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Lukashenko asks Russia, Turkey to "make at least half-step towards each other"

December 12, 2015, 13:11 UTC+3 ASHGABAT
"It is important to overcome any forcing of tension and to find opportunities to make at least half-step towards each other."
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© Viktor Drachev/TASS

ASHGABAT, December 12. /TASS/. Russia and Turkey should overcome somehow "the forcing of tension" and make at least half-step towards each other to restore good relations between the countries, Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko said during an international conference devoted to Turkmenistan’s 20th anniversary of neutrality.

"Mistakes in this unquiet sea are only unavoidable, and they should be not forced but overcome," he said on Saturday. "This is also applicable to the recent conflict between our Russia and our friendly Turkey."

"It is important to overcome any forcing of tension and to find opportunities to make at least half-step towards each other."

"Thus, the problem may be settled, and it would be possible to restore the kind, close relations, which were between those peoples and countries, and which are bound to be," the Belarusian president added.

Relations between Russia and Turkey hit a low when on November 24 the Turkish Air Force’s fighter jet shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber. Ankara claims the Su-24M bomber violated the Turkish air space in the area of the border with Syria. However, Russia’s Defence Ministry has said the Su-24M plane stayed exclusively over the Syrian territory and "there was no violation of the Turkish air space."

The crew of the Su-24M bomber managed to eject but one of the pilots was killed by gunfire from the ground. The second pilot was rescued and taken to the Russian air base.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Turkey’s attack will have "serious consequences" for the two countries’ relations. Putin said Ankara’s attack against the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 plane, which took part in Russia’s antiterrorism operation in Syria and did not present a threat to Turkey, was a "stab in Russia’s back" delivered by terrorists’ accomplices.

On November 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on measures to ensure Russia’s national security and to protect its citizens from criminal and other illegal activities and to impose special economic measures against Turkey. In line with the decree, the Russian tour agencies and tour operators were instructed to suspend selling tours to Turkey and the government imposed a ban on chartered flights between the two countries. Also, Russia suspended employment of Turkish workers starting from January 1, 2016, imposed bans or restrictions on imports of certain goods and tightened control over activities of Turkish haulage companies.

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