10:27 GMT +323 September 2019
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hand with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) during a press conference on October 10, 2016 in Istanbul

    Turkey Seeks Cooperation With 'Friendly' and 'Reliable' Russia, Rather Than West

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    Moscow and Ankara are planning to intensify contacts in the military and intelligence fields. In an interview with Sputnik, retired Lieutenant-General of the Turkish Air Force, Erdogan Karakush, said that such cooperation requires friendly relations between the countries which is why Turkey wants Russia to be its partner.

    In particular, Turkey is interested in the creation of its own missile defense system, Karakush said. However, there are no reliable partners among Western countries, which is why Turkey prefers to work with Russia.

    "Turkey is interested in the creation of a national missile defense system, but doesn't possess the necessary technology. A number of Western countries offered Turkey cooperation in this field, however, since such a project requires a certain level of friendship and reliability, it doesn't see any reliable partner that can be trusted among Western countries. By creating its own missile defense system, Turkey prefers to work with Russia. Taking into account the Turkish territory, it needs about 14-15 anti-aircraft batteries to ensure the safety of the whole country," Karakush said.

    The expert also noted that active interaction with Russia will provide the necessary groundwork for the settlement of acute regional problems in the sphere of defense and security, in particular, the Syrian crisis.

    "Neither Russia, nor Turkey want the Arab Republic to collapse because this could pose a threat to both countries," Karakush stressed.

    Unfortunately, the confrontation between Ankara and Damascus is still ongoing, the expert noted. However, with the help of Russia, both countries could find a common approach to the settlement of the Syrian issue.

    "Of course, the West is interested in Syria's division. Only Russia-Turkey cooperation could prevent the implementation of this scenario. Obviously, Ankara started to better understand it and, therefore, Turkey will make more efforts to improve relations with Russia," the expert concluded.

    Ties between Moscow and Ankara soured after Russia launched a military campaign in Syria a year ago. The culmination came when a Turkish jet shot down a Russian bomber over Syria in November.

    Over the last six months, Moscow and Ankara have been working to normalize their ties. The Turkish government apologized to the Kremlin for the downed jet. The normalization was intensified by a failed attempted coup in Turkey in July.

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    cooperation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Turkey, Russia
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