Turkey backs Philippines in sea disputes

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THE Philippines won the support of Turkey in its call for international arbitration to resolve the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

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In a joint press statement with Turkey Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, President Benigno Aquino 3rd said the Turkish leader agreed that the territorial disputes should be settled through mechanisms provided for under international law.

“The Prime Minister agreed that maritime disputes should be settled in a peaceful manner and in accordance with international law,” the President said.

“The Prime Minister noted that the Philippines’ decision to pursue arbitration is one that advances a durable and peaceful resolution to the issue,” he added.

Davutoglu also supported the Philippines’ efforts to have a legally binding code of conduct in the WPS.

“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, as well as an expeditious conclusion of a legally-binding Code,” he said.

The Turkish leader cited the importance of “stability, peace of neighboring countries,” which according to him are essential to the developments around Turkey and in the neighboring regions.

“We see Philippines as our partners and strategic friend and partner in this part of the world,” he said.

The Philippines has conflicting territorial claims with China over resource-rich parts of the West Philippine Sea.

In March, the Philippines brought its territorial dispute with China before the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Beijing, however, has rejected the arbitration proceedings, repeatedly insisting on bilateral talks to settle to issue.

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