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    Turkish-Russian Ties to Deepen Amid Improving Relations - Deputy Prime Minister

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    Turkey remains committed to improving regional cooperation with Russia as relations between the two countries continue to warm, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told Sputnik on Monday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — Russian-Turkish relations deteriorated after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 bomber in late 2015. Moscow demanded that Ankara should apologize for downing the aircraft and cover any associated material losses to the country and the pilot's family. Reconciliation efforts began in late June following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's apology for the incident.

    "It was a very serious political crisis, which we have experienced together. In that difficult period, Mr. President [Erdogan], as well as your humble servant repeatedly said that neither Russia nor Turkey would abandon mutual dialogue and ties. Our history, prospects of our relations prove it. It can be said with certainty that our cooperation with Russia will continue to deepen and develop at a regional level, our relations will soon reach a new level," Kurtulmus said.

    At the same time, Turkey's growing spate with the European Union does not mean it is changing its diplomatic bearings or ending cooperation with any of its partners, he added, stressing that Turkey's foreign policy is multifaceted and has many vectors.

    "We have recently seen untrue statements regarding Turkey allegedly changing its direction. No, Turkey is not changing its direction. Turkey has just one direction, and it is tied to the national interests of the state. In following this direction, Turkey is carrying out a policy of cooperating and collaborating with all regions," Kurtulmus said.

    Turkey's accession process to the European Union has been placed under increasing strain as the country continues to fall short of implementing the necessary standards of public administration, freedom of press and legislation. On November 9, the European Commission published the annual Turkey 2016 Report, stressing that Turkey's efforts at achieving compliance with EU legislative standards were insufficient.


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