A meeting between the foreign ministers of Türkiye, Russia, Iran, and Syria is likely to be held in early May in Moscow, Türkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.
“We think it will happen in a period like the beginning of May, according to the preliminary information we received from the Russians. It will be in Moscow … It is currently scheduled for early May,” Cavusoglu said in an interview broadcast live on Turkish broadcaster A Haber.
Cavusoglu said the issue was also discussed during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to the capital Ankara last week.
All these talks aim to revive the political process, lasting stability and peace, fight against terrorism, and guarantee Syria’s border and territorial integrity, he added.
Stressing the need for a permanent solution to rebuild Syria, the minister said: “A lasting peace is important for all of us.”
Cavusoglu said that in the forthcoming meeting, the four ministers may also prepare for a possible leaders’ summit.
Last December, defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Türkiye, Russia, and the Syrian regime met in Moscow and agreed to continue tripartite meetings to ensure stability in Syria and the wider region.
Iran was also included in the talks, with Türkiye earlier saying that Ankara would be “pleased if Iran is involved in this process.”
The meeting would continue restarting high-level talks between Türkiye and its neighbor Syria since the 2011 civil war.
Cavusoglu said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will pay a visit to Türkiye later this week.
“We have started working on the appointment of ambassadors … Finally, we come to this stage. We can announce this during Shoukry’s visit to Türkiye. We will consult when he comes (to Türkiye).
“We were very well received in Egypt. Our visit was extremely positive. Now is the time to slowly take concrete steps,” he added.
On March 18, Cavusoglu paid a visit to the capital Cairo, a first by a Turkish foreign minister in 11 years.
During his trip, Cavusoglu said Türkiye and Egypt will raise diplomatic relations to the highest level “as soon as possible.”
Diplomatic relations between Türkiye and Egypt are maintained at the level of charges d’affaires since Egypt’s 2013 military coup, which overthrew late President Mohammed Morsi.
Turning to recent tension in the Middle East, Cavusoglu said Israeli actions against the sanctity and historical status of Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied East Jerusalem are disturbing.
“Dialogue with Israel will never affect our sensitivities. Our sensitivities on Palestine, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque do not change. We told this to Israel as well,” he said.
Violence escalated across the Palestinian territories last week when Israeli police forcibly removed worshippers from inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.
About the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Cavusoglu said both sides are preparing for bigger offensives.
“We see that both sides are sending additional weapons and personnel to the conflict zone. Of course, many countries gave Ukraine heavy weapons, especially tanks … Therefore, serious conflicts await us for this region,” he added.
Emphasizing that Türkiye does not want the tension in the region to escalate or the war to flare up, the minister said: “Of course, such a conflict or the growth of tension has a negative effect on everyone, everyone will feel the effect of war as it has until today, this is inevitable.”
He added that Türkiye is working for a solution of the war via diplomacy and aims to bring the two sides on the table.
Pointing out that a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Türkiye or by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Moscow is not planned, Cavusoglu said Erdogan frequently speaks with Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Türkiye, internationally praised for its mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly urged Kyiv and Moscow to end the war, which began last year in February, through negotiations.
On a question of opening border with Armenia and mutual appointment of ambassadors, Cavusoglu said: “It may not be in the near future, we need to take other steps first.”
Underlining that the process between Azerbaijan and Armenia is also important, he said Türkiye has provided all its support for the signing of a permanent peace agreement.
Despite Türkiye being one of the first countries to recognize Armenia’s independence in 1991, the two countries have been divided on a range of issues, including Yerevan’s occupation of Azerbaijani territories, the events of 1915 during the reign of the Ottoman Empire and the border closure between the two neighboring countries since 1993.
In 2021, Ankara and Yerevan appointed special representatives to normalize ties.
Cavusoglu said that in order for the positive atmosphere with Greece to be permanent, steps should be taken to solve complex problems that have not been resolved for years, and the positive atmosphere should be maintained.
Drawing attention to the necessity of abandoning tensions and violations in the Aegean Sea, he said: “We need to prioritize cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean. We have no eyes on anyone’s right. We will always protect our own rights and the rights of the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”
The minister said that attempts such as not holding military exercises during the tourism season despite all the tensions would be a mutual gesture and would show that reconciliation is possible.
About the anchoring of the US attack submarine USS San Juan at a Greek Cypriot port, Cavusoglu said: “Recently, submarine anchored at a port. In this sense, we see that they disrupt the balance.”
The minister said if the US wants to act as an “honest” mediator between Türkiye and Greece, it needs to be “more objective and balanced.”