FM Çavuşoğlu says Turkish intel foils plots against country
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (L) and Turkey's National Intelligence Organization Head Hakan Fidan in Moscow, Russia, Aug. 24, 2018. (Alamy Photo)
Turkish intelligence has changed the regional dynamics in politics by foiling plots against the country, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Jan. 29, responding to an Israeli daily's targeting of Turkish spy chief Hakan Fidan.
“It is the first time that Turkish intelligence has implemented such policies, either foiling or exposing their plots,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in the capital Ankara.
An article by Pazit Rabin at Israeli daily Makor Rishon, known for its favorable coverage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, drew alleged parallels between Fidan and Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq earlier this month.
“Turkey is now spoiling the games in the field and in Libya,” Çavuşoğlu added, underlining that Israel was working behind the scenes in Libya.
Turkey has gained ground in Libya, Iraq and Syria, he said, reiterating Turkey’s resolute and strong stance.
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.
Libya’s legitimate government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since last April, claiming the lives of more than 1,000 people.
On Jan. 12, the conflicting parties announced a ceasefire in response to a joint call by Turkey and Russia’s leaders. But talks for a permanent ceasefire deal ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow on Jan. 14 without signing the deal.
On Jan. 19, Haftar accepted at the Berlin conference on Libya to designate members to a UN-proposed military commission with five members from each side to monitor implementation of the ceasefire.
The decision to set up the Libyan military committee was the key result of the conference.
Trump 'peace plan'
Referring to the U.S. Middle East peace plan, Çavuşoğlu reiterated that it was a “stillborn” agreement.
"It is obvious that the so-called peace plan, the deal of the century, is stillborn. It is a one-sided plan,” he said, adding the U.S. lost impartiality when it moved their embassy to Jerusalem.
He stressed that the so-called peace plan serves Netanyahu’s election campaign.
On Jan. 28, U.S. President Donald Trump released his oft-delayed plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian dispute during a press conference at the White House, where he was hosting Netanyahu. Palestinian authorities were not represented.
During the news conference, Trump referred to Jerusalem as "Israel's undivided capital".
Upper Karabakh conflict
Touching on the Upper Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey had made efforts to resolve the issue.
“If Russia throws its weight behind the issue, we can solve the problem,” he said.
Upper Karabakh is the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan illegally occupied by Armenia through military aggression since 1991.
Four UN Security Council and two General Assembly resolutions as well as decisions by many other international organizations refer to this fact and demand the withdrawal of the occupational Armenian forces from Upper Karabakh and seven other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk group -- co-chaired by France, Russia and the U.S. -- was formed to find a peaceful solution to the conflict but has not achieved any results yet.
Referring to the disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Çavuşoğlu stressed that Turkey will resolutely protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
He said the dispute could be resolved when Greek Cypriots and Greece are ready to share natural resources.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure.
The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece and the U.K. -- came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.
Belgian Court verdict on PKK terrorists
Regarding the Belgian Supreme Court’s verdict blocking the prosecution of 36 suspects linked to the YPG/PKK terrorist group, Çavuşoğlu said the court made an ideological decision.
Earlier, Belgium promised Turkey it would maintain the PKK on its list of terrorist organizations, he said.
Turkey slammed the Belgian ruling on Jan. 29.
The U.S.-backed SDF, a group dominated by the YPG, has been controlling some 28 percent of the Syrian territories, including the most of the 911-kilometer-long Syria-Turkey border.
Turkey deems the YPG the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization also by the United States and the EU.