Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his apologies to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the death of a Russian pilot of the downed Su-24 bomber.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he restoration of relations between Russia and Turkey, which have soured following the downing of a Russian warplane by Ankara in November last year, benefits both countries, but the process will take time.
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his apologies to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the death of a Russian pilot of the downed Su-24 bomber. Putin had called the incident a “stab in the back.”
On Wednesday, Putin had a phone conversation with Erdogan, the first in nearly seven months since the incident, signaling acceptance of Turkey’s apologies.
Azhdar Kurtov, chief editor of the National Strategy Issues journal and an expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies , believed that there were several reasons behind Turkey’s decision to apologize.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]F[/dropcap]irst and foremost, the interruption of economic relations with Russia has been very painful for the Turkish economy, and the country’s attempts to find other markets for its products, mainly its agricultural commodities which have been banned by Russia following the incident, have failed, he told Xinhua.
Second, Kurtov said, Turkey used to be one of the popular destinations for Russian holiday-makers, and hundreds of Turkish hotels owners have suffered great losses.
Additional losses were brought by Moscow’s decision to suspend the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey and the work on the Turkish stream natural gas pipeline, as well as to suspend licenses of Turkish companies involved in construction projects in Russia, the expert added.
Yet another reason which prompted Erdogan to apologize was the failure to reach some important goals he has set in his foreign policy, said Kurtov.
Erdogan has stopped receiving support in his spat with Russia from both the European Union (EU) and the United States, and has failed to persuade the EU to make Turkey a member of the bloc, which Kurtov said has seriously damaged Erdogan’s image even in countries that are Ankara’s allies within the NATO and other agreements.
“As a result, Turkey has found itself in an impasse and understood that stubbornness in defending its position will not lead to success, but will bring new losses,” he said.
Although noting that Russia and Turkey, two neighboring countries separated only by the Black Sea, should not live in acute confrontation, Kurtov did not expect an immediate U-turn of their relations in the near future.
It would start with Turkey meeting the initial Russian demands before the restoration process actually takes shape, he said.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]M[/dropcap]oscow has repeatedly said relations between the two countries could be restored only after Ankara apologized and provided compensation to Russia for the downed aircraft and to the family of the killed pilot Oleg Peshkov.
Such issues, according to the Kremlin statement about the phone conversation, have apparently not been discussed in detail.
Moreover, the two leaders emphasized the need to boost cooperation in the fight against the common threat of terrorism.
In Kurtov’s opinion, however, there is little chance of harmonizing the positions of Russia and Turkey on fighting terrorism, given that the positions of Moscow and Ankara differ greatly.
For one thing, the expert believed, Ankara labels Kurds as terrorists, yet Moscow does not. Moscow has slammed the Turkish government for aggressively waging war against the Kurdish population in southeastern Turkey.
Meanwhile, Russia has disclosed Erdogan’s involvement in illegal oil trade with the Islamic State terrorist group, which the Turkish side vehemently denied, he added.
Notes: Xinhua- (This story has not been edited by PGurus.com and is generated from a syndicated feed we subscribe to)
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