Turkish PM reiterates Turkey is ready for talks with Russia

Turkish PM Davutoglu says Ankara is open to communicate with Russia but not open to ‘dictation’

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaking at a meeting organised by Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board, Istanbul, December 19, 2015.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday said Turkey is open to hold talks with Moscow to resolve the recent political crisis, but Turkey will not take orders from Russia.

“We are ready to talk to Russia and to exchange every type of opinion,” Davutoglu said, during a meeting organised by Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in Istanbul.

“But we will never allow it [Russia] to dictate anything to us,” he added.

Davutoglu also criticised Moscow's unilateral economic sanctions it imposed on the country after Turkey downed a Russian plane over an airspace violation.

“We should not allow our relations to be destroyed over economic sanctions while we have been exerting efforts to resolve this political crisis with Russia,” the Turkish prime minister stated. 

He said Putin's recent attitude against Turkey “did not suit a statesman." 

Davutoglu’s comments were in response to Putin’s remarks on Thursday. During a press conference in Moscow, the Russian president said he did not see any chance of ties improving with Ankara, as he accused the Turkish government of “Islamizing Turkey” and working with DAESH over oil trade in Syria. 

"Didn't Mr. Putin know that we are a Muslim country, a month ago? When he met with our president at the G20 summit in Antalya a month ago, didn't he know about Turkey's foreign policy? If Turkey was cooperating with DAESH [as he claimed], why wouldn't he mention it at that time?" he said.

Tensions have been high between the two nations since Turkey downed a Russian military jet last month for violating its airspace.

Russia, the main ally of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, has denied that its jet violated Turkish airspace, claiming that it was shot down over Syria, where Moscow has been undertaking a campaign of air strikes in support of Assad.  

During his speech, Davutoglu also mentioned the importance of a legitimate government in Syria. 

“A solution to the crisis in Syria is possible when Assad hands over his governance to a legitimate administration," he said. 

"It is not possible that an initiative stipulating the continuation of an administration, which has completely lost its legitimacy, bring peace and stability to Syria.”

Amid strains with Russia, the prime minister also said he was planning to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and at the top of his agenda will be Crimean Tatars.

“We did not recognize Russia’s occupation of [Ukrainian region] Crimea and we will not," Davutoglu said.

Last year, Russia had annexed Crimea in a referendum condemned by the Ukrainian government and the international community.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian lawmaker Mustafa Dzhemilev said Russia has stepped up persecution of Turks living in Crimea since the downing of a Russian jet.

TRTWorld and agencies