Germany backs rapprochement between Turkey and Russia

– Berlin hopes normalization of ties between Ankara and Moscow would accelerate peace efforts in Syria

– Germany has voiced support for rapprochement between Turkey and Russia following the nine-month strain in ties after the downing of a Russian jet near the Syrian border, reported Anadolu Agency.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Monday, German Foreign Ministry deputy spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli said: “From our point of view, it is good that months after the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, now we are witnessing a rapprochement. We can only welcome this.”

Chebli hoped the normalization of relations between the two regional powers would have a positive impact on efforts to find a political solution to the civil war in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, marking the first meeting between the two leaders since the downing of the Russian warplane last November.

The high-profile meeting, which comes after the defeated July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, has been interpreted in several Western media outlets as a sign that Ankara was seeking closer ties with Moscow, amid its frustration with its Western allies.

Erdogan has sharply criticized Western countries for taking a hesitant approach against the coup attempt and failing to show strong solidarity with the Turkish people.

Putin has been among the first world leaders, who expressed strong support for the Turkish government against the coup attempt.

Chebli dismissed media reports that claimed Western capitals were concerned that Turkey was distancing itself from NATO, while seeking closer cooperation with Russia.

“We don’t believe that rapprochement between Turkey and Russia would have an impact on the security partnership of NATO. Turkey has been and remains a significant partner within NATO,” she said.

The upcoming meeting of the presidents of Turkey and Russia is expected to set a new roadmap for bilateral relations between Ankara and Moscow.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss efforts to find a political solution to the civil war in Syria, as well as other regional and international issues.