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Envoy: Russia to freeze cultural ties with Turkey until political situation changes

December 14, 2015, 17:25 UTC+3 ST.PETERSBURG
Holding serious talks about major cultural projects in the current environment is undiplomatic, the Russian president’s special envoy for international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi explains
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© AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

ST.PETERSBURG, December 14. /TASS/. Russia will suspend cultural cooperation with Turkey until the political situation improves, the Russian president’s special envoy for international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi told reporters.

"We proceed from the fact that holding serious talks about major cultural projects in the current environment is undiplomatic. It is clear that Russia in general proceeds from the presumption of innocence of culture, the presumption of innocence of the people. However, there are such politically sensitive moments when it would be wrong to conduct negotiations on holding cultural events," Shvydkoi told the St.Petersburg International Cultural Forum.

He did not rule out that the contacts would resume some time later, including on holding the cross years of culture. "Naturally, no one cancels anything - we are just freezing (cultural ties) for some time. I think the time will pass, the political situation will change, and then it will be possible to return to the ideas that existed — holding cross years and so on," Shvydkoi said.

"Tukey is a country known for its vast, deep culture, there are many institutions that will be willing to cooperate with us," he said.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated after the Turkish Air Force shot down Russia's Sukhoi Su-24 bomber in the sky over Syria on November 24. Ankara alleges that the aircraft breached Turkey’s airspace near the border with Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Su-24M jet had been exclusively over Syrian territory and had not violated Turkey’s airspace.

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