FM says Turkey exerting efforts for agreement on Syria at next international conference
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has stated that there is increasing momentum in diplomatic activity in the international arena regarding the ongoing Syrian crisis and said that Turkey is making "extraordinary efforts to prepare an appropriate environment [for an agreement]" before a major international conference to discuss the country torn by civil war that is expected to be widely attended. Speaking to Turkish reporters in Konya, the foreign minister confirmed that he had a phone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday and added that he has spoken with his Saudi Arabian and Qatari counterparts on the phone, as well. Davutoglu was in Konya to attend an event marking the 30th anniversary of the passing of Turkish poet Necip Fazıl Kisakurek. "Obviously, growing momentum in diplomacy on the international level was created after our prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] visited Washington, D.C.," Davutoglu said. Recalling the Syrian opposition's intense consultations on an internal reorganization going on in Istanbul before the international conference that is scheduled to be held soon in Geneva, Davutoglu mentioned, "We are making extraordinary efforts to prepare an appropriate environment [for an agreement on the political future of Syria] before the conference." Davutoglu said he will also attend an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday, in which the EU countries will discuss a proposal to lift the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition that is battling against the regime. The proposal was initiated by France and the United Kingdom in March. The arms ban is part of a package of EU sanctions on Syria that is renewed every three months and the two countries have proposed not extending the package when it expires on June 1. Davutoglu also stated that Turkey's prestige at the international level is continuously increasing and that the country will be the leading voice against oppression no matter where it occurs and especially in Syria. The minister explained that Turkey is the ninth most-represented country in the international arena, with some 209 foreign embassies, consulate missions and other representatives around the world, explaining Turkey's growing image. "The UN [Security Council] has five permanent members. These five countries would not stop the violence in Syria. But we will be among the five countries whose flag is waving the most in the world in two years' time. Be sure that even when everyone else steps aside, the Turkish Republic will be the country that will raise the loudest voice against the oppression [in the world.]"