Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, has met with Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss ties after Turkey downed a Russian jet at the Syrian border last year.
Speaking on the sidelines of a regional economic cooperation conference on Friday, Lavrov (pictured above, right) said the two countries wanted to “set the right tone for the normalization of relations.” Ankara and Moscow were restarting a “working group on fighting terrorism” and would work on developing contacts along other channels, “including between the militaries of the two countries,” taking into account the activities of our air force,” he elaborated.
Russia was also working to discuss complicated issues including “the task of not allowing Turkish territory to support terrorist organizations in Syria,” Lavrov added.
His Turkish counterpart confirmed cooperation between the two countries.
“We can talk with Russia on every issue, positive or negative, because the dialogue that had been cut has been restarted and our relations have begun returning to old days,” Cavusoglu (pictured above, left) said. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could fly to Sochi in August to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, he added.
Ties between Moscow, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Ankara, which supports Assad’s opponents, broke down last year after Turkey downed a Russian jet flying close to the Syrian border.
In the diplomatic spat that followed, Putin accused Erdogan of profiting from illegal oil trade with “Islamic State” militants in Syria. Russia also banned the sale of package tours to Turkey, dealing a severe blow to Ankara’s tourism industry.
Earlier this week however, Erdogan sent a letter of apology to Putin and on Wednesday, the Russian president called Erdogan to convey his condolences for Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, in which 44 people were killed.
mg/kl (AP, AFP)