Turkey-Russia Relations ‘Returned to Pre-Crisis Level’: Turkish Ambassador

Turkey and Russia have not only returned to the pre-crisis level of bilateral relations but managed to establish new goals in development of the contacts, Turkish Ambassador to Russia Huseyin Dirioz said on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow on March 10.

“I believe, the main thing is that we have left the concept of ‘normalizing’ our relations in the past, and not only have our relations returned to the pre-crisis level, but we have established specific goals to develop them [the relations],” Dirioz said during a press conference at the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.

Erdogan visited Moscow for the Russia-Turkey High-Level Cooperation Council (HLCC), co-chaired by him and Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Friday. The sides signed a number of documents, including a 2017–2020 mid-term trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation program, several memorandums of understanding and an agreement to set up a joint investment fund.

The previous HLCC meeting took place in December 2014, but was followed by a deterioration of relations after the November 2015 downing of a military Russian aircraft by the Turkish Air Force over Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russian-Turkish relations are strengthening as the two countries seek ways to reduce the scale of fighting in the six-year Syrian conflict.

“We are very happy that connections between our countries are being re-established quickly,” Putin told reporters as he hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow. “We are actively working on solving the most serious crisis, first of all the Syrian one.”

Russia and Turkey worked closely to broker a cease-fire in Syria in December. In addition to co-sponsoring two negotiating sessions this year between the Syrian government and the opposition, they collaborated on a campaign to neutralize the Islamic State militant group in Syria.