Russia invites Turkey to economy meeting in Sochi

Russia invites Turkey to economy meeting in Sochi

Russia invites Turkey to economy meeting in Sochi Moscow has invited Ankara to an economy meeting scheduled for July 1 in Sochi, a Russian government official said June 23, marking the first such move after relations between two countries soured over a downed jet last year.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vassily Nebenzia said the country expected Turkey to attend the Black Sea Economic Cooperation meeting (BSEC) in Sochi along with Ukraine, another country with whom Russia has poor relations.

“We invited all ministers and are waiting for everyone, including Turkey and Ukraine, but there is still no answer. I think it will become clear [who will participate] this week or the beginning of next week at the latest,” Nebenzia told the Russian Ria Novosti news agency.

He also stated that the format of the meeting was not conducive to bilateral talks, although he voiced Moscow’s readiness to hold talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it was Russia’s "duty" to send an invitation to Turkey to attend the summit, as the foreign ministers of all countries taking part in the organization's works were invited.

Turkey downed a Russian jet along its border on Nov. 24, 2015, over alleged airspace violations, prompting a series of sanctions from the Russian side, as well as a war of words.

This invitation came months after Nebenzia, who was scheduled to pay a visit to Istanbul on Jan. 22 in what would have been the first high-level visit from Russia to Turkey since Ankara downed a Russian jet, canceled his trip citing health reasons. 

Putin accused Ankara of a “stab in the back” and imposed sanctions on Turkey, as the trade between the two countries – which back opposing sides in the five-year Syrian conflict – plummeted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently said both sides should work together to better their relations, adding that he was concerned at how relations had been sacrificed over what he described as a “pilot error.”