Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   19 July

Russian-Turkish contradictions intensify: Ankara steps back from the content of letter addressed to Putin

YEREVAN, JUNE 28, ARMENPRESS. It seemed that Erdogan’s June 27 letter addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin would contribute to the restoration of the Russian-Turkish relations which were worsened over the Russian jet downed by the Turkish side. However, the announcements of the Turkish officials and the new findings on the content of the message move the development of the events into a completely different direction.

The reconciliation signs of the Russian-Turkish relations started to vanish when one after another official Ankara refused its own announcements.

On June 27 official Kremlin published Erdogan’s message addressed to Putin where he expressed his deep regret over the downed Russian jet. In the message he said Russia is Turkey’s friend and strategic partner with which the Turkish authorities would not like to worsen relations. “We never had a desire or a deliberate intention to down an aircraft belonging to Russia”, Erdogan said. Erdogan’s letter stressed that “the Turkish side undertook all the risks and made a great effort to recover the body of the Russian pilot from the Syrian opposition, bringing it to Turkey. “I want to once again express my deep condolences to the relatives of the deceased Russian pilot and say ‘sorry’. I whole-heartedly share their pain. For the alleviation of pain, we are ready for every initiative”, Erdogan said.  

It is important to state that Erdogan’s message was published only in the Kremlin website, whereas there was no publication on it in the Turkish Presidential website. The same day Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in an interview to one of the Turkish channels spoke about the Russian-Turkish relations and Erdogan’s letter: “The content of the letter is very clear. We express our regret. We say that we are sharing the pain felt by those who lost loved ones. We say that we will pay compensation, if needed. These relations must be restored”, Yildirim said. He also informed that Putin and Erdogan will soon hold a phone conversation.

After Yildirim’s announcement, on June 28 Russian President’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Putin-Erdogan phone talk will be held on June 29 by the initiative of the Russian side. At the same time Peskov highlighted that the Turkish President’s apology is a very important step.

Shortly after this announcement, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim rejected his own words and announced that Turkey will not compensate to Russia. “There cannot be any talk over paying compensation to Russia, we have only expressed our regret”, he said.

This announcement was followed by another strange “discovery” by “Anadolu” news agency: the media citing its sources in the Turkish Presidential administration, released that the word “apology” did not exist in Erdogan’s letter addressed to Putin.

Such developments show that in the nearest future it is early to wait for positive progress in the Russian-Turkish relations. Turkey immediately refrained from its step aimed at normalizing relations with Russia. Moreover, official Ankara actually announced that the message published by Kremlin contains false information and refused from the use of the word “apology” in the message which was very important for the Russian side. It will not be a surprise if the Russian President will refuse to hold a telephone talk with Erdogan. Thus, the tension within the Russian-Turkish relations is becoming deeper, and the further developments promise to be more turning and unpredictable.

Araks Kasyan

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