ANKARA:-Turkey has urged Russia to conduct joint operations against Takfiri Daesh terrorists in Syria amid efforts by Ankara and Moscow to mend relations damaged by the downing of a Russian jet last year.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made the request in a live interview with the private NTV television on Thursday, AFP reported.
“We will discuss all the details. We have always called on Russia to carry out anti-Daesh operations together,” Cavusoglu said, adding that the proposal was still “on the table.”
The top Turkish diplomat further described Daesh as a “common enemy,” calling on Russia to join Turkey in a bid “to concentrate efforts” on the terror outfit.
“Let’s fight against the terrorist group together, so that we can clear it out as soon as possible,” he said, warning that Daesh could expand and spread into other countries.
However, the Associated Press later quoted the top Turkish diplomat as saying that Turkey merely wanted greater cooperation with Moscow, not joint strikes.
Moscow is seeking “coordination” with Russia on operations against the militant group, said Cavusoglu, adding that “this does not mean that Turkish jets and Russian jets will fly together,” according to AP.
Since September 2014, the US along with some of its allies, including Turkey, has been conducting air raids against what are said to be the Daesh terrorists in Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
The operation is an extension of a similar campaign in Iraq, which started in August 2014. However, the strikes have failed to disband the extremists.
Elsewhere in his comments, Cavusoglu emphasized that Turkish jets would actively join in aerial assaults allegedly against Daesh in Syria
“Many countries are engaged in Syria actively. There could be mistakes,” he said and highlighted the need for “solidarity and cooperation (mechanism) … including sharing of real time intelligence” between all parties regarding the issue of Syria.
The remarks come as a three-person Turkish delegation is in Moscow for talks aimed at coordinating actions on Syria and other bilateral issues.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in St. Petersburg, the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since bilateral ties hit a record low over the downing incident.
The two leaders agreed to stage a separate meeting to hammer out a new policy on Syria, where the two sides have been supporting opposite sides to the conflict gripping the Arab country.
Russia’s relations with Turkey was strained in November 2015 after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24M Fencer aircraft with two pilots aboard, claiming the fighter jet had repeatedly violated the Turkish airspace
Moscow, however, dismissed Ankara’s claims, saying the plane was brought down in Syrian airspace, where Russia has been conducting combat sorties against Takfiri terrorists since late September 2015 upon a request by the Damascus government.
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