Turkey, Russia set up new committees to discuss Syria

– Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin says committees will meet for first time in Moscow Thursday

– Turkey and Russia have formed new committees to discuss the Syrian crisis, which will meet for the first time in Moscow on Thursday, Turkey’s presidential spokesman said Wednesday, reported Anadolu Agency.

In remarks made to the Turkish A Haber TV, Ibrahim Kalin said orders to set up new committees to tackle the Syrian crisis were issued following the meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg.

“The presidents [of Russia and Turkey] gave an order yesterday [Tuesday] to set up again a trilateral mechanism, which would comprise of committees with representatives of intelligence, military and diplomatic representatives from each side.

“I think the committee will go to Moscow today [Wednesday] night. The first meeting will be tomorrow [Thursday],” Kalin said.

The spokesman said Turkey and Russia have opened a new chapter following the meeting between Erdogan and Putin in St. Petersburg.

Kalin said the shooting down of a Russian jet for violating Turkish airspace near the Turkey-Syria border last November had upset both countries.

“We have opened a new chapter. This unwelcome incident had upset us. It was said [on Tuesday that both countries would remain] in close cooperation for avoiding such incidents.

“In this context, our General Staff and Russian General Staff have set up a direct line again,” Kalin said.

He also said the Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov had also attended the meeting between Erdogan and Putin. “The chief of general staffs of our two countries are in very close cooperation.”

Erdogan and Putin met for the first time after the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian jet last November, which soured relations between the two countries until the issue was largely resolved on June 29, initiated by a letter and subsequent telephone calls between the countries’ leaders.

The two Turkish pilots who downed the Russian jet were arrested July 19 for alleged links to the coup attempt in Turkey.

Turkey-Russia relations were severed last year after Turkey shot down a Russian military jet as it violated Turkish airspace.

Relations between the two countries had remained soured until the issue seemed largely resolved June 29 through a letter and subsequent telephone calls between the countries’ leaders.

Putin gave his support to Turkey over the July 15 coup attempt and said he stood by the elected government, offering his condolences to the victims of the attempt.

On July 22, Russia also lifted restrictions on flights to Turkey, which had been implemented temporarily following the coup attempt, after Turkish officials assured their Russian counterparts that additional security measures were being taken.