Turkish FM says he wants to visit spouse of deceased Russian pilot
ANKARAForeign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said he wishes to visit the spouse of a deceased Russian pilot who was killed after Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian aircraft on Nov. 24, 2015, over an alleged airspace violation.
“We wanted to make a gesture to the family of the [deceased] pilot. [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergei Lavrov said Russia did everything so there is no need to do it as a gesture. But I said my spouse and I could visit the pilot’s spouse if she agrees and once more to convey our sadness,” the minister said Nov. 2 during an interview on Russian state-run television channel Rossiya-24.
Relations between Russia and Turkey soured after the downing of the jet, which had allegedly violated Turkish airspace along the Syrian border. Relations began to thaw June 29 following a letter and subsequent telephone calls between the countries’ leaders.
Recalling Russia’s proposal to separate al-Nusra militants from the Syrian opposition in Aleppo and declare a cease-fire afterwards, Çavuşoğlu said the declaration of a truce first was a better idea and that it would take time to eliminate al-Nusra elements from the Syrian opposition in the northern Syria province.
“We want al-Nusra to be entirely separated from the opposition. But there are differences on how that separation will be put into practice,” he said, adding that the bombardment in Aleppo should first be stopped before a cease-fire is declared. Subsequently, a reasonable amount of time will be necessary to separate al-Nusra from the moderate opposition.
Turkey has differences of opinion with Russia about Syria’s political change, the minister stated.
“We have some differences of opinion if it will be with or without [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad. In our opinion, it is not possible that the opposition will unite with al-Assad, because they don’t want to unite with a regime that killed at least 500,000 people,” he said.