Turkey-Russia relations smoothing: Deputy PM Kurtulmuş

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 27.06.2016 11:24
Updated 27.06.2016 12:51
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Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Monday that there was an acceleration in steps to smooth relations with Russia, strained since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane as part of the rules of engagement and violation of its airspace near Hatay province close to the Syrian border last November.

Kurtulmuş welcomed what he said was a decision to allow some Russian companies to employ Turkish nationals again, in comments he made during a televised news conference in Ankara.

'Certain point reached in normalization of Israel ties'

The deputy prime minister also commented on the recently finalized reconciliation deal between Turkey and Israel. He said a "certain point" was reached in normalizing Turkey's relations with Israel in talks on Sunday.

"A certain point was reached in talks on June 26 and this will be announced in a simultaneous statement by both prime ministers at 1 pm (1000 GMT)," Kurtulmuş told reporters during a break from a cabinet meeting.

Turkish and Israeli delegations met in Rome over the weekend to finalize the reconciliation deal between the two countries, and Ankara has succeeded in receiving an apology from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, compensation for the Mavi Marmara raid victims and the lifting of the Gaza blockade after six years of diplomatic struggle.

A senior Turkish official told Daily Sabah early Monday that Turkey reached an agreement with Israel to normalize bilateral relations on Sunday in Rome, Italy.

Under the agreement, Turkey will deliver humanitarian aid and other non-military products to Gaza and make infrastructure investments in the area. Along with new residential buildings, Turkey will complete the construction of a 200-bed hospital in Gaza.

'EU should be more sensible to Turkey over visa waiver after Brexit'

Kurtulmuş has also called on the European Union to be "more sensible" in ongoing negotiations over granting visa liberalization to its citizens following Brexit, repeating that Turkey was committed to fulfilling all required criteria.

"Turkey has shown its continued engagement for the accomplishment of visa liberalization and [the implementation of] the Readmission Agreement. The EU also should move in a more sensible way in this process [after Brexit]" Kurtulmuş said.

Kurtulmuş recalled that the migrant deal reached between the two parties on March 18 was functioning well, as the number of irregular migrants trying to go to Greek islands had drastically decreased in recent months.

"Therefore, as a country that meets its fulfilments in regards to the rules of the Readmission Agreement, I want to emphasize that our expectations for visa liberalization are clear and understandable," he stressed.

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