Turkey, World

Turkish-Russian relations back to 'normal', says envoy

Russian ambassador to Ankara says crisis over downed plane has been overcome

Diyar Güldoğan   | 16.12.2016
Turkish-Russian relations back to 'normal', says envoy Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov. (Anadolu Agency - Ali Balıkçı, Ankara/30.11.2016)

Ankara

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey said Friday the relations between both countries have been normalized since the downing of a Russian warplane in November 2015.

"The crisis after our plane was shot down was overcome. We are back to normal relations," Andrey Karlov said in the capital Ankara during an international conference entitled "Deepening Turkey-Russia Relations".

Relations between Russia and Turkey soured last November after the downing of Russian jet, which had violated Turkish airspace along the Syrian border. Relations began to thaw on June 29 following a letter and subsequent telephone calls between the countries’ leaders.

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin did not talk to anybody as much as he spoke to [Turkey's President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan on the phone," Karlov said.

Karlov said so far 11 phone calls had been made between high level officials.

He said the crisis "unfortunately" hit economic relations of the two countries.

Addressing the conference, Director General of Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov said Russian-Turkish relations had gone through a crisis.

"Actually, it is possible to derive lessons from it. The past year showed [us] how relations [between Russia and Turkey] are sensitive and fragile," said Kortunov.

"There seems to be a new cooperation on the horizon," he added.

Kortunov said it was "highly important" to re-establish relations.

Sefik Vural Altay, general director of bilateral relations at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said Turkey saw Russia as an "important" neighbor.

"Sometimes competition and sometimes cooperation are effective in the relations," Altay said.

"The normalization process has been almost politically completed, but there are steps to be taken economically," said Altay.

Altay expected Russia to remove the visa ban on Turkey.

After the Nov. 24 jet crisis, Moscow took several measures against Turkey, including restriction of visa-free travel to a ban on imports of certain foodstuffs and a ban on the sale of Turkish holiday packages by tourist agencies to Russians. Russia had also called on its nationals to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination following the crisis.

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