Maxim Shevchenko: Conflict between Russia and Turkey is not needed by either country
Any kind of confrontation between Russia and Turkey after the incident with the Russian bomber, shot down by Turkish fighter aircraft, is not in the interests of either country, a member of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations, Maxim Shevchenko, stated in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, commenting on today's statements by the Russian and Turkish authorities in connection with this incident.
First of all, he stressed that what happened was a serious mistake on the part of Turkey. "I find it hard to believe that they did not monitor the activity of Russian aviation, flying from the airbase in Latakia, because it is close to the Turkish border and, in principle, within the range of all structures of Turkish radio intelligence. So I think that a tough political and diplomatic position from Russia is necessary here, at least we should demand an apology from Turkey," Shevchenko urged.
According to him, Turkey is prepared to acknowledge this mistake. "According to today's statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara understands and is supposedly ready to back out. Now they present a version that they did not know that it was a Russian plane. It's hard to believe, but in diplomacy sometimes it is necessary to accept not what is easy to believe in, but what is convenient to believe in. The fact is that you do not even want to think about any conflict – military or economic – between Russia and Turkey. Despite the claims of many politicians, it is not in Russia's interests," he stressed.
Maxim Shevchenko reminded that Turkey is not only a military partner of the West in NATO, but also the largest economic partner of Russia in the Middle East. "In addition, Turkey controls the straits of the Black and Mediterranean Seas, without free passage through which it will be difficult for us to supply the Russian military forces in Syria," he added, noting that the incident occurred out of nowhere.
In this regard, he proposed waiting for the scheduled visit of Erdogan to Moscow. "We'll see in December how this incident will affect the visit of Erdogan. If it will be cancelled, it is possible to talk about a serious political crisis, and if the visit will take place, I believe, during the course of it his Turkish side will apologize and give explanations which will satisfy the Russian side," Maxim Shevchenko concluded.