Konstantin Kosachev: The Situation in Syria Remains One of the Key Issues in Russian-Turkish Dialogue

MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. Moscow and Ankara are maintaining the prospect of interacting on bilateral and multilateral levels to fight terrorism in Syria, despite their different views on the situation in the war-torn Arab republic, Head of Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Thursday.

“Our interpretations of what is going on in this country [Syria] differ, I mean, our vision of how the existing problems should be resolved. However, the most important thing is that under the circumstances, our two countries [Russia and Turkey] maintain the possibility of bilateral and multilateral cooperation for the sake of achieving the most crucial goal, which is to stamp out the sources of terrorism in Syria,” the senator told a joint meeting of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee and the Turkish Grand National Assembly’s foreign policy commission.

Kosachev also said that the situation in Syria is currently one of the key issues in Russian-Turkish dialogue. He added that they are expected to share views “related to the situation in the Middle East within a broader context” and more global trends in today’s world, which are often defined by the developments occurring in the US.

In addition, the parties are expected to address the issues of strengthening, developing and cooperating in organizations, where the two countries work jointly. “We have certain questions for NATO, and we are ready to put them to you, a NATO member state,” the senator stated.

Speaking about the issues of bilateral cooperation, Kosachev pointed out that both nations are actively developing mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation. As such, trade between Russian and Turkey rose by 30% in the first eight months of the year, the senator said, adding that these are not record-high figures but the “trend is positive”.

Shootdown of Su-24 fighter over

Kosachev recalled that Russian-Turkish bilateral relations have a long yet complicated history. “But it is very important to state that our fellow citizens are today in no way captives of this history,” he noted.

“Unfortunately, there’ve been tragic events in our contemporary history. I mean the 2015-2016 incident [when the Russian Su-24 jet was shot down]. But we can say that we’ve overcome this turmoil in our bilateral relations, its water under the bridge,” Kosachev emphasized.

He believes that this is can be attributed to both leaders of the countries and their good will, as well as a “reflection of Russia and Turkey’s mutual interest in finding solutions and moving forward even under the most difficult circumstances.”

The downing of the Russian warplane led to a serious crisis in Russia-Turkey relations. Unlike Ankara, Moscow said that the jet didn’t violate Turkey’s airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree imposing a slew of punitive economic sanctions against Turkey, and dialogue between the two countries came to a grinding halt. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized for the incident in late August, 2016, and relations between the two countries started to improve.