10:19 GMT29 May 2020
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    On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched the process of restoring economic ties between their countries. In an interview with Sputnik, Mert Bilgin, Professor of International Relations at Istanbul Medipol University, commented on the new developments in relations between the two countries.

    Recently, Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart held their first phone conversation since Turkey downed Russian fighter jet in November. The two leaders also agreed that they would explore the possibility of holding a meeting in the nearest future.

    According to Bilgin, the normalization of bilateral relations would be beneficial for both countries.

    "Turkey is a NATO country which has pretty good relations with Russia. And this is unique. And this is also what Russia needs — good established relations with a neighboring NATO country," Bilgin told Sputnik.

    At the same time, the expert stressed that the Turkish leadership is likely to turn to Russia for expertise on many issues, in particular in the field of anti-terrorism measures.

    "Turkey will look for the support of Russia in terms of helming this terrorism issue, because it is not only about terrorism against Turkey, it is about terrorism against all the people in the whole world. So this is why most countries have to establish long-term mutual relations in order to cope with these problems," the expert said.

    Although the problems in relations between the two countries are unlikely to be solved in just a few days, the reconciliation prospects look quite promising.

    Many experts believe that rapprochement between Moscow and Ankara will have a positive effect on the domestic situation in Turkey, in particular in economic terms. However, Bilgin believes that the normalization is not only about the economy or tourism, but rather about friendly relations between residents of the two countries.

    "It is not only about tourism, it is not only about gas, it is also about relations between the peoples," he stated.

    Relations between the two deteriorated after a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber in November 2015 while the latter was on an anti-terror mission in Syria. Back then Ankara claimed that the Russian bomber had violated Turkish airspace. Following the incident, Moscow imposed a number of restrictive measures on Turkey in response to what Russian President Vladimir Putin decried as a "stab in the back." The normalization of relations between the two countries after earlier this week Erdogan sent to Moscow a letter with apologies for the incident.


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