Ankara-Moscow ties can be fixed through dialogue, not apology: Turkish envoy
MOSCOW – Anadolu Agency
AA photoTension between Ankara and Moscow can be resolved through “negotiations and dialogue channels,” said Turkish Ambassador to Russia Ümit Yardım on April 27.
Speaking at the Moscow Union of Journalists, Yardım said Turkey’s relations with Russia date back nearly 1,000 years.
“Crises may come up, but to overcome these crises it is necessary to maintain the pace and continue to develop our relations,” Yardım said on April 26, adding that the two countries had also faced major bilateral crises in the past but had overcome them with “great common sense.”
“Turkish citizens in Russia have faced serious problems after Turkey shot down a Russian plane. But we know that the real people responsible for these incidents do not represent the Russian people,” he said.
Relations between Turkey and Russia have been tense since Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border in November last year over airspace violations, after which Russia imposed economic sanctions on Turkey and warned its citizens not to travel to the country.
Yardım said there are a few “strong weapons” that could help the two countries emerge from tension, the first of which is a “principled position that includes the past, the present and the future.”
“The second is dialogue and talking [to each other]. The third is being open, sincere and flexible in the dialogue process,” he added.
Asked about Russia’s conditions for the normalization of relations, Yardım said it would be futile to “expect an apology” from Turkey over the jet downing.
“An apology is a highly sensitive issue,” he said, suggesting the launch of “dialogue” between the two countries as an alternative.
“What Turkey suggests is a meeting between a Turkish presidential committee and the Russian side, which may consist of diplomatic and military members,” Yardım said.