Ankara, Moscow relations can be fixed through dialogue, Turkey's envoy to Russia says

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 28.04.2016 10:35
Updated 28.04.2016 14:01

The tension between Ankara and Moscow should be resolved through negotiations and dialogue, Turkey's ambassador to Russia Ümit Yardım said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Moscow Union of Journalists, Yardım said relations with Russia date back nearly 1,000 years, including 500 years of official relations with the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey.

"Crises may come up, but to overcome these crises it is necessary to maintain pace and continue to develop our relations," Yardım said.

"Turkish citizens in Russia have faced serious problems after Turkey shot down a Russian plane," he said, referring to an incident last November when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border after warning that it had crossed into Turkish airspace. "However, we know that the real people responsible for these incidents do not represent the Russian people."

Asked about Russia's conditions for the normalization of relations with Moscow, Yardım said expecting an apology for the incident would not bear any fruit.

"An apology is a highly sensitive issue," Yardım said, and instead suggested launching dialogue between the two countries.

"What Turkey suggests is a meeting between a Turkish presidential committee and the Russian side, which may consist of diplomatic and military members as well," he explained. Following Turkey's downing of the Russian Su-24 fighter jet for violating Turkey's airspace in late November last year, Russia imposed a range of unilateral sanctions on Turkey, including a ban on food imports, an end to visa-free travel and calls on tourists to not visit the country. Analysts from Russia and Turkey have repeatedly warned the Russian government that Russia risks economic trouble by freezing economic relations with Turkey. Before the Russian military jet was shot down, about 1,500 Turkish firms operated in Russia in businesses ranging from construction and tourism to fruit, vegetable and textile imports. While no data is available, it estimated that around 200 Turkish firms have since left.

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