10/22/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/23/2019 01:44
Holding a joint press conference with President Putin of Russia, President Erdoğan said: 'Today, we together with Mr. Putin have agreed on a historic memorandum of understanding in terms of combatting terror, ensuring Syria's territorial integrity and political unity, and of facilitating the return of refugees. According to this memorandum of understanding, Turkey and Russia will not allow any separatist agenda on Syrian territory.'
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Vladimir Putin of Russia held a joint press conference following their talks in Sochi.
'AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN NATIONAL CURRENCIES IS MAJOR STEP TOWARD $100-BILLION BILATERAL TRADE GOAL'
'The main topic on today's agenda was the developments in Syria. However, we also discussed our bilateral relations,' President Erdoğan said. Pointing to the recently signed agreement on increasing trade in national currencies, President Erdoğan praised this deal as a major step toward $100-billion bilateral trade goal.
Stating that Turkey and Russia's cooperation on Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant and TurkStream projects continues and that the S400s have been delivered on schedule, President Erdoğan said: 'In the upcoming future, we will continue our vigorous efforts determinedly in line with our shared interests. We have been taking major steps in defense industry and will continue to do so.'
'President Putin and I have exerted great efforts to restore peace, tranquility and stability in Astana format in Syria,' President Erdoğan said. Recalling that they have made significant decisions with the Sochi Memorandum and declared the formation of the Constitutional Committee at Ankara Summit, President Erdoğan said the Committee will convene for the first time on October 30.
Welcoming the decrease in attacks in Idlib, President Erdoğan said that it is their main objective to reinforce and make permanent the climate of stability there.
'OPERATION PEACE SPRING AIMS TO REMOVE THE TERRORIST ORGANIZATION FROM THE AREA AND FACILITATE THE RETURN OF REFUGEES'
Reiterating that Operation Peace Spring aims to remove the terrorist organization from the area and facilitate the return of refugees, President Erdoğan said: 'The operation also secures the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria by eliminating the threat posed by the separatist terrorist organization. We do not have any designs on any country's land or sovereignty. We as Turkey have taken all our steps on the ground with sensitivity.'
Noting that 365 thousand refugees have voluntarily returned to the 4-thousand-square-kilometer area Turkey cleared of terrorists through operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, President Erdoğan said: 'Syrian lands, once known for terror and conflict, have reached peace and stability with Turkey's contributions. We want to extend this model to other areas in Syria's north.'
'Our country, our nation has welcomed and embraced 3 million 650 thousand Syrian refugees, including 350 thousand Kurds, for the last 8.5 years,' President Erdoğan said.
'WE HAVE AGREED ON A HISTORIC MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING IN TERMS OF ENSURING SYRIA'S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY AND POLITICAL UNITY'
Voicing his belief that a total of 2 million refugees will settle in the areas which will be made secure during Operation Peace Spring, President Erdoğan said the plans regarding this issue have been shared with Turkey's interlocutors, and that these plans will be implemented with the contribution and support of the international community. President Erdoğan went on to say: 'Today, together with Mr. Putin, we have agreed on a historic memorandum of understanding in terms of combatting terror, ensuring Syria's territorial integrity and political unity, and of facilitating the return of refugees. According to this memorandum of understanding, Turkey and Russia will not allow any separatist agenda on Syrian territory. As of 12:00 noon on October 23, the YPG terrorists and their weapons will be removed to the depth of 30 kilometers within 150 hours. The trenches and fortifications of the organization will be destroyed. At the end of 150 hours, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start in the west and the east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10 kilometers. All YPG terrorists and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat. Both countries will take necessary measures to prevent infiltrations of terrorist elements, and a joint mechanism will be established to oversee and coordinate the implementation of this memorandum.'
'TURKEY AND RUSSIA WILL CONTINUE THEIR EFFORTS TO FIND A POLITICAL SOLUTION FOR THE SYRIAN CRISIS'
Further stressing that Turkey and Russia will continue their efforts to find a political solution for the Syrian crisis, President Erdoğan noted: 'I believe that the memorandum of understanding we have agreed on with Mr. Putin will start a new period towards ensuring lasting stability in Syria and ridding this country of terror.' President Erdoğan added: 'As Syria's neighbor and as friends of the Syrian people, we will continue to work with all our strength in order for peace, security and stability prevail once again in this country.'
Following the two presidents' remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov read out the Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and the Russian Federation.