Turkey says not siding with anyone on Syria, policy different from Iran, Russia, US

Turkish President and the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the AK Party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on April 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2018
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Turkey says not siding with anyone on Syria, policy different from Iran, Russia, US

ANKARA: Turkey does not stand with or against any country on Syria and its policy in the region is different from that of Iran, Russia and the United States, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.
The comments by Bozdag, the government spokesman, were in response to a reporter’s question about an earlier remark from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said Turkey’s support of missile strikes against Syria showed it had “separated” from Russia.
The United States, Britain and France fired more than 100 missiles at Syria on Friday in a “one-time shot” the Pentagon said followed evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack using at least chlorine gas.
“Turkey’s Syria policy isn’t to stand with or against any country. There is no change to the policy Turkey has been carrying out,” Bozdag told reporters in Qatar.
“We do not have a united policy with the United States on the YPG issue, and Turkey’s stance has not changed. We are also against the unconditional support for the (Syrian) regime and we are at odds with Iran and Russia on this,” he said.
While Turkey is cooperating with both Russia and Iran to wind down some of the violence in Syria, Ankara has long demanded that President Bashar Assad must go and has backed rebels against him. Assad’s main supporters are Moscow and Tehran.
Turkey has also been at loggerheads with Washington over US support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization linked to Kurdish militants waging a decades-long insurgency in Turkish soil.
Turkey supported the air strikes by US, British and French forces, saying the move sent a message to Assad.
Bozdag said Turkey did not hesitate to work together with any country who defended “correct principles” on Syria.


China’s Xi to arrive in the UAE for state visit

Updated 59 min 6 sec ago
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China’s Xi to arrive in the UAE for state visit

  • His appointments during the three days include a series of high-level meetings with his Emirati counterparts
  • The UAE and China established diplomatic relations in November 1984

DUBAI: China’s Xi Jinping will arrive in the UAE Thursday for a three-day state visit, marking his first overseas trip since he was re-elected as president earlier this year.
Xi’s visit to the Emirates is part of his five-nation diplomatic tour – including Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa and Mauritius – to coincide with the Chinese leader’s attendance at the 10th annual BRICS summit in Johannesburg from July 25 to July 27.
Prominent UAE buildings – including the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Frame in Dubai and Emirates Palace Hotel and Abu Dhabi Global Market in Abu Dhabi – have been lit up in red to resemble the Chinese flag in celebration of Xi’s visit.
His appointments during the three days include a series of high-level meetings with his Emirati counterparts. The Chinese leader is also scheduled to visit the recently opened Louvre in Abu Dhabi.
Since the start of their diplomatic relations, cooperation between the UAE and China has grown continuously, “supported by their strong ties of friendship and mutual respect, to achieve their mutual interests,” state media WAM reported, quoting Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy.


The strong diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries have developed into a strategic partnership, the report added.
China was the UAE’s largest trade partner in 2017 with their total non-oil trade exchange estimated at $53.3 billion, a 15 percent growth compared with 2016. Additionally, over 25 bilateral commercial agreements and MoUs between the two countries have been signed as of September last year and have exchanged over 120 official visits between 2011 and 2017.
Al-Mansouri added that since the start of their diplomatic relations, cooperation between the UAE and China has grown continuously and boosted by prospects for further partnerships through Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
The UAE and China established diplomatic relations in November 1984, with the UAE opening its embassy in Beijing on March 19, 1987. The Gulf state also opened consulates in Hong Kong in 2000, Shanghai in 2006 and in Guangzhou in 2016. China meanwhile established its Abu Dhabi embassy in April 1985 and its consulate in Dubai in November 1988.
There are about 200,000 Chinese citizens currently working or living in the UAE, while the number of Chinese tourists has risen about a quarter to over a million after the country granted visa-on-arrival privileges to visitors from the Asian country.