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Russian analyst: Crisis in Russia-Turkey relations emerged before bomber incident

January 19, 2016, 19:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The crisis stems from the gap in relations between the two countries in the sphere of economics, culture and geopolitics

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. Crisis in relations between Russia and Turkey emerged long before the Sukhoi-24 incident over Syria and it stems from the disruption of relations between the two countries in various spheres, such as the economy, culture and geo-politics, the director of the Oriental Studies, International Relations and Public Diplomacy Centre, Vladimir Avatkov, said on Tuesday, while speaking at a round-table discussion Turkish Parliamentarianism and Russian-Turkish Relations at the international relations university MGIMO under the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The main crisis in Russian-Turkish relations followed a specific incident - the downing of Russia’s Sukhoi-24 military plane over Syria," the expert acknowledged. "But in reality the crisis is far deeper and it stems from the gap in relations between the two countries in the sphere of economics, culture and geopolitics. Crises erupt when there is a gap in such spheres."

"Points of interaction should have been developed more actively. Then it would have been much harder to downgrade relations," Avatkov said.

He presented a fundamental study written by a group of co-authors under his guidance, titled Foreign Policy Discourse of Leading Turkish Policy Actors (2010-2015).

The book contains analysis of Turkish political parties varying in their attitude to Russia.

Avatkov believes that thorough examination of these parties’ policies is crucial today as it has never been.

"If Russia wishes to conduct long-term policy towards Turkey, it should keep a close watch on political parties. This will make it possible to conduct a dialogue with them, being aware who you dialogue partner really is," Avatkov said.

Oriental affairs expert and journalist Yevgeny Primakov said that at the moment there was a "fundamental theme for discussion - that of our foreign policy and of how to shape it."

He recalled that Russia has always preferred to maintain relations with the existing authorities and never established contacts with the opposition in other countries.

"However, in Turkey’s case we have been able to see the usefulness of establishing contact with the opposition as well," he said. Primakov recalled that the leader of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, Salahattin Demirtas, paid a visit to Moscow last December.

"His talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov drew a painful response from the Turkish authorities," Primakov said.

He recalled that even despite the Sukhoi-24 incident "we have never severed relations with Turkey."

"It is a major partner, it is an industrialized, rich country and we sill share common interests, including those in the struggle with terrorism," Primakov said.

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