Turkey and Moldova agree on full rights for Gagauz region
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Moldovan President Igor Dodon and Irina Vlah, Governor of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, said on Oct. 18 they “agreed” for concrete steps to be taken for the autonomous status of the Gagauz region to be fully in function.
“With the [Moldovan] president and the government’s support as well as the determination of the Governor [Irina Vlah] and Gagauz authorities, we have agreed for concrete steps to be taken for the autonomy [of the Gagauz region] to be fully in function,” Erdoğan said during joint a press conference in Comrat, the capital of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia.
Dodon, on his part, said he would do his best for the laws of the autonomous status the Republic of Moldova has granted for the Gagauz region to fully function. The Moldovan president also said he would work on including these articles in the constitution of Moldova and the Gagauz people are at home in Moldova.
Despite his remarks on the autonomy of the Gagauz region, the Turkish president underlined that Moldova’s territorial integrity is of “vital importance to Turkey.”
“We are happy to see the will displayed by Moldova and Gagauzia to live together in peace and tranquility since 1994,” Erdoğan said.
“We have underlined that we will continue to stand with our kinsmen in the future. However, what we really would like to see is Gagauzia being able to continue its development efforts in unity and solidarity, shoulder to shoulder with Moldova. To that end, I have expressed that Turkey, with all its institutions stands ready to provide the necessary incentives, support and convenience to Gagauzia,” he said.
Vlah stated Turkey has made great efforts and given considerable support for the region to find stability.
“In the early 1990s, we went through a rough period. We were on the brink of great tragedy in the south of the country. With the support of our close friend Turkey, those problems have now been resolved,” she said.
The governor thanked Erdoğan for his support and assistance to Moldova and Gagauzia. “Thanks to your personal efforts, many issues and problems have been resolved. Believe me when I say the people of Gagauzia are well aware of this fact. You can tell by the way they welcomed you,” said Vlah.
In December 1994, Moldova’s parliament offered around 160,000 Turkic Gagauz people within their borders a large degree of autonomy in order to create a favorable environment for maintaining a national identity and culture.
The autonomous territory is home to a largely Gagauz population—an Orthodox Christian, Turkic community.
The Turkish president paid an official two-day visit to Moldova on Oct. 17.
On Oct. 17, he held another news conference with Dodon in Moldova’s capital Chisinau, during which he touched upon the fight against the FETÖ. “In the joint fight against FETÖ, the Turkish people expect from their Moldovan friends to show the support needed without hesitation,” Erdoğan said.
The Turkish president also said FETÖ infiltrated into Turkey’s armed forces, police, legal system and all institutions of the state, adding that Moldova is also under risk as the illegal group could do the same to their country.