MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. Russia had prior knowledge a long time ago Turkish territories were being used for commercial operations with the Islamic State, but it did not try to accuse Ankara, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Italian mass media in an interview.
"We saw Turkey and the Turks — the Russian president said this yesterday once again — not just as partners and neighbours, but as allies in the anti-terrorist struggle," Lavrov said. "Honestly, we had had prior knowledge long ago Turkish territories were being used for commercial transactions with the Islamic State and for transporting weapons and terrorists to Syria, for giving extremists and militants a chance to recover, have some rest and get ready for more hostilities, and not only in Syria, but also in other regions, including our North Caucasus."
"We have long talked about that with our Turkish counter-partners without making a great fuss or accusing them of anything. We invited them to actively cooperate in order to expose those who were using Turkish territory in that way, in order to bring that to an end," Lavrov said. "We never ever uttered a word in public to declare we did not like this or that process that was afoot in Turkey."
"We had no reasons to believe that it was a policy supported by the Turkish leadership. To be more exact, we were reluctant to believe that and tried to address these problems through special channels. It didn’t work," Lavrov said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has proposed to look into how the Turkish Republic — a member of the US-led antiterrorist coalition, is fulfilling the coalition-set tasks in Syria.
"It is necessary to look into how a member of the US-led coalition — Turkish Republic, is fulfilling the tasks set by the coalition," he said. "Why does it bomb not so much the terrorists, if at all, as the Kurds? Who are regarded by the Americans as potential, at least potential, and maybe already real, allies in the fight against terror."