Turkey to overcome any terror act in solidarity: PM

 Turkey to overcome any terror act in solidarity: PM
# 20 December 2016 20:00 (UTC +04:00)

Turkey and its people will overcome any terror act in unity and solidarity, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Tuesday regarding the recent assassination of Russian envoy to Turkey, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.

"Those who conducted this heinous attack will never harm Turkish-Russian relations," the minister said in a joint press conference after meeting with his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Kvirikashvili in Istanbul.

"No matter where terror comes from, no matter by whom it is instigated, our nation, our people and our government will overcome these kind of calamities."

Yildirim expressed once again condolences to the family of assassinated Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, and the Russian people.

Karlov was assassinated on Monday evening after being shot multiple times at an art exhibition in Ankara while delivering a speech. The assailant was the 22-year-old Turkish riot policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas, who opened fire on the diplomat before shooting into the air, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent who witnessed the incident.

The Police special forces neutralized Altintas in an operation that lasted around 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Karlov was seriously wounded and immediately taken to Guven Hospital in the capital’s Cankaya district, where he was later pronounced dead.

Earlier in the afternoon Tuesday, Russia has sent a plane to take the ambassador's body and an investigative team, comprising of a prosecutor and two defense attaches. The investigation of the Turkish-Russian commission continues.

As part of his statement, Yildirim also thanked Kvirikashvili for his support to Turkey and its people after the defeated July 15 coup attempt, where 248 were martyred and 2,193 injured. The mastermind of the putsch attempt was Fetullah Terrorist Organization's (FETO) ringleader Fetullah Gulen who resides in Pennsylvania since 1999.

Yildirim also said that Turkey continued to support Georgia's aim to integrate with NATO, EU and other institutions and remained committed to backing territorial integrity and independence of Tbilisi. He also said Turkey was ready to support Georgia for the integration of the Meskhetian Turks.

Meskhetian Turks, also known as Ahiska Turks, are natives to Georgia who were expelled in 1944 from their homeland by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, in an attempt to remove Turks from the shores of the Black Sea.

On the other hand, Kvirikashvili said his country supported Turkey as Ankara's role was crucial to achieve territorial security. He offered condolences to the Turkish people after the recent terror attacks in Istanbul and Kayseri, adding more cooperation and solidarity was needed in order to fight terrorism.

"It is our understanding that peace and international law are a must to achieve stability in our region," he said.

"We also believe that problems should be solved within the framework of the internationally recognized borders, territorial integrity and independence principles."

Over the recently launched Eurasia Tunnel, constructed underneath the seabed of the Bosphorus, Kvirikashvili stated that this project would revive the historic silkroad -- an ancient network of trade routes connecting the Asian continent to the West.

He added that Turkey and Georgia worked on several common projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway which aims to become a transport corridor linking Asia to Europe through Azerbaijan and Turkey by rail.

The line is intended to transport an initial annual volume of 6.5 million tonnes, rising to a long-term target of 17 million tonnes, according to Rail Turkey, a journal dedicated to development of railway projects in the region.

According to Yildirim, the BTK project will start to serve in the first quarter of 2017.