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MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. The contacts between Russia and Turkey will not be restored if Ankara’s position remains unchanged, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov has said in an interview with TASS.
Relations between Russia and Turkey have been locked in a spat over the downing of a Russian Su-24M bomber by the Turkish Air Force’s fighter jet on November 24.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin has named conditions for overcoming the crisis in bilateral relations: Turkey should offer an official apology for destroying the Russian bomber, compensate the damage and punish those guilty," Karlov reminded.
However, two months since the incident Russia has not heard any apologies of Ankara. "On the contrary, the Turkish leadership makes more and more bellicose statements against Russia," he said.
"We are accused without proof of violating the Turkish airspace and strikes against peaceful citizens in Syria," Karlov said. "In these conditions, I see no prospects of normalizing relations," the ambassador stressed.
The Russian-Turkish cooperation has been suspended and the contacts have been frozen not due to Russia’s fault, he reminded. "The future of bilateral relations fully depends on the Turkish side. If it does not change its position, the contacts frozen not due to our fault will not be restored," Karlov said.
According to the ambassador, Russian diplomats in Turkey do not feel any negative attitude towards them, but opinion polls show that some part of the country’s population perceives Russia with animosity.
"We do not feel any negative attitude towards us on the part of ordinary citizens," he said. "Nor do we encounter it in our contacts with the Turkish colleagues. During the conversations we traditionally maintain the professional, business-like approach."
The diplomat recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin had urged not to equate some part of the Turkish leadership and the people of the country. "There are people in the Turkish society who support our view on developments in Syria and in the region. We indeed have plenty of reliable and good friends here," he went on to say. "I am sure that this friendship cannot be destroyed by any propaganda efforts."
Karlov admitted though that the Turkish media were becoming increasingly critical of Russia. "Some surveys have shown that our country is perceived by more and more Turkish people as an enemy," he said.
According to the diplomat, in this situation one of the tasks of Russia’s Embassy in Turkey is to clarify Russia’s stance to the public, business and political circles in the country. "Very often Turkish citizens may not have another source of undistorted information on Russia’s approaches," he said.
The ambassador pointed out that no complaints from Russian nationals about pressure from the Turkish authorities come to the Russian Embassy in Ankara amid souring relations between the two countries.
"We have no complaints from our fellow countrymen, and most often they are countrywomen, about some pressure from the Turkish side," Andrei Karlov said.
However, the situation of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs doing business with Russia worsened, the ambassador noted, adding that about 100,000 Russians currently lived in Turkey.