By Hakan Ceyhan Akdogan
MOSCOW (AA) – Russia has asked Turkey to take the first step in efforts to normalize ties between the two countries.
Addressing a press briefing in Moscow Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “No working group can tackle the question between Turkey and Russia unless Turkey takes step first.”
About his Turkish counterpart’s offer to create a working group to resolve issues between both sides, Peskov said: “The move to sort out trouble should come from Turkey, as Russian president put it in Athens Sunday as well.”
During his recent official visit to Athens, Putin said: “In this issue we have some remarks from Turkey, but the apology didn’t come through at all. We are willing to mend relations with Turkey.
“We didn’t break [ties]. Words are not enough. Nothing comes but we are in communication with Turkish authorities. There are many ways to stay in touch. We expect Turkey to step further in this matter, yet no concrete move seen.”
Following Putin’s call for action, Turkish foreign minister said Sunday: “We respond to Putin’s call, and say, let’s come and do a group working together. They should discuss the matter about what kind of actions to take whether official or non official, we will consider the Russian concerns and find the mutual way.”
Turkey and Russia for years have had different policies on Syria and Ukraine.Turkey did not recognize the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s autonomous republic of Crimea in 2014 and has repeatedly accused Moscow of supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.
Relations between the two countries hit a new low on November 2015, when Turkish jets downed a Sukhoi-24M bomber in Syrian border for violating its airspace.
*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Ahmet Sait Akcay contributed to the report from Ankara.