GeriGündem Turkey's top national security body discusses Caucasus union
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Turkey's top national security body discusses Caucasus union

Turkey's top national security body discusses Caucasus union
refid:9712920 ilişkili resim dosyası

Turkey's National Security Council (MGK) discussed Thursday the recent situation in the Caucasus after the rise in tension in the region had forced a change in the agenda. New developments in Turkey-Armenia relations were also being discussed. (UPDATED)

MGK met in Istanbul on Thursday. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan briefed the council on his recent visits to Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as the government's plans to hold contacts with Armenia on its proposal for forming a Caucasian union.  


Foreign Minister Ali Babacan informed the council on the Tuesday's extraordinary NATO meeting in Brussels.


The start of the comprehensive talks to end the 44-year division of Cyprus was expected to top the council's agenda. However the clashes between Russia and Georgia have forced the MGK to change its agenda. The reunification talks in Cyprus would start on Sept. 3. MGK said in its post-meeting statement that the cooperation with Northern Cyprus would continue "in a highly sensitive manner" during the negotiations.


The third item on the MGK agenda includes Iraq and Turkey's fight against PKK terrorism. The council reiterated its commitment in fighting against PKK terrorism.


Under this topic, the status of Kirkuk was also discussed in the meeting.



Clashes erupted in Caucasus on Aug. 8 when Georgian forces launched an operation to regain control in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia's harsh military response intensified the clashes and the conflict spread wide into the other breakaway regions in Georgia.


Russia and Georgia had signed the peace deal and Moscow vowed to withdraw its troops by Friday. Russia says there could be no talk of territorial integrity of Georgia.


The conflict had proved that the political landscape in the region would change. Turkey faces a tough task in ensuring a balance policy for the neighboring region between pro-West Georgia and its energy partner Russia.


Turkey had proposed the formation of a Caucasian union to strengthen economic ties between the countries in the region to contribute to the peaceful solution of the problems.


Erdogan had visited Georgia, Russia and Azerbaijan, and all of them extended their support to the idea. Turkey also would hold talks with Armenia, a country it does not have diplomatic relations, an attempt welcomed by Yerevan.


The new era between Turkey-Armenia relations is expected to be discussed at the MGK meeting. Turkey relaxed its air space quota for Armenia following the Caucasus crisis after Turkish and Armenian diplomats held a couple of rounds of secret talks.


President Abdullah Gul was expected to bring up the Armenian invitation to watch a football game between the two countries' national teams in Yerevan on Sept. 6, however there was no reference to this subject in the post-meeting statement. Gul is yet to decide whether to accept the invitation or not.


Thursday's MGK meeting was the last for the retiring Chief of Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, who would be replaced by Land Forces Commander Ilker Basbug, on Aug. 30.




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