Speaking to Sputnik Turkey in the aftermath of the meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents in St. Petersburg last week, Kucukcan provided the news agency with an extensive commentary on the main directions in the process of the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations.
According to the lawmaker, Russian-Turkish cooperation must be directed toward three main areas – energy, the economy, and the crisis in Syria. The official said that he was confident in significant opportunities for convergence on the Syrian question, since the continuation of the conflict in the country is a source of significant damage to both parties' interests.
The politician also noted that Russia's principled position during the Turkish coup attempt last month was another element driving rapprochement."During the attempted military coup, Turkey's traditional allies – the West and NATO, did not provide us with sufficient support. In this regard the greatest assistance and psychological support was provided from Mr. Putin. Turkey's leadership, in turn, highly appreciated this gesture by the Russian side."
"I think it's necessary to stress the importance of the support provided to Turkey by Russia during the coup attempt on the further rapprochement between our two countries. At first glance it may seem only symbolic, but sometimes symbolic gestures and demonstrations of goodwill can play a key role in promoting bilateral relations."
On the Syrian question specifically, the politician admitted that at present, this issue is now the most problematic point in bilateral relations between Moscow and Ankara. "What will be the Syrian policy of the two countries? Here we have two things bringing us together which can allow Turkey and Russia to reach an agreement. First, this is the territorial integrity of Syria, the desire to prevent the dismemberment of the country. The second point on which Turkey and Russia are in agreement is the fight against terrorism."
"Both countries seek to prevent terrorists operating in the region from attempting to fill the geopolitical vacuum in the country, because this upsets the balance of forces in the region, and stability…Therefore, looking at the situation from these two positions, it becomes clear that Turkey and Russia have common ground for reaching agreement on the Syrian issue."
Kucukcan suggested that he has every confidence that follow-up meetings, contacts and negotiations between the two sides will lead to the strengthening of this common ground, "and discussions of concrete and practical steps in this direction."
Nevertheless, Kucukcan emphasized the both Moscow and Ankara have to work to resolve the conflict as quickly as possible, since the proliferation of the crisis carries "very serious risks" for both countries. "Why is this the case? For Turkey, first and foremost, this is the risk associated with a new wave of refugees. From the Russian point of view, the risk is being drawn into a long and protracted war, without prospects for exit, and with enormous costs."
Ultimately, the politician said that he is confident that Russia wants a resolution to the Syrian crisis as soon as possible, "to be able to direct the energy that it spends in Syria elsewhere. Therefore, it seems to me that Turkey and Russia will reach agreement on Syria in the end, since the continuation of this conflict is detrimental to both countries. The path out of the crisis is sure to be found, even if the process of the search is not easy."