TURKEY

Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu: Gülenist Terror Group abusing European security body

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Thursday expressed his discomfort at the participation of terror-linked groups at the events of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Speaking at the 25th Council of Ministers Meeting of OSCE in Italy's Milano, Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said: "Persons and groups linked to Fetullah Terrorist Organization () have been disguising themselves as civil society actors and have been abusing OSCE events."

"This is against OSCE's own rules and past practice. We have patiently but persistently been raising this problem for two years now, this cannot go on.

"We expect a concrete and satisfactory solution to this problem, without any further debate," he added.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt on July 15, 2016 which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.

Çavuşoğlu expressed concern over the tensions between Ukraine and Russia following a dispute in the Black Sea.

"Recent developments in Kerch Strait are concerning. We urge responsible behavior and respect for international law and the tension should be de-escalated as soon as possible," he added.

Ukrainian servicemen, including two security service agents, were arrested on Nov. 25 by Russia when three Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea tried to enter the Kerch Strait to reach the Sea of Azov.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey supports Ukraine's sovereignty and integrity including Crimea.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum.

Çavuşoğlu said frozen conflicts such as Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are indeed to be resolved.

"Again, our guiding principle must be international law and full respect for the territorial integrity of the states concerned," he said.

Çavuşoğlu said they need collective action against intolerance and discrimination.

"Our joint fight against terrorism, radicalization and extremism should be intensified as well," Çavuşoğlu said.

He added that Turkey is at the forefront of this fight and expects better cooperation from its friends.

Earlier on Thursday, Çavuşoğlu held bilateral meetings with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger and with his Kyrgyz, Belarusian, Danish, Belgian and Austrian counterparts.

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