Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that steps taken toward the normalization of relations with Russia and Israel were based on a “win-win” principle.
“We never thought of a one-sided step,” Erdogan said while speaking at an iftar, or fast-breaking, dinner in Ankara.
All steps taken were “based on the win-win principle,” he said. “In other words, both Turkey and Russia must win, both Turkey and Israel must win.”
Earlier Wednesday, Erdogan had a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, emphasizing the importance of normalizing relations between the two countries, more than seven months after Turkey downed a Russian jet that violated its airspace despite several warnings.
Erdogan described the conversation with Putin as “beneficial for both countries”.
The Turkish president also said he is going to meet Putin ahead of a G20 summit due to be held in China in October, and on July 1, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavsoglu will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Sochi.
“We decided to quickly take steps regarding tourism,” Erdogan said, adding that from now on, Turkey’s borders will be open for Russian tourists as well as Russian borders for Turks.
Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Russia soured following the downing of the Russian warplane. That prompted the Kremlin to order sanctions against Turkish food products, an end to visa-free travel and a ban on Russian tourists taking package vacations in Turkey.
In addition, Turkey announced this week that it had signed an agreement to normalize relations with Israel more than six years after Israeli troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in international waters, killing 10 Turkish citizens.
Erdogan said he hoped the deal would “be beneficial also for Palestinians” and that the first ship with humanitarian aid would head to Palestine on Friday.
The president's remarks came about 24 hours after a deadly attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and Erdogan said Turkey would never abandon its goals and ideals in the face of terror attacks.
“Turkey’s real disaster are not these terror acts, but it would be the abandonment of its goals and ideals. These are what we will not abandon,” he said. “We will not leave our people face-to-face with such a catastrophe,” Erdogan said, while expressing condolences to all martyrs in Turkey due to terrorism, including the Istanbul attack on Tuesday in which 42 people were killed and more than 230 others wounded by three assailants armed with automatic assault rifles and explosive vests. Turkey blames the Daesh terror group for the suicide attacks.
Those who killed innocent victims at the Ataturk airport “had prepared their place in hell” and had nothing to do with Islam as the Quran says “killing an innocent person is like killing all mankind,” Erdogan said.
“What was the sin of those civilians?” he asked, while saying that among the victims there were Turkish and foreign citizens, children, women and the elderly.
Turkey is “passing through a severe test” as “a country that is the target of the world's most bloody terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said, but he has not the “slightest doubt that we will get through terror organizations”.
He added: “Sooner or later, we will get through that.”
Erdogan also thanked world leaders, including Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who telephoned him or sent condolence messages.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.