Russian foreign minister visits Turkey to discuss regional problems

The meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in the southern city of Alanya comes following discussions between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the situation in Syria.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

During the meeting the counterparts discussed cooperation between their countries on security and solving regional issues in the Middle East and Black Sea regions, as well as visa liberalisation and further normalising relations.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during the fifth session of the Russia-Turkey strategic planning group on Thursday.

During the meeting the counterparts discussed cooperation between their countries on security and how to solve problems in the Middle East and Black Sea regions, as well as visa liberalisation and further normalising relations.

The talks come after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin held three phone conversations in the past week to discuss recent developments in the conflict in Syria and, specifically, the city of Aleppo.

Despite differences between Turkey and Russia in their attitudes towards the regime of Bashar al Assad, in the press conference following the meeting both ministers took a positive tone, expressing their belief that ties will continue to improve.

Referring to the deaths of three Turkish soldiers in Syria last week, Lavrov stated "Neither Russia nor Syria, its air force, had anything to do with this." 

They appeared to agree on the need for a ceasefire in Syria and allowing humanitarian aid into besieged areas of the country, with Cavusoglu saying, "we hope these efforts will provide stability and peace in Aleppo as well as Syria and everywhere else in the region."

Lavrov later added, "Humanitarian problems should be resolved in the nearest future."

"This will be in accordance with the International Syria Support Group and in accordance with the UN Security Council."

Aside from Syria, the two ministers discussed the situation in Iraq, Yemen, and Libya as well as the crisis in Ukraine and ongoing negotiations aimed at resolving the dispute between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot south.

Energy cooperation was also mentioned, with Lavrov saying they discussed "lifting any restrictions" on the energy sector and that the Turkish stream project, which is aimed at building a gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey, "is speeding up."

Cavusoglu also placed emphasis on the issue of visa-free travel between the two countries, which was suspended in the aftermath of the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey in November 2015. Lavrov gave a nod to this by saying "we have taken into consideration the decisions made on touristic issues."

Regarding the purpose of the talks, Cavusoglu said the aim was to "strengthen cooperation between Turkey and Russia in the region, not only for the benefit of the two countries, but all countries in the region."

On a lighter note, Lavrov thanked the people of Alanya for their hospitality, saying, "you understand why a lot of Russians have stayed here for a long time."

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies