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Moscow calls for constructive work on Syria with Ankara

July 21, 2016, 16:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The problem issues include supporting militants, transparency of the Turkish-Syrian border

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A view of the Syrian city of Homs

A view of the Syrian city of Homs

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. Disagreements with Turkey on the Syrian settlement have not disappeared, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"The problem issues that we notified UN Security Council about include supporting militants, transparency of the Turkish-Syrian border. They have not disappeared, they remain on the agenda," Zakharova said.

Talking about how normalization of relations between Moscow and Ankara will affect Turkey’s position on Syria, the diplomat said Russia is doing everything possible "to talk with Turkish colleagues about the importance of working together at international platforms, especially in the framework of Syria Support Group."

"We will continue convincing Turkey that constructive work on Syrian settlement is necessary," she concluded.

Punishment for those downing Russian bomber

Moscow hopes that Ankara will meet the request for the most severe punishment for those responsible for Russian pilots' death.

"From the very beginning, we raised this issue before the Turkish side, emphasizing the need of a comprehensive and very serious investigation into that tragedy in the skies over Syria in November 2015," the diplomat said. "We proceed on the basis that Ankara, especially since constructive changes have occurred in the bilateral relations, will fully meet the Russian side’s repeated request," the diplomat said.

"It’s a very important question for us, a priority," Zakharova said. According to her, the people who participated in that events and who caused or were directly responsible for the death of the Russian military serviceman, should suffer most severe punishment. This issue remains and it is a priority for us," she said.

On Tuesday, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag confirmed the arrest of two pilots that downed Russia’s Su-24 jet in November 2015 in Syria, Haberturk TV channel reported. "The pilots that downed the Russian jet were arrested," the TV channel quoted Bozdag as saying.

Moscow urges Turkey to remain committed to human rights observance

Moscow urges Turkey to act within the legal framework and observe human rights as regards those involved in the recent military coup attempt in Turkey, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday, commenting on the Turkish prime minister’s statement on the suspension of the European Convention on Human Rights.

According to her, the processes underway in Turkey after the failed coup attempt "are forced," she said.

According to Zakharova, with all the understanding of the events that have taken place in Turkey "human rights is a priority thing, it is necessary to remain committed to the human rights observance issues."

Order to normalize relations with Turkey being implemented

The spokeswoman has stressed that  the order of the Russian president to normalize relations between Moscow and Ankara is being actively implemented.

"We maintain contacts with Turkish colleagues between the foreign ministries. A meeting at the level of deputy foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey was recently held. The presidential order to normalize relations with Turkey is being implemented," Zakharova said.

On June 27, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, told reporters Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent Russian President Vladimir Putin a message in which he apologized for the downed Su-24 plane and "underscored the readiness to do everything possible for restoration of the traditionally friendly relations between Turkey and Russia."

On June 29, the presidents had a telephone conversation - first in the past seven months, where they agreed to consider a meeting. After the conversation, Putin ordered the government to begin discussions with Ankara for resuming cooperation in trade and other spheres.

The Turkish Air Force’s F-16 fighter on November 24, 2015 shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, involved in Russia's antiterrorism operation in Syria, that Ankara claimed violated the country’s airspace on the border with Syria.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the Su-24M was above Syrian territory and "there was no violation of Turkey’s airspace." Pilot Oleg Peshkov was killed by militants from the ground after ejecting, the second pilot was rescued and taken to the Russian base. The incident resulted in the severing of nearly all trade and economic ties between the two countries. Ankara refused to apologize for the downed jet and death of the pilot. Moscow put the blame for the incident on the Turkish authorities.

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