Turkey suggests cooperation with Russia in fighting IS

Turkey suggests cooperation with Russia in fighting IS
The Turkish foreign minister on Monday suggested his country should cooperate with Russia in the fight against IS, a week after Ankara and Moscow began normalising relations.
2 min read
05 July, 2016
Turkey will cooperate with everyone who fights IS, said Mevlut Cavusoglu [Anadolu]
Turkey on Monday suggested the possibility of cooperating with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria, in comments made by the country's foreign minister.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country should cooperate with Moscow in fighting IS, but denied reports that Turkey was willing to open up its Incirlik air base for Russian use, in televised comments Monday.

"We said that we could cooperate with Russia in the period ahead in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State)...I did not make any comment referring to Russian planes coming to the Incirlik Air Base," Cavusoglu said.

Incirlik hosts aircraft from the United States, Germany, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar involved in the US-led coalition against IS in Syria and Iraq.

"We will cooperate with everyone who fights Daesh," the foreign minister had told Turkish state TV on Sunday. "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 Daesh."

"Why not cooperate with Russia as well on these terms? Daesh is our common enemy, and we need to fight this enemy."

Relations between Ankara and Moscow soured after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet in November, prompting Russia to impose trade and travel sanctions.

However, Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan last week apologised for the incident in a bid to ease escalating tensions.

The apology was sent via a direct message to President Vladimir Putin, expressing Erdogan's "sympathy and deep condolences" to the family of the fallen pilot.

"The letter states, in particular, that Russia is a friend to Turkey and a strategic partner, with which the Turkish authorities would not wish to spoil relations," Russian government spokesman Dimitry Peskov said.

The Russian leader responded by announcing that Moscow's ban on charter flights and package tours to Turkey would be lifted and noted the government is considering ending an embargo on a selection of Turkish food products.

"I'm asking that the Russian government begin the process of normalising general trade and economic ties with Turkey," Putin told government ministers in televised comments.

Turkey last week suffered a fatal IS attack that over 40 people dead when triple suicide bombings rocked Istanbul's international airport.

The country has suffered a string of attacks by both IS and Kurdish militants in recent months.