fruitful” meeting with Erdogan and that the two countries agreed to further diversify bilateral trade relations.
“We have great confidence in the future of relations between Türkiye and Cuba, we believe that it will strengthen and expand,” he added.
During the visit, Türkiye and Cuba signed six agreements in the areas of media and communication, culture, and diplomacy.
Erdogan also gifted Diaz-Canel a letter written in 1902 by Cuba’s then-President Tomas Estrada Palma to Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez with an official ceremony at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara on Wednesday.
The leaders will hold one-on-one talks, to be followed by a joint news conference.
Erdogan and Bermudez will exchange views on Türkiye-Cuba relations and potential steps aimed at improving the cooperation between the two countries, according to the Turkish presidency.
They will also exchange views on regional and global issues, Latin America and the Caribbean in particular.
The visit coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Turkiye and Cuba.
Diplomatic relations between Türkiye and Cuba were established in 1952. Türkiye opened its first embassy in the Caribbean in Havana in 1979.
Ahead of his meeting with Erdogan, Bermudez paid his respects to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, at his mausoleum.
“The Cuban delegation visits this place to pay heartfelt tribute and homage to the founding father of the modern Turkish nation, Kemal Ataturk, whom the commander in chief, Fidel Castro Ruz describes as a source of inspiration for the Cuban Republic,” he wrote on the memorial book at Anitkabir.
Bermudez added that the Cuban and Turkish people share common values that are the legacy of the founders of both nations.