Turkey to promote ‘peace and development’ in Asia

The Turkish presidency of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) will focus on peace and development across the continent, especially in conflict zones, said the country's parliament speaker.

Ismail Kahraman, speaker of Grand National Assembly of Turkey, said: "The continuation of peace and development in Asia is significant for all of us. We, as Turkey, attach great importance to the preservation of peace, security, and stability in all of Asia, especially in the region of East Asia."

His remarks came as he addressed the inaugural session of the 10th plenary session of the APA, which started Tuesday in Istanbul under the theme "Sustaining Peace and Development in Asia".

Delegations from parliaments of 42 APA members, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, took part in the meeting.

The Turkish parliament speaker said the terms peace and development were highly connected.

"Peace and development feed each other," he said.

Regarding the conflicts in Palestine and Myanmar, Kahraman said it was imperative that all APA nations act together to achieve sustainable peace and development in Asia.

Noting that Turkey was deeply affected by the latest developments in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine, Kahraman said the humanitarian crisis in the region continued despite all humanitarian efforts.

"As Turkey, we play a constructive role in the solution of the problems in Rakhine Province," Kahraman said. "We are in a position that focuses on the human dimension of this issue."

Since Aug. 25, over 620,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed from Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Kahraman also warned APA countries against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) which he said is a national security threat not only for Turkey but for all 170 countries where it is present.

He said FETO's basic strategy is to infiltrate state institutions in the guise of education, dialogue, tolerance, non-governmental organizations to influence societies and dominate economic resources.

"We are therefore calling on all friendly nations of Asia to take the necessary measures against FETO for their own safety and for the future of their country," he said.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Turkey to chair APA for next two years

Also addressing the inaugural session, the president of APA Nguon Nhel underlined the theme Sustaining Peace and Development in Asia which he said was "very significant" regarding the regional and global issues.

"Peace and development is key for all the nations," he said. "One will not exist without the other."

"Development cannot be achieved in a place where there are conflicts and instability."

Nhel said there had been development in Cambodia for the last 30 years "thanks to the political stability" in his country.

Referring to Turkey taking over the APA presidency for the next two years, he said: "I believe Turkey will play a more active and effective role" in order to ensure security, peace, prosperity and development for Asian people.

Mohammad Reza Majidi, APA secretary general, said full support would be provided "to make the incoming presidency a success".

Burhan Kayaturk, the head of the Turkish APA Group, also delivered a welcoming speech and said "sustainable peace and development" could be possible in Asia by using "the great potential" on the continent.

He said almost 45 percent of the world population lived in Asia and that Asia's share in the world economy was around 30 percent.

Reviving the ancient Silk Road, which crosses the Asian continent, from China to Turkey and to the West, would be "a significant contribution to increase intercontinental connectivity, speed up the peace" for Asian people, he said.

The three-day working program will end on Thursday with the adoption of the Istanbul Declaration.

Source: Anadolu Agency