Turkish ambassador comforts Georgia

Zeki Levent Gumrukcu rejects predictions of a possible Russian-Turkish war
Zeki Levent Gumrukcu rejects predictions of a possible Russian-Turkish war

The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Turkish Republic to Georgia, Zeki Levent Gumrukcu, doesn’t make statements to the Georgian media often; he is rarely interviewed by local TV-channels, even though he is thought to be one of the most active and ‘involved’ ambassadors. Gumrukcu closely cooperates with business circles and nongovernmental organizations, including in the region of Borcaly where the majority of the population is Azerbaijani; he often visits Adjaria, where a Turkish consulate has been operating since 1921 – the only foreign consulate on Georgian territory which is not situated in the Georgian capital.

Recently Zeki Levent Gumrukcu appeared on the Maestro TV channel for the first time to comment on alarmist statements by self-professed experts and politicians about ‘a coming war between Russia and Turkey.’

“Despite the escalation of tension between Ankara and Moscow, there is no threat of a conflict. Turkey is doing its best for de-escalation of the crisis,” Mr. Gumrukcu diplomatically stated, describing the essence of the incident in detail. According to him, the main reason for the tension was a lack of communication on the new rules on the Turkish-Syrian border, which were launched by Ankara for security reasons, due to the terrorist threat.

“It was a sad incident, but we did what we had to do, as the airspace of Turkey had been penetrated,” the Ambassador said. He informed that after the incident Turkish diplomats and military tried to contact Russian colleagues: “We are still trying to reach them. I think a dialogue is necessary, which will clarify everything.”

Ankara prefers ‘direct contacts’ with Moscow for ‘a final de-escalation of tension.’ At the same time<3, Zeki Levent Gumrukcu stated many times during the interview that Russia and Turkey ‘would not start a war.’

Russian diplomats make no similar explanations to the excited Georgian society. Probably the reason is that after the five-day war in 2008 President Saakashvili broke off diplomatic relations with Moscow, and Tbilisi has no Russian embassy, neither is there a Georgian embassy in Moscow. Some Russian diplomats who provide technical functions on consulate services are working in the section of the RF interests in the Swiss embassy in Tbilisi; and it seems the position doesn’t require the possibility or need for public statements.