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Iran Press TV

Turkey: Russia ties to be mended shortly

Iran Press TV

Mon May 30, 2016 11:58AM

A senior Turkish official says his country and Russia do not have any insurmountable issues, and that sour relations between the two sides would be mended in a "short while."

"Neither Russia nor Turkey can afford to sacrifice their relationship with each other," Numan Kurtulmus, a deputy prime minister and the government's official spokesman, said on Monday.

"I wish such tensions had never emerged, but I believe that Turkish-Russian ties can be fixed in a short while," he added.

Kurtulmus said Turkey and Russia have no problems that cannot be overcome.

Ties between the two countries strained last November after Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft over Syrian skies, saying the fighter jet had repeatedly violated the Turkish airspace.

Kurtulmus's conciliatory remarks came even as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Russia of providing anti-aircraft weaponry and rockets to militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Erdogan accused Moscow of transferring weaponry to the PKK via Iraq and Syria, the pro-government Star newspaper said.

"At this moment, terrorists are using anti-aircraft guns and missiles supplied by Russia. The separatist terrorist organization is equipped with these weapons. They have been transferred to them via Syria and Iraq," the newspaper reported Erdogan as saying.

The latest comments appear to be the first time he has accused Moscow of supplying arms to the PKK.

Turkey-Israel relations

Kurtulmus also touched on Ankara's relations with Israel, saying officials from the two sides were holding more meetings to discuss a normalization.

Israel and Turkey were traditionally close allies but they came to loggerheads after Israel attacked a Turkish ship in an aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip in May 2010 and killed 10 Turkish citizens.

Kurtulmus said two out of Ankara's three conditions for reviving ties have been met.

Last month, Ankara said Turkey and Israel had made progress towards the conclusion of an agreement aimed at ending a six-year freeze in their relations.

Ankara is suspected of actively training and arming Daesh militants operating inside Syria and buying smuggled oil from them.

Israel has set up hospitals near the border with Syria to treat militants injured in the fighting with Syrian troops.

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