Suspicion of Turkish Diplomatic Overtures to Russia Unjustified - Ex-US Envoy

© AP Photo / Alexander ZemlianichenkoRussian President Vladimir Putin, left, welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Konstantin palace outside St.Petersburg, Russi
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Konstantin palace outside St.Petersburg, Russi - Sputnik International
Turkey’s recent outreach to Russia is a normal and proper step toward repairing diplomatic relations that the West should not look upon with suspicion, former US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited St. Petersburg on Tuesday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin after seven months of strained relations, a development which some experts and officials in the United States and Europe found alarming.

"The speculation over Turkey is unjustified if not ridiculous," Wilson said. "Turkey’s relationship with Russia had broken and that was the context of the outreach the Turks made to President Putin. That is normal and that is right."

Speculative comments that the US-Turkish relationship would be irreparably damaged because of Ankara’s diplomatic overtures to Moscow are incorrect, Wilson noted.

Long before the July 15 military coup attempt, he added, Ankara was developing a pragmatic approach to addressing a number of foreign policy problems, including those with Moscow.

"This is not some kind of big reorientation of Turkish policy with respect to Russia," Wilson said.

Erdogan's diplomacy with Russia, Wilson argued, does not constitute a zero-sum game vis-a-vis the United States any more than UK Prime Minister Theresa May trying to engage with the Russian leadership would.

On Tuesday, Erdogan and Putin agreed to develop bilateral ties, returning to the pre-crisis level of cooperation in trade, energy, defense, and other spheres.

From right: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Constantine Palace - Sputnik International
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A newly-established Russian-Turkish committee on Syria will hold its first meeting on Thursday, a spokesman for Erdogan said on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, suspicions about US involvement in the military coup have led to a rise in anti-US sentiment inside Turkey. The United States has so far denied Turkish appeals to extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara suspects of guiding the coup.

US Department of State spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said in a briefing on Tuesday that the United States is not concerned that Putin’s meeting with Erdogan might lead to a weakening of Washington’s relationship with Ankara.

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