First Russia-Turkey talks after downed fighter jet yield no result
AFP photoThe much-anticipated meeting between the Turkish and Russian foreign ministers, the first face-to-face encounter after Turkey downed a Russian jet on its border with Syria on Nov. 24, has yielded no result.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he had heard “nothing new” from his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Dec. 3 after the first high-level bilateral contact between the two countries since the incident on Nov. 24.
The two met in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the sidelines of a conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
“We met with the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on his insistent request. We heard nothing new,” Lavrov told a televised news conference late Dec. 3, according to Reuters.
He said Russia had reiterated its own position during the meeting with Çavuşoğlu.
Meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu was quoted by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency as saying it would be unrealistic to expect all problems to be solved with Russia after a single meeting, but that it was important to keep communication channels open.
Stating that the two parties had different thoughts and ideas regarding the issue, Çavuşoğlu said they had “sincerely transferred” these differences to each other.
“As a result, today’s [Dec. 3] meeting is - I believe - important regarding the dialogue channels to be open and the continuation of the dialogue between us, even though we have varying thoughts,” Çavuşoğlu said.
“We are at a point which we do not want. For the relations to get back on track, meetings need to continue. We are for it,” he added.
Moscow and Ankara are deeply at odds over what happened when Turkey downed a Russian SU-24 fighter bomber near the Syrian border as it took part in the Kremlin’s air campaign against militants in Syria. The intruding aircraft was reportedly warned about the violation 10 times within five minutes before it was shot down, according to the Turkish military.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a climate change conference in Paris on Nov. 30 was refused by Putin, who said Turkey has yet to apologize for shooting down the jet on the Syrian border.
Erdoğan’s earlier attempt to have a phone conversation with Putin on the day of the Russian jet’s downing had also been rejected.
Çavuşoğlu told the OSCE conference that “the incident on Nov. 24... should not be confused with our fighting against our common enemy of Daesh, terrorism and should not be abused for political objectives,” using an Arabic term for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Amid an escalating battle of words between the two leaders over allegations of illicit oil trade involving ISIL, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stepped up to end the angry exchange.
“I am making a call to Putin. First of all, let’s deescalate tension in [our two countries’] discourse. Let’s meet on grounds of conversation instead of mutual accusations. Then, we can share information again on the essence of the incident and how it occurred,” Davutoğlu said, speaking at a conference on Dec. 3.
The Russian plane crashed in northern Syria and a crew commander, Oleg Peshkov, was killed by Turkmen groups while descending with a parachute.