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Russia welcomes Turkey’s bid to discuss joint action against IS

August 11, 2016, 20:49 UTC+3
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MOSCOW, August 11. /TASS/. Moscow welcomes the statement by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who said Turkey was ready to discuss joint action with Russia against Islamic State (a terrorist group banned in Russia), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Tass on Thursday.

"Of course, we welcome it," the diplomat said commenting on Cavusoglu’s statement earlier on Thursday. "We have always proposed consolidating our efforts in fight against Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (also banned in Russia) not only to Americans, but to all others, in the region and outside it," Bogdanov added.

"Of course, Turkey is a very important partner, and if they tend to fell this way, we can only welcome what Cavusoglu says," he said. "I think this is the result of contacts we had with our Turkish partners at the summit level and at other levels," the diplomat said.

"I think this is a very important statement," said Bogdanov, who is also Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and Africa.

Ankara is ready to discuss the possibility of a joint operation with Russia in Syria against the Islamic State, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV television news channel on Thursday.

"Yes, the idea of a joint operation is still on table," the minister said replying to a query, adding that "despite a crisis in relations with Russia, Turkey at that time had continued calling for a mutual fight against IS".

"We all know where IS militants are located. We have always encouraged amassing joint operations against them," Cavusoglu said. "The Turkish Air Force will in the future take a more active part in operations against the Islamic State as part of the international coalition," he pledged.

The diplomat did mention problems with the use of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base by coalition planes as a result of the recent aborted coup, saying "they all have been solved now".

Relations between Moscow and Ankara soured after an F-16 fighter jet from the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Su-24M bomber on November 24, 2015, which was on an anti-terror mission over Syria. On Tuesday, August 9, Russian and Turkish presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan held their first talks, resetting relations after an 8-month freeze.

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