World Bulletin / News Desk
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had surprise talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday as the two neighbors find themselves increasingly at odds over the civil war in Syria.
The two leaders agreed that contacts among countries in the region should be intensified in order to end the bloodshed in Syria, the Anatolia news agency said of the meeting, which took place on the sidelines of a summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Baku.
The meeting comes on the heels of escalating border tensions between Turkey and Syria.
Turkey has shelled Syrian targets after a mortar fired from Syria killed five civilians in a border town early this month. In moves that raised fears of a war that could drag in other regional countries and NATO, Turkey also reinforced its military units along the border, sending artillery weapons and deploying more fighter jets to an air base close to the border, and Parliament passed a motion allowing Turkey to send, if need be, Turkish troops into Syria. Necdet Özel, Chief of General Staff, also warned Syria, in a statement on Wednesday that Turkey would retaliate in a more forceful way should shelling by the Syrian side keep landing inside Turkish territory. In addition, Turkey has reinforced its border.
Erdoğan defended Turkey's retaliatory measures in the wake of the attack in the town of Akçakale, and Ahmadinejad concurred. “Turkey is justified in its reaction,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying during the meeting by the private Cihan news agency. The Iranian leader also extended condolences for the deaths of the Turkish civilians.
Syria, which said an investigation was under way to track the source of the mortar bomb, has expressed regret for the deaths and extended condolences.
The exchange of fire on the border has raised concerns both in Turkey and elsewhere. The EU ministers gathering for a meeting on Monday and expressed concern over the spillover of the Syrian crisis to Turkey and called on all sides to prevent any escalation of conflict between Damascus and Ankara.
During their meeting, Erdoğan and Ahmadinejad exchanged views on the joint UN and Arab League special envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi's talks on the Syrian issue.
Also high on the agenda of the meeting were Iran's nuclear program and the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) -- the Iranian wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging a separatist campaign against Turkey for the past three decades.
Iran also agreed that the Turkish Cypriots be given an observer status at ECO, a Turkish demand voiced by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during a ministerial meeting on Monday.
The advanceof ISIL insurgents to within sight of the Turkish army on the Syrian border has piled pressure on Ankara to play a greater role in the U.S.-led coalition.
"Immediately subsequent to the 2015 elections, all parties in the parliament should free themselves from prejudice and come together to write a new constitution based on reconciliation," Erdogan said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "We will fight effectively against both ISIL and all other terrorist organizations within the region; this will always be our priority."
Concerns Kiev could stop gas flow to Turkey and construction of nuclear plant on agenda for Taner Yildiz.
Turkish government's motion for military action against ISIL is extensively covered by Turkish dailies on Wednesday.
The Syrian Kurdish People’s Defence Units (PYD), a strong affiliate of the Kurdish separatist PKK terrorist organization, asked for weapons from Turley to fight the ISIL.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker called on Turkey to 'lift barriers' for American investment in the country.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said a special 'solution process council' will guide government's efforts to solve the Kurdish issue.
The newly-submitted motion, seeking parliamentary mandate for military action, cites the rising threats on southern borders as a motive.
A Turkish warship was harrassed in international waters, while a Turkish training aircraft was tracked in international air space.
Turkey's energy minister says the strength of the dollar has made next month's price hike inevitable. But Turkish consumers currently pay lowest prices for gas among EU countries.
Tuesday's papers covered Turkish army's deploying armored vehicles and tanks along the Syrian border after mortar rounds fired by ISIL militants fell on Turkish territory.
Rumors have been circulating the media that the ISIL had surrounded the base at the Suleiman Shah tomb and taken patrolling Turkish soldiers “hostage” since last December.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said parliamentary mandates that sanction cross-border operations in Iraq and Syria will be boosted.
Relations between Egypt and Turkey have taken a turn for the worse since Morsi's ouster by the military.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala called on the UN and nations to assist with the refugee crisis on Turkey's southern border.