Turkey considers Russia a partner in finding a way out of the Syrian crisis, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told TASS.
“We have always sought opportunities for cooperation with Russia on the issue,” he said. “We want to look into the future with hope and would like to ensure the political transition in Syria at an early date in cooperation with Russia.” Kalin recalled that Turkey and Russia “held summit meetings in Sochi and then in Moscow in September 2015 for the sake of stability in Syria.” “Thanks to this we paved the way for creating the International Syria Support Group,” he said.
The spokesman noted that “the Syrian crisis continues to pose one of the greatest threats to both the region and the global security and stability.” “Turkey is the most exposed to this danger, and all the negative aspects of the Syrian conflict are immediately felt here. That is why Turkey’s primary goal is to put an end to clashes in Syria without delay and on a permanent basis,” he said. Kalin added that “at the current stage we have failed to reach a point where one could say that there is hope for a political solution in Syria.”
Concerning Ankara’s stance on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Kalyn made it clear that it has remained unchanged. “Unfortunately, as long as Assad is in power, it is hardly possible to talk about the political transition. Talking about Assad remaining in power means talking about the continuation of hostilities. If we aim for permanent peace in Syria, I think after five years of the fighting and the loss of half a million innocent Syrians it became perfectly clear that peace cannot be achieved with Assad,” he said.
Speaking about the Turkish vision of the new political reality in Syria, Kalin pointed to the need “to create an inclusive, pluralistic, democratically legitimate political system in Syria recognized by all Syrians.” “Both Russia’s and Turkey’s interests require such results,” he added.
President of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will focus on bilateral relations, the Syria crisis and fight against terrorism at their talks in St. Petersburg, Ibrahim Kalin also said.
“On August 9, the leaders will discuss at the talks, first, bilateral relations, the Syria crisis and fight against terrorism, along with other regional issues,” Kalin said. “We are living in the times when national and regional themes are coming up to a global level. In other words, national, regional or global issues are nearly impossible to be delimited. I can say the August 9 talks will be held in this manner.”
Speaking about joint projects of Russia and Turkey, Kalin said Ankara “will continue close cooperation with Russia in all aspects and will work on new projects.”
“It is crucial that joint steps in these spheres would be taken in both countries’ interests and that solutions to regional and global crises could be found,” he went on to say.
Russia is engaged in construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey’s south. Talks are underway on construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline via the Turkish territory. Talks on payments in national currencies for individuals and enterprises are planned to be held soon. Before the crisis in the two countries’ relations over the Russian Su-24 warplane downed by Turkey on November 24, 2015, the trade had amounted to $34bln.
The talks between Russian and Turkish Presidents in St. Petersburg will help expedite the process of normalizing bilateral relations, the spokesman said.
“We have no doubts that our countries will continue cooperating on the basis of mutual interests and the relations between them will reach an even higher level,” the spokesman said.
“The leaders’ meeting on August 9 will play an important role in expediting the process of normalizing the relations,” he added.
The Turkish leader’s spokesman also said “the process of normalization has begun thanks to the reasonableness and decisiveness of the presidents of both countries.”
“In a telephone talk earlier, the leaders agreed on a personal meeting before the G20 summit, which will be held in China. Actually the first steps [towards normalization] were taken after this talk. It is important for us to be in close cooperation and coordinate our efforts, be it bilateral relations or regional and global issues,” Kalyn said.
According to the spokesman, Turkey “sees Russia as an important friend and partner.”
“We know that the Russian people and the government treat Turkey likewise. For example, we perceived with gratitude and our entire people watched this on television that Russian citizens were bringing flowers to our embassy in Moscow after a terror attack in Istanbul [the terror act at the Istanbul Ataturk airport on June 28],” the Turkish leader’s spokesman said.
Kalyn also mentioned the issue of a Russian Su-24 bomber shot down by a Turkish fighter jet on November 24, 2015. This incident led to a crisis in the relations between Ankara and Moscow and Russia imposed trade and economic sanctions against Turkey by the decree of the Russian president.
“In November 2015, as soon as we learnt that the downed plane belonged to the Russian Aerospace Force, we assumed a friendly and constructive position. But it took several months for the negotiations between our countries to reach a certain level. As a result, thanks to the accords between our leaders, normalization began,” the Turkish leader’s spokesman said.