Russian FM Blasts Turkish Nationalists for War Rhetoric on Syria

Maria Zakharova, official spokesperson for the RF Foreign Ministry
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MOSCOW – Russia considers unacceptable the use of tragic events in the Syrian province of Idlib by Turkish politicians for provocative comments on this matter. Such statements do not contribute to a settlement in Syria, according to a comment by the Russian Foreign Ministry distributed today, February 13.

“We were perplexed by the statements of the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party Devlet Bahceli on February 11 at the meeting of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (Parliament),” the Russian Foreign Ministry noted. “  Bahceli tried to hold Russia and the Syrian government responsible for the deaths of Turkish troops in Syria , and called on his country’s leadership to radically revise Russian-Turkish relations.”

Given the tense situation in northwestern Syria, one should show restraint and all the more refrain from provocative comments, which by no means contribute to a constructive dialogue between our countries on the issues of Syrian settlement, the ministry said. “We consider it unacceptable to use tragic events in an attempt to” score points “in an internal political debate,” added the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The leader of the Turkish Nationalist Party, Devlet Bahceli, is currently an internal political ally of the Turkish president and chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan .

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On February 12, Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Turkey Erdogan. Discussions continued on various aspects of the settlement of the Syrian crisis, primarily in the context of the aggravation of the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone , the Kremlin’s press service said. The importance of the full implementation of the existing Russian-Turkish agreements, including the Sochi Memorandum of September 17, 2018, was noted. For these purposes, it was agreed to conduct additional contacts through the relevant departments.

“We discussed the situation in Idlib, in particular, the consequences of the actions of the Turkish military, the forces of the regime (Bashar) of Assad and Russia. A decision was made to hold meetings between the Turkish and Russian military in Turkey, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and intelligence of the two countries in Moscow. Meetings will be organized in the very near future, ”the Turkish leader said after a telephone conversation.

The Russian delegation, who came to Ankara to discuss, at the request of Turkish partners, an end to the offensive of the Syrian government forces in Idlib province, left Turkey earlier this week without reaching an agreement. Representatives of Russia arrived in Ankara on Saturday, February 8, a few days after eight Turkish troops died as a result of shelling by the Syrian government forces. Last Monday, when representatives of Turkey and Russia were negotiating in Ankara, a second incident occurred in Idlib, which killed another five Turkish soldiers.

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