The Organization of Turkic States (OTS) members have shown strong solidarity after the Feb. 6 earthquakes that ravaged Türkiye’s southeast provinces, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Thursday, AzVision.az reports citing the Turkish media.
“The great Turkic world deeply mourned for its brothers lost in the earthquake. However, you didn’t just share our grief. You have exhibited the best example of solidarity diplomacy,” Çavuşoğlu said as he addressed the opening speech of the OTS’s Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in the capital Ankara.
The meeting came ahead of the extraordinary summit of leaders of the OTS, which will convene under the theme of Disaster-Emergency Management and Humanitarian Assistance.
“As my colleagues, you have personally shown your support. For example, you sent search and rescue teams and field hospitals,” Çavuşoğlu recalled.
Türkiye was devastated by the biggest disaster in its modern history on Feb. 6 with magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 tremors that leveled thousands of buildings and killed at least 48,448 people across 11 provinces – Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Şanlıurfa. More than 13.5 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the devastating quakes, which also extensively damaged neighboring Syria and claimed at least 6,000 deaths in its northwest.
Condolences, donations, rescuers and humanitarian relief poured into the region from around the world ever since, including from OTS members who sent a total of 1,706 search and rescue and medical personnel, 53 rescue dogs and over 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid, and set up nine field hospitals while raising over $5 million for the victims.
The OTS, formerly called the Turkic Council, is an international organization comprising major independent Turkic countries that work together to elevate relations and the union among themselves. Its members are Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, while Hungary, Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have observer status.
Çavuşoğlu on Thursday said the organization is “bolstering its corporate infrastructure and pushing collaboration to new areas every day.”
“Organization of Turkic States was a dream for us all and it became real,” he said.
Çavuşoğlu on Thursday said the organization is expanding its cooperation to new areas.
“We have implemented large-scale energy projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and TANAP (Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline) together. We should increase cooperation for TANAP to carry additional natural gas from the Caspian region to the international market,” he added.
The minister said that the organization must increase the "Middle Corridor's" share in global trade when Asia returns to the fore.
The Middle Corridor formally dubbed the Trans-Caspian East-West Corridor, allows the fast transportation of goods from China to Europe and emerges as a vital source of commercial opportunity for Central Asian countries.
Turning to regional issues, Çavuşoğlu said the war in Ukraine and the developments in Afghanistan are closely related to the organization.
“We must strengthen our unity. The fact that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is among us as an observer is meaningful in this respect,” he added.
The recognition of the Turkish Cypriot people’s sovereign equality, rights and equal international status, and the abolition of the isolation and restrictions that the TRNC is subjected to should be the common goal, Çavuşoğlu stressed.
The TRNC was awarded observer status at the OTS’s last summit in Samarkand last November in a move hailed as “an important step in bringing the Turkic states even closer.” The admission also marked the first time Turkish Cyprus had the opportunity to be represented in an international organization with its constitutional name.
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