British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson blamed Russia and Iran yesterday for the Syrian regime’s most egregious crimes in Aleppo while hailing Britain’s NATO ally Turkey as a crucial partner in international security efforts, Anadolu Agency reported.
In a press conference he held with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Johnson reiterated his country’s support for the Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” operation in northern Syria, which Ankara claims is aimed at forcing Daesh from Syrian cities and towns adjacent to its borders.
Johnson noted that he had visited Syrian refugee camps in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, saying: “I saw the tremendous Turkish efforts offered to help solving the refugee crisis.”
Meanwhile, he said that his country takes joint measures with Turkey against separatists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as well as Daesh, noting that the world and the British people recognise that Turkey is a key country in maintaining international security.
Johnson also said that his country would cooperate with the Turkey against any Gulenist links in the UK, saying: “Gulenism and the way that they act and the way they behave is very foreign to us. We are trying to learn as much as we can from our Turkish friends exactly what this organisation is, how it behaves, how it dictates an agenda.”
He noted that his Turkish counterpart had given showed him a list of companies and institutions potentially linked to Gulen, suggesting that the British government will look into Turkish allegations against the Gulen organisation.
Boris Johnson’s visit to Turkey is his first since becoming Foreign Secretary, and his first meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he won a controversial award last May for penning the most insulting anti-Erdogan poem.
Johnson’s political gaffe was seemingly not mentioned by Turkish officials, maintaining diplomatic decorum and protocols.