03:05 GMT25 November 2020
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    Ahead of a possible visit of Russian President Putin to Turkey, Turkish politicians tell Sputnik what changes Ankara should make in its foreign policy to be able to normalize its relationship with Moscow and, more essentially, what countries it should cooperate with in the first place.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Wednesday that Moscow "does not rule out" that President Putin might visit Turkey in October.

    "When all the preparatory measures are finalized we will make the respective announcement," said the Press Secretary for the Russian President.

    Earlier on Wednesday, the President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu aslo said that the Russian leader is expected to pay an official visit to Turkey in October.

    His announcement came after Hisacıklıoglu and Turkish businessmen met with Russia's First Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Alexei Likhachev, in Moscow.

    Hisacıklıoglu said that Vladimir Putin's visit would focus on a number of issues including the Turkish Stream, and the restoration of business ties between Turkey and Russia through lifting some restrictions imposed on Turkish businessmen following last November's jet downing crisis.

    Turkey Needs to 'Make U-Turn in Its Foreign Policy, Cooperate With Iran, Iraq'

    Meanwhile Kemal Kılıcdaroglu, the chairman of the main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP) said what changes his home country should make in its foreign policy in order to normalize its relationship with Russia.

    Speaking at a meeting with representatives of foreign media institutions in Istanbul on Friday, Kılıcdaroglu said that there have already been some certain changes in Turkey's foreign policy and, first of all, it is normalization of its relationship with Russia.

    The Turkish politician also noted that there is some certain progress in the relationship with the Syrian leadership, which Ankara has recently established contacts with using different countries as intermediaries.

    However he noted that the Turkish officials should make a U-turn in the country's foreign policy and establish relations with Iran and Iraq.

    Besides, it should give the EU all the guarantees of its further adherence to the democratic principles and respect towards human rights and freedoms.

    Answering the questions of the of Sputnik correspondent, Kemal Kılıcdaroglu said that he thinks it was an erroneous decision of the Turkish leadership to launch its Euphrates Shield invasion into Syrian territory.

    "All of us know that the acting Turkish government is rendering support to the al-Nusra militants," he told the Sputnik correspondent.

    "The whole world knows about it. President Erdogan has made announcements about the support of al-Nusra militants in its fight against Daesh. The international community is now aware of Turkey's arms supplies to Syria."

    The Turkish politician further said that al-Nusra militants form part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which enjoys Ankara's support.

    The command center of the FSA was once located on Turkish territory.

    "The deputies of our party once wanted to visit their camp in Hatay province but they were not allowed to because the training of the armed militants was ongoing. This is the truth which was reflected in the protocols of the parliamentary meetings," he told the Sputnik correspondent.

    When the correspondent asked if there is any potential threat that radical Islam would gain ground in Turkey, Kemal Kılıcdaroglu noted that Wahabiite sentiments are gaining momentum in his home country.

    "It's a well-known fact that after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, it has been actively exploiting the religious rhetoric for its own purposes and portraying Islam as a doctrine based on enmity, aggression and striving for revenge," the politician told the Sputnik correspondent.

    He further said that the AKP government forces the country's population to forget about the bright, humane teachings of the Muslim religion, such as love for one’s neighbor, tolerance, as well as respect towards the values of other religious movements and confessions.

    "The AKP is imposing its strategy of political Islam where Wahabiism is playing the leading role," the politician said.

    Commenting on the situation in Syria, Kemal Kılıcdaroglu stressed the importance of a political dialogue with the Syrian government for the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

    "To be able to settle the Syrian crisis, the major players in the region should establish a dialogue with President Assad. If Turkey, Iran, Russia, the US and the Syrian authorities insisted on the need to protect Syria's territorial integrity, they should unite their efforts at the negotiation table to be able to find an effective solution to the crisis," he said.

    Russia and the US understand that it is impossible to reach peace in Syria by isolating Assad from the negotiation process, he said. Now Turkey should understand this as well.

    Only the Syrian people should decide who should be the head of their home country, the politician said.

    "We are advocating taking immediate steps to end the bloodshed and restore peace and stability in Syria, either with or without Assad. And urge the international community to make due contributions to be able to achieve this goal," he concluded.

    Commenting on the situation in Syria, former Turkish diplomat and former ambassador to the US Faruk Logoglu noted that the Russian authorities repeatedly said that Turkey should carry out its military operation in Syria in accordance with the norms of the international law,

    "It means that before launching its military operation, Ankara should have obtained either the respective decision of the UN Security Council or the consent of the Syrian leadership," he told Sputnik.

    However Turkey claims that in conditions of the increasing terrorist threat from Daesh it has exercised its right for the self-defense, he said.

    "I think that such operations should be stopped.  Syria desperately needs the cessation of the military actions and the ceasefire," the former diplomat said.

    Turkey, Russia and the US should make every effort to restore the peace talks set forth by the Geneva agreements.

    Syria needs peace and no additional fighting, Faruk Logoglu noted.

    "That is why I think it is an erroneous strategy to seek any military advantage in Syria. It is only too evident that it does not bring any constructive results. It will not end the war.  Therefore the emphasis should be put on the diplomatic settlement of the crisis," he explained.

    The former diplomat added that the ceasefire agreement reached by Russia and the US was a vital step in the process, however it abruptly failed.

    The situation on the ground has recently deteriorated and it is practically impossible to deliver any humanitarian aid.

    "Thus it is very important to focus the attention on the diplomatic efforts. I hope that during Vladimir Putin's trip to Turkey Moscow and Ankara will be able to work out certain ways of reaching ceasefire in Syria and settling the Syrian crisis," Faruk Logoglu finally stated.


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    Syrian ceasefire, cessation of hostilities, Syrian conflict, Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP), Turkish Justice and Development Party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Bashar Assad, Osman Faruk Logoglu, Turkey, Syria, Russia, Ankara
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