MANILA — Turkey has expressed support for the Philippines’ quest for a rules-based approach in settling its West Philippine Sea dispute with China.
In his press statement following his bilateral meeting with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Malacañang Palace on Monday, President Benigno S. Aquino III said he briefed his Turkish counterpart on the situation in the West Philippine Sea and underscored the need to settle the dispute through peaceful means.
“The Prime Minister noted that the Philippines’ decision to pursue arbitration is one that advances a durable and peaceful resolution to the issue,” President Aquino said.
“Likewise, Turkey stands with the Philippines in calling for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), as well as an expeditious conclusion of a legally-binding Code,” he added.
The Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan are laying claim, in whole or in part, to the West Philippine Sea.
At the same time, President Aquino said, he and Prime Minister Davutoğlu discussed the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as the danger posed by similar organizations against religious and ethnic minorities in various parts of the world.
“We share the belief that it is the fundamental purpose of government to safeguard the welfare of its people, and we seek to fulfill this purpose by working hand-in-hand with our partners at home, within our regions, and in the larger community of nations,” he said.
In his press statement, Prime Minister Davutoğlu said he discussed with President Aquino the Middle East crisis, especially the ongoing civil war in Syria.
There is a humanitarian tragedy in the region, and about two million refugees from Syria are now in Turkey, he said, noting that 1.5 million were victims of the repressive Syrian regime in the last three years while 500,000 were forced to relocate because of the brutal attacks of the ISIS.
Prime Minister Davutoğlu said regional stability and peace are essential to Turkey’s security and it shares the experience of the Philippines in these issues