Armenia has extended Türkiye a “hand of friendship” after last week’s twin earthquakes that have so far claimed the lives of more than 35,400 in the country, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
“Armenia extended a hand of friendship in this difficult time, and demonstrated solidarity and cooperation,” Cavusoglu said at a news conference with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan on Wednesday in the capital Ankara.
Cavusoglu said Mirzoyan’s visit to Türkiye was “meaningful,” noting that Armenia sent a 28-person search and rescue team to Türkiye after the quakes, Cavusoglu said their efforts have continued in Adiyaman since February 8.
“They sent 100 tonnes of humanitarian aid and said they would send additional aid,” he added.
Stressing that Türkiye remembers the 1988 earthquake that shook Armenia, Cavusoglu said: “After that earthquake, Türkiye’s aid was delivered to Armenia by passing through the Alican border gate. Humanitarian aid from Armenia came to our country through the same border gate. We need to continue this solidarity.”
The Türkiye-Armenia border reopened for the first time in 30 years after the quakes in southern Türkiye to facilitate the passage of humanitarian aid to disaster victims.
‘Armenia willing to build peace’
Mirzoyan, for his part, expressed Armenia’s willingness to build peace in the difficult times.
“I would like to reaffirm the preparation and will of the Republic of Armenia, especially for the complete normalisation of relations with Türkiye, the establishment of diplomatic relations and the full opening of the border between Armenia and Türkiye,” he added.
The minister said the international community should not remain indifferent in wake of humanitarian crises and must act together to overcome them.
He also noted that a second party of humanitarian aid had been dispatched through the border gate on Tuesday night and would “soon reach Adiyaman to those affected by the earthquake.”
Bosnia-Herzegovina shows ‘great affection’
Türkiye and Bosnia-Herzegovina are working together to further their deep-rooted bilateral relationship, Cavusoglu said at a separate news conference on Wednesday.
“We feel a great level of affection towards us from Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he added.
“Three search and rescue teams with 234 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina came to Türkiye right after the earthquake. They are working hard in Hatay, Adiyaman, and Kahramanmaras and as of February 12, they have rescued 26 people from the wreckage,” he said.
“We are working together to further strengthen our historical and cultural ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina. We attach great importance to the peace, prosperity and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We strongly support its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the minister stressed.
A total of 7,846 foreign personnel from 100 nations are currently working in the disaster zone, with two more nations expected to send rescue teams, Cavusoglu said.
For his part, Konakovic said Bosnia and Herzegovina stood with Türkiye and the Turkish people.
“We are not a country with a strong economy, but we have once again shown our feelings and that we are together with the Turkish people,” he added, hoping to further improve bilateral relations with Türkiye.