Moscow will lift all restrictions on Turkey imposed in the aftermath of shooting down a Russian jet when it violated Turkish airspace last November, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
In an interview with French daily Le Monde published Monday, Cavusoglu said: “Russia told us that they are going to lift all of them. We saw the first results in tourism. Russians have started to come back; they can come [to Turkey] freely without visa.”
He said a ministerial-level meeting and senior bureaucrats would review progress of the peace overtures.
Mevlut Cavusoglu had appeared to suggest Ankara could open up Incirlik to Russia, a move that could raise concern among Turkey’s NATO partners already using the base, including the United States.
But Cavusoglu, in comments broadcast live on television on Monday, denied such an interpretation of his words.
“We said that we could cooperate with Russia in the period ahead in the fight against ISIS… I did not make any comment referring to Russian planes coming to the Incirlik Air Base.”
We will cooperate with everyone who fights ISIS,” he told TRT Haber in Sunday’s remarks. “We have been doing this for quite a while, and we opened Incirlik Air Base for those who want to join the active fight against ISIS.
“Why not cooperate with Russia as well on these terms? ISIS is our common enemy, and we need to fight this enemy.”
Following Turkey’s shooting down a Russian fighter, Moscow imposed several embargoes ranging from the import of Turkish foods to Turkish construction firms.
Last week, the two countries restored ties again after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone.
Russia then decided to lift a ban on tourist flights to Turkey.
Cavusoglu also said Ankara had been in talks with Russia and Iran to discuss the future of Syria.
“Turkey still believes Syrians and the opposition do not want to accept [Bashar] Al-Assad. Assad used chemical weapons and barrel bombs to kill 500,000 people,” he said.