Erdoğan, Raisi speak of regional stability, anti-terror efforts at Ashgabat summit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at the Economic Cooperation Organisation summit in Turkmen capital Ashgabat on Sunday, stressing importance of regional and international cooperation and urging further efforts against groups Turkey designates terrorist.

“We must continue our efforts without making distinctions among terrorist organisations,” state-run Anadolu Agency cited Erdoğan as saying.

Erdoğan called for cooperation to “rid the region” of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Syrian Kurdish group People’s Defence Units (YPG), the Islamic State (ISIS) and FETÖ, the name Ankara uses for the followers of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who it considers responsible for a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also spoke against terrorism in the region.

“Terrorist groups do not only cause insecurity in Afghanistan, they also threaten security in the region. We must not allow terrorist groups such as ISIS and PKK to threaten security for the region’s countries,” Raisi said, following a meeting with Erdoğan in the summit sidelines.

“Ending the unilateral sanctions on Iran, all parties returning to an extensive joint action plan and take on their responsibilities again will contribute to the economic prosperity and stability in the region,” Erdoğan said.

According to the Iran Presidency's official website, Erdoğan also told Raisi that "The White House is training and arming all terrorist groups in the region, including ISIL and the PKK, and providing them with terrorist equipment and tools to create insecurity." 
The same readout added that during the meeting Erdoğan said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia and Turkey can maintain security and stability in the region with the cooperation of other countries in the region". Turkey's Presidency webside does not have a readout but a short video of two leaders meeting.

The Turkish president called for ECO member states’ support in the eastern Mediterranean.

“We encourage the development of relations in areas such as sports, culture, education and tourism in order to alleviate the isolation Cypriot Turks are subjected to,” Erdoğan said.

It is important for ECO to be in full solidarity with Azerbaijan, the Turkish president said, adding that the “emancipation of Azerbaijan’s territory under occupation” was leading the way to regional peace and stability.

Erdoğan said Afghanistan’s state institutions should be kept operational, and the Afghan economy should be bolstered “to avoid a refugee crisis that would affect all of our region”.

“Our efforts to develop the transportation infrastructure in the region and to revive the modern Silk Road continue unabated,” Erdoğan said, praising ongoing projects including a railroad between Turkey and Azerbaijan, the Zangezur corridor to be constructed through Armenia’s Syunik province, and a highway that passes through Islamabad, Tahran and Istanbul.

ECO was founded by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan in 1985. Its current members include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

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