Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the forum was one of the first and biggest international events during the pandemic and it was held under compliance with all health measures.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu delivers closing remarks at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum held in
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu delivers closing remarks at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum held in "Global Communication Partner" with Anadolu Agency in Antalya, Turkey on June 20, 2021. (AA)

Turkey's first annual Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) meeting has been a "successful organisation" with full in-person participation, said the Turkish foreign minister.

Speaking on Sunday at his closing speech of the three-day high-level event, Mevlut Cavusoglu said it became one of the first and biggest international events during the pandemic and it was held under compliance with all health measures.

Around 8,000 PCR tests were conducted each day of the event.

"I think it will be a model for events of this scale in the future," Cavusoglu added.

Thanking all participants "who enriched this forum with different perspectives," he said: "Our goal during the forum was not to repeat the spoken words, not to repeat what is known. We wanted to go beyond our 'speech notes' in terms of diplomacy."

High international turnout

Antalya Diplomacy Forum has seen a high turnout from the leaders and foreign ministers of different countries, with Cavusoglu holding more than 50 bilateral meetings. 

A total of 11 heads of state and government, 45 foreign ministers, and attendance at ministerial level were part of the forum, according to the minister.

"This means that one out of every five foreign ministers in the world was here," he said.

Additionally, the event was attended by about 60 representatives of international organisations and high-level personalities, many Turkish and foreign guests from the business and academic world, and 256 young people in total, including undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from more than 50 universities.

Global agenda

Two leaders' sessions, 15 panels, 25 side events, including ADF Talks, and two youth forums were organised.

Noting that today "most of the problems that occupy the global agenda are experienced in the Mediterranean Basin," where the forum took place, Cavusoglu said there is room for all voices and all ideas in the region.

"Today it is in our hands to turn the Mediterranean into a sea of friendship," he said. "For this, we need innovative diplomacy and new approaches."

"We hope that the Antalya Diplomacy Forum will be a place where everyone who seeks creative solutions to international problems can take part. Hopefully, Antalya Diplomacy Forum will become a long-term platform," he concluded.

Operation, security of Kabul airport

Regarding reporters' questions on the Kabul International Airport, Cavusoglu said: "The operation and security of this airport are very important for Afghanistan, it is Afghanistan's gateway to the world."

"It is important not only for Afghanistan but also for the survival of all diplomatic missions there, including Turkey," he continued.

Emphasising that it is not an obligation that Turkey will undertake alone, the minister said Turkey needs support from important countries, allies, but above all from Afghanistan itself.

"The Afghan administration also wants Turkey to stay here," he said. "We have always said that we will stand by Afghanistan and we will be in Afghanistan as long as Afghanistan needs it."

Turkey, whose forces in Afghanistan have always been of noncombatant troops, is reported to have offered to guard Hamid Karzai International Airport as questions remain on how security will be assured along major transport routes and at the airport, which is the main gateway to the capital Kabul.

READ MORE: Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan push for Taliban commitment to peace talks

Healthy tourism measures

Welcoming Russia's recent decision to resume full-scale air traffic with Turkey, Cavusoglu said Turkey's healthy tourism measures and certification process "set an example to the world."

The air traffic will start by Tuesday.

Last year about two million Russian tourists visited Turkey despite the pandemic and Turkey expects a higher number this year, according to the minister.

He recalled that Turkey's case numbers fell sharply from around 60,000 to 5,000 with the latest coronavirus measures and many European countries started to lift restrictions against Turkey while others considering such a move as well.

READ MORE: Erdogan: International community failed to manage Covid pandemic

Consultative talks with Greece

After the ongoing tensions in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean for a while, Cavusoglu said Turkey restarted consultative talks with Greece.

Referring to the both president- and foreign-minister-level meetings held between the two countries, he said: "I hope that this determination and sincerity will continue for both sides."

Cavusoglu also urged the Greek side to "give up provocations" during the summer such as carrying out drills in the Aegean during the tourism season as it is agreed on. 

He also referred to other "provocative steps" Greece often takes, such as violating the disarmament status of the islands.

READ MORE: Turkey, Greece to take concrete steps to improve economic ties

Call for EU negotiations to restart

Cavusoglu said the negotiations on the modernisation of the 1995 Customs Union agreement should start at the upcoming EU summit.

Turkey does not know how many rounds of negotiations there will be, he said, reminding that last time there were three.

"But it needs to start again," he added.

READ MORE: Turkey: EU membership of southeastern European members common goal

Source: AA