(EXCLUSIVE) Maria Zakharova: Russia regards Turkey and its people as friends
Russia regards Turkey and its people as friends, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said today in an interview with a VK correspondent, commenting on the prospects for resolving the conflict between the two countries that appeared after the downing of the Russian Su-24 aircraft by the Turkish Air Forces.
"Our friendly attitude is proved not by words, but by our deeds. We have created good relations and partnership with Turkey over many years. And we had a respectful attitude to the state. Certainly, we had different relations during different periods in history, but we made a fundamental choice in favor of developing ties and moving forward. You can name a lot of areas in which we cooperated: the economy, business, the humanitarian sphere, military-technical cooperation,’’ she noted.
Maria Zakharova drew attention to the deeper level of interaction between Russia and Turkey, which have contacts not only at the level of the authorities and organizations, but also simple human relations. "A large number of Russian-Turkish families have appeared in recent years. Both Turkey and Russia are home countries for them. The people love these countries, they have mutual children, and they cannot cross the line to tell their children,’’ The left side is Russian and the right one is Turkish. "All of these people have become the essence of bilateral relations,’’ the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry explained.
The situation with the Russian plane "was a shock not only to the authorities, but also to ordinary people. Why was this done? Why do these statements continue to be made? No one can understand it,’’ Maria Zakharova said.
Russia does not close its doors to negotiations and a settlement of the existing conflict. "Even in the most difficult situations such as sanctions against Russia, or interruption of cooperation among the EU, NATO, the United States, we have always made statements that we are ready to cooperate. What is the Turkish leadership thinking about? Yesterday the Turkish Prime Minister said that Russia is carrying out ethnic cleansings. How do his actions correlate to the need to resolve the conflict?" the Russian diplomat asked.
"We have a clear understanding that we live and we will continue to live as good neighbors, friends and partners with the Turkish people, but we also realize that this aggression by the Turkish leadership cannot remain unrequited and unpunished. The relations between the two big countries with ancient history involved tragic accidents and errors. There are a lot of examples. But not only the action that was done, but also the country’s reaction is important. We haven’t heard a single word of condolence, sympathy, words of apology to the families of the dead pilots,’’ Maria Zakharova said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman added in conclusion that neither the aircraft during the military operation in Syria, nor Russia has ever threatened Turkey. "Unfortunately, all that the Turkish government announced only continues to develop in the public media arena. In my opinion, the things they are doing are just madness," she summed up.