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Turkish foreign minister: Meeting with Lavrov to start direct dialogue with Russia

June 30, 17:37 UTC+3 ANKARA
Mevlut Cavusoglu will arrive in the southern Russian resort of Sochi on July 1 to take part in a ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)
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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

© EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

ANKARA, June 30. /TASS/. The process of normalization of relations and formation of a base for direct dialogue has started between Turkey and Russia, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the NTV television channel.

"Thanks to reciprocal steps, a conversation between the leaders of our countries, normalization started. Direct dialogue with Russia is starting tomorrow. I hope we will discuss, in a sincere atmosphere, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov both bilateral relations and regional issues," Cavusoglu said.

Cavusoglu will arrive in the southern Russian resort of Sochi on July 1 to take part in a ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), within the framework of which the Russian foreign minister is expected to meet with his Turkish counterpart.

Speaking of regional problems, he said he plans to continue dialogue with Russia on Syrian problems. "Earlier, even with the presence of differences on Syrian issues, we never interrupted dialogue with Russia and made efforts to make our different views closer," he said. "It will be like that in the future as well."

The minister recalled that Turkey holds an active position on a number of issues connected with the crisis in Syria, in the context of work of the international coalition and the "group of friends" of Syria.

"We have always said Russia and Iran should play an important role in the search for a permanent solution to the Syrian crisis and should be certainly involved in that process. The position has not changed," Cavusoglu said.

On Monday, June 27, Peskov told journalists that President 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."

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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