Moscow is concerned about Turkey's operation in Syria
On the morning of August 24th, Ankara announced the beginning of the Turkish Armed Forces’ operation called ‘Euphrates Shield’ on the territory of neighboring Syria. According to media reports, columns of Turkish tanks and ground forces, including special purpose units, in cooperation with allied armed groups of the Syrian opposition, crossed the border with Syria. Ankara states that the objectives of its military action are to fight Daesh and the Kurdish militias.
Moscow expressed concern about what is happening in the area of the Syrian-Turkish border. ‘’We are anxious due to the possibility of a further deterioration of the situation in the conflict zone, including in view of possible concomitant civilian casualties and the worsening ethnic conflict between Kurds and Arabs,’’ the Foreign Ministry’s message reads.
The official representative of the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, addressed journalists, who are trying to figure out Russia's position on the Turkish operation in Syria, with this message several times. "When the Foreign Ministry is concerned about something, too many people may be concerned as well. So I would not say that these formulations are too 'soft'. The concern means an elaborate and analyzed response."
Meanwhile, speaking of Russian-Turkish relations, she noted that normalization of relations is not an issue for one day: "It is easy to damage the relationship, it takes just a couple of hours, and it may take a very long time to restore the course of the relationship to its previous level.’’
According to the Russian diplomat, the notion of time is relative – some believe that Russia has forgiven Turkey too quickly, while others think that the normalization process is too slow. "We need to act not in terms of time, but in terms of making this a full-length restoration, taking into account mutual interests a the real situation, but not to adjust it to some conjuncture of a fleeting moment. It should be really complete and allowing to solve even the most difficult issues constructively. So we are focused exactly on such a recovery.’’
Recently the work of the news agency Sputnik was restored in Turkey. However, the ban on entering the country for the DG of the agency has not been cancelled. Asked by journalists to comment on this fact, Zakharova said: ‘’Not everything has been sorted out in the field of information and journalism between Russia and Turkey, but the Foreign Ministry has done much to ensure that the work of the Russian news agency Sputnik is restored. We hope that this process will develop. I wish that the time factor is taken into account, because it should be done as quickly as possible."