'Besides Turkey, one of the FETÖ-operating countries was Azerbaijan'
'We support Azerbaijan in all cases'
Baku. 4 August.REPORT.AZ/ Report News Agency presents an exclusive interview with Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ismail Alper Coşkun.
- Mr. Ambassador, what is the current general situation in Turkey? When do you expect the situation to be stabilized?
- There are no any serious problems. Turkey has faced with a great danger on July 15, with a coup attempt of the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which has supported pro-coup soldiers in the Turkish Armed Forces as well as Fethullah Gülen, who leads the organization and lives in Pennsylvania, US, at present. We don't suppose that this attempt has any relations with the Turkish Armed Forces, which is apple of our eyes. It was an initiative of the traitor interfering in the Armed Forces and other government agencies. They wanted to overthrow the constitutional structure. It was a very serious and dangerous matter. Unfortunately, we have suffered human losses. But the Turkish people joined the call of our president and come all together in the streets. Moreover, these people were not only representatives of the AKP, they came as a Turkish people. The unity in the streets also reflected in the parliament. Political parties came together, now the ruling party and opposition parties take steps, which should be conducted after the coup attempt within a constructive dialogue. Starting from the next day, situation was taken under control and there is no unstable situation currently. Simply, a state of emergency has been declared and its aim is to eliminate the danger as soon as possible. We are now engaged in cleanse of infected sections in other state authorities, mainly, in the Armed Forces, in the MFA, that secretly placed there for many years, we are trying to make them more powerful. Considering the situation in the streets, as heads of our state and government said, demonstrations are organized under the Turkish flag in festive mood as a duty for the sake of democracy. It is an indication of desire of the country to go forward together, which faced danger recently.
- When will Turkey be cleared of FETÖ-supporters? You noted that cleanse is being carried in Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Has any employee of the Turkish Embassy to Azerbaijan dismissed in recent two-three years regarding this issue?
- No one has been dismissed in our embassy. As in other embassies, we already had appointments, expiry of terms of office. However, nobody dismissed in this regard. As our Minister of Foreign Affairs declared, serious works had been carried out to provide jobs for the supporters of this terror organization at our authority, as in other bodies, there were initiatives to carry out the same steps in our authority, to employ their supporters in closed departments of the MFA. It is necessary to realize what we're talking about. They entered the public administration so deceitfully that it was impossible to separate them clearly. Unfortunately, the closest people of our head of state, chief of the general staff revealed to members of that terror organization. Therefore, Turkey is taking very serious steps. So far, over 60 000 people have been sacked from various organizations of Turkey. They have not been dismissed or arrested, simply exact investigations are being conducted to determine whether they have any relations with FETÖ. If links confirmed, they to be arrested under court decision. Some of them have been dismissed due to proof of their faults. Over 3000 servicemen of the Turkish Armed Forces can be brought as an example to this case. This is a very difficult, painful experience. In the words of the head of state, this is not revenge, these are steps taken within the framework of the law with a sense of compassion and we will realize them.
- Do consultations continue with Azerbaijan within the fight against FETÖ?
- Of course. Everyone should know that we support Azerbaijan in all cases. We hold a number of mutual visits, even during the international events held in third countries high-ranking officials of our countries find the opportunity to speak to each other even for a time. Azerbaijan is our closest strategic partner, friend and brotherly country. We openly discuss any issue with Azerbaijan. As assessments on domestic and international issues, Turkey also shares with Azerbaijan dangers and threats faced with it. One of the FETÖ-operating countries after Turkey was Azerbaijan. We openly share our experience with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan also shares its experience with us. We try to join our powers with Azerbaijani and serve together to our single nation.
- One of the requirements of the West to Turkey is to change the law on fight against terrorism. Do you think this is the issue directed toward Turkey's territorial integrity and its federalism?
- This topic became actual within our free discussion with the European Union. However, following issues should be taken into consideration: firstly, Turkey is a country, which fights against a very serious terror threat for years. Secondly, Turkey is not the only country affected by terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, many countries are facing with this problem. We are aware of the incidents occurred in France, Germany, Belgium and in other countries. Thirdly, each state will declare that they need to jointly fight against terrorism, however, their answer is different to the question of how to define terrorism. Unfortunately, there is no standard agreement on how to define terror. It is a shame of humanity, to be honest. There is no common stand on this issue. Regrettably, some countries use definitions as 'distant terrorist', 'near terrorist', 'causing damage to me' or 'not causing damage to me'. However, there shouldn't be such an understanding in the world. I don't want to name the country, but we all have seen a terrorist attack by a very far away country. Now it is not necessary to go somewhere to commit terrorism, cyber-attacks are an example. Such a discrimination should be avoided in such a period when everybody can enter a web address and see how to develop a simple bomb. Syria is a good example of this. Certain forces inside Syria turn a blind eye to the terrorist organizations committing terrorism against Turkey, Turkish citizens, as it is in their interests, this is absolutely unacceptable. In short, we need to fight against terrorism of all kinds. To take measures for further mitigation of the law on fight against terrorism is unadvisable in such a period when Turkey conducts such a struggle against terrorism. It would be detracting the threats faced with Turkey. Aim of such requirements in the current situation should be thoroughly reviewed. We have no such an intention to carry out measures in this regard when the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) attempted a coup in our country. I hope that soon we will see the elimination of terrorism.
- Can Turkish-Russian block be formed after recent warming of the relations between Turkey and Russia?
- I think that the concept of block is already left behind and this concept doesn't correspond to XXI century. Who says it? It is said by me, Ambassador of NATO member Turkey. We are a NATO member, but we don't see role of block of this alliance. Russia is our important partner and friendly country in this region. We had great difficulties in the recent past. Fortunately, we were able to hold constructive talks in this regard, they considered our urge that we have made directly after the deterioration of mutual ties and it is gratifying that in recent period, relations between Turkey and Russia continue as before. In addition to Turkey, it will benefit all states in the region, including Russia and Azerbaijan. Because tension is of no use. Russia is one of the leading countries of the region and the world, permanent member of the UN Security Council as well as a friendly country, to which Turkey historically attaches great importance. There are many issues we do not agree, but I think that development of our relations will allow to solve these issues by constructive negotiations. Our Presidents will meet in the near future. I believe that it will be useful for Turkey, Russia and the region.
- How can warming of Ankara-Moscow relations affect liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories?
- We hope that certain steps will be taken in the near future to solve Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Regardless of the level of relations with Russia, we stress importance to end the occupation not only because international law requires so or Azerbaijan is our fraternal country but also for the whole region's security, development, realization of its potential. We state it not only because that it is right of Azerbaijan, but also because it will serve everyone, indeed. In this regard, we have great expectations from Russia, the country which is the OSCE Minsk group member,the world's active member and which has close ties with Armenia. We are ready to take any action on our part considered proper by Azerbaijan.
- Against the background of normalization of relations between Turkey and Russia, perhaps the economic relations between the two countries will normalize. It will have an impact on trade turnover between Turkey and Azerbaijan?
- A business delegation from Turkey has already arrived in Azerbaijan. In response to some speculative reports made in West immediately after the coup attempt in Turkey we want to show that, Turkish economy, in this case, has shown positive results. In the first half of 2016, economic growth in Turkey was 4.8%. By the end of 2016 we expect a fairly high growth figures. Looking at employment figures, we can see a growing statistics since 2009. The volume of investments also rising in Turkey. We are opening important projects one after the other.
Osman Gazi Bridge opened, Istanbul's third bridge will open soon. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be completed this year. On the other hand, steps are being taken in order to enhance economic activity and raise investments in Turkey. With the arrival of representatives of the businesses we express our goals and will demonstrate our willingness to faster develop our economic and trade relations with our strategic partner Azerbaijan. The most important thing is that the economy of Azerbaijan follows diversification policy as part of the President's view. In this respect it is also obvious that Turkey with its capabilities to get results conveniently and faster is first among countries. For Azerbaijan also Turkey comes first in terms investments and using them advantageously.The economic relations between us, increasing investments will continue. If we look at the development of Turkish-Azerbaijani economic relations over the last 5-10 years, we'll see that this development grow stronger. Azerbaijan is an important partner for Turkey and taking into account fact that Azerbaijan and Turkey's economies complement each other, we will continue our planned projects in the future to grow our economy stronger.
- Recently, the Egyptian parliament made a proposal in connection with recognition of "Armenian genocide". Your Egyptian colleague said it has been proposed "in response to certain actions by Turkey towards Egypt". Egyptian parliament also voiced the same opinion. What will be your response on this issue?
- Thank you for this question. It was a very unnecessary proposal. I have a very deep respect to my Egyptian colleague, however, I have to say that, look, what do Armenians want to get with these claims in the world ?! They did not join the discussions as part of the academic debates with opening archives. Turkey says: let us establish a joint historical commission, open archives and discuss it with the participation of third parties.
When our head of state was prime minister and other prime ministers have made statements about sharing grief of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire.
But in that disclosures there was an idea that results of that time will be discussed in a very serious way, negotiating with each other, considering one another as fellow sufferer. In other words, investigation supposed to be carried out in a constructive manner, taking into account the feelings of the other party. But Armenia through the propaganda trying to convince world to something which is not happened. What is the most appropriate basis for this? To bring the issue to the political environment.
Harboring negative feelings against Turkey, going to the countries, receiving their support, using Diaspora Armenians trying to take a decision against Turkey. As I said, i express my respect to Egyptian colleague but what does he say?
"This issue have emerged in Egyptian parliament in response to the cold relations between Turkey and Egypt".
Here is a confession. That is, as our relationship deteriorated, we have decided to use political motives.
If any country wants to help sincerely in connection with the events of 1915, I would like to emphasize the word, sincerely, let it do in a form of historic debate.
But for these and other reasons, due to resentment, with idea " How to hurt Turkey?" chooses to work in partnership with Armenians in other words - biased approach, Turkey will not forgive this. I think it is an important acknowledgment and I hope they will understand their mistakes.