Russian FM Lavrov: 'As For The Restoration Of Trust... Much Will Depend On Turkish Cooperation In Settling The Syrian Crisis'. (Memri).
Commenting on Erdogan's letter to Putin, Russian Vice-Premier Alexander Khloponin said: "This process is complex...I believe that the Turkish side must find very serious and weighty arguments for Russia so that we can review our long-term relations for the better."
An editorial in Vedomosti, a leading financial paper, commented that the current Russia-Turkey rapprochement is situational since both countries use it to signal the West. Relations with the West are far more important for Russia and Turkey than their mutual relations with each other.
In another article Vedomosti quotes Russian Foreign Affairs Council expert Andrey Kortunov, who says that Russia-Turkey contradictions stem from the Syrian issue, Southern Caucasus regional issues and the Crimean Tatar ethical issue. Kortunov said: "I think the sides will discuss all those questions but I assume that the Russian side will want to keep some aces in hand for a further trade-off.
It is worth noting that the meeting between Putin and Erdogan is occurring the day after Putin met with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, in Azerbaijan's capital of Baku.
The following is a review of comments in the Russian media, ahead of the Putin-Erdogan meeting:
FM Lavrov: 'Turkish Territory Is Actively Used To Deliver Supplies To Terrorists And To Transport Fighters To Syria'
One of the talks' main topics between Erdogan and Putin was the settlement of the Syrian crisis. On July 22, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov answered to a question on the normalization of Russian-Turkish relation, at Russia's "Terra Scientia" Youth Educational Forum. Lavrov said:
"Here's what I'll say on that. You know how Russia-Turkey relations were faring before November 24, 2015, when a Russian bomber was downed, and you know what happened after that. We believe, and we have said so publicly, that this incident was an example of unacceptable behavior by the Turkish side, no matter who stood behind that illegal act because the bomber was returning to base and had no bombs left after striking terrorists, and it was not downed in Turkish airspace but over Syria. We took a very firm stand on this, because it was actually an unjustified attack.
"We are satisfied that our Turkish partners have heard us, even though it took them seven months, and that the letter President Erdogan sent to Vladimir Putin included the right words, as you know. This allowed us to arrange a phone conversation between the two presidents, during which they agreed to instruct their governments to start normalizing bilateral relations. This work is underway. Regular flights have been resumed today, including those that were suspended because of the attempted coup...
"As for the restoration of trust, this is an abstract category. Everything will depend on how we feel the cooperation and contacts are going. I'm referring not only to bilateral contacts or bilateral trade, not what we will buy from each other, what we will build or what investment projects we will implement jointly. Much will depend on our cooperation in settling the Syrian crisis.
"It so happened that after our bomber was downed and we put a freeze on relations with Turkey, we provided numerous pieces of evidence during discussions on Syria that showed that Turkish territory is actively used to deliver supplies to terrorists and to transport fighters to Syria. This evidence is still on the table.
Now that we have resumed our relations, it will be difficult for Turkey to disregard the evidence. We hope that our Turkish partners will answer our questions and also take measures to prevent the use of their territory for keeping up this fratricidal war and for supporting terrorists who are fighting for their own interests and don't care about the future of Syria. Read the full story here.