Ties with Russia, Israel key in region


Economic and energy bilateral cooperation between Turkey and Russia will be reviewed for the normalization of relations, along with the incident of the downing of a Russian jet last November, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said on Tuesday.

Speaking on private news channel Haberturk, Albayrak said that Turkey looks positively to the development of its alliance with Russia in the normalization process.

After the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian jet for violating Turkish airspace over the Turkey-Syria border last November, relations between the two countries soured, until the issue seemed largely resolved on June 29 through a letter and in subsequent telephone calls between the leaders.

However, the two pilots who downed the Russian jet were arrested on July 19 over alleged links with the July 15 foiled coup in Turkey.

“Because Turkey and Russia are two countries in the region with close neighborly relations which built very important projects and developed cooperation together, a new era [in relations] will be conducive to more positive steps. We will continue to monitor this process,” Albayrak said.

“In terms of normalization of relations with Russia, I think that regional relations as well as economic and energy politics, bilateral cooperation and the ongoing process we are engaged in will be examined,” he added.

On the question of the normalization with Israel, Albayrak said it will be an important step for regional peace and especially for “the brothers” in Gaza.

“We are not only looking at the process from the position of meeting Turkey’s minimal conditions, we are also looking at the establishment of and contribution to regional peace. We hope that relations will continue in an open and sincere manner,” he said.

“We will not only look at the Palestinian issue, but will also look at the Middle Eastern issue. As long as the two countries contribute to solving these issues, the blood and tears of the region will diminish,” he said.

Albayrak also underlined his hope that such cooperation will add to global counterterrorism efforts.

“In Turkey, we will continue to work on these issues intensively as we did in the past. After the normalization deal with Israel is approved in parliament, we can then discuss a wide variety of issues with Israel, including economic, societal, and political and energy issues,” he said.

On the issue of the economic fallout from the coup attempt, Albayrak said that up to now, Turkey has reassured the markets through confidence-building measures.

“Turkey has never been a country to use repressive means in blocking the flow of capital. It has been a country that gives confidence and will continue to do so,” he added.

There are three important factors for Turkey’s current state in the short, middle and long term, according to Albayrak: money markets, financial policies and the political process.

“Turkey is strong in all of these three fields. The most important thing is to provide confidence. Turkey opened its markets two days after the coup attempt and its pessimistic period is over now,” he explained.