If Syria tranquility could come at the snap of a finger

“It would be nice if Syria found peace in a snap,” says Russian Ambassador to Ankara Aleksey erhov, noting that many players and factors in the region hinder this process…

Current state of Turkish-Russian relations is encouraging, drew attention erchov. “We are talking about trade relations, the potential of which is not disclosed. Became discussed the cooperation in such sectors which have never occurred on the agenda,” adds the Ambassador.

In the building of the Russian Embassy in Ankara Alex erchov answered the questions of journalists, among whom was our Deputy representative in Ankara, our columnist Tolga Shardan (Tolga Şardan).

New Russian Ambassador to Ankara Aleksey erhov has replaced on this post of Andrew Charles, who died in the attack. Yesterday we had the opportunity to discuss with Erowyn current events. Erchov that responded to our questions in the Embassy building located on a street that used to be called “Karyagdi”, and now bears the name of Andrew Charles and perpetuates his memory, gave startling information. Ambassador — a specialist on the Middle East, who for six years performed the duties of Consul General of Russia in Istanbul and worked in Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Syria, gave the following answers to our questions.

The Geneva process. In Syria for six years of civil war. If we start to discuss what underlies it, we can continue until tomorrow morning. There are Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad. Against him are fighting different groups. At the moment, the Syrian leadership is unable to resist the opposition groups. At the same time, the opposition groups have no such capacity, which would overthrow the current Syrian government. The only way to come to terms with each other. The basis of the Geneva process was the establishment of the framework of this agreement. This process, you might say, was disrupted under the influence of many factors. This was largely due to the fact that the parties directed the strict requirements of each other. But not everything in the framework of the Geneva process was bad, there were positive results. At least the parties began to negotiate with each other. This process should continue. We hope that in September he will continue.

The Astana process. The main goal of the Astana process — the creation of zones of de-escalation in some areas of Syria. Only together with the moderate opposition, as terrorist groups we do not include in this model. In those areas where the fighting stopped, you can immediately to supply humanitarian aid. The steps taken are not valuable, they are worth the effort. The Astana process in no way conflicts with the Geneva process. For this reason, the process must involve the institutions and organizations that can make a positive contribution in each of two of these initiatives. If you ask why the situation in Syria has not changed 180 degrees, we are talking about a complex environment, and such a method as moving forward in small steps. We believe that it is correct to operate under this logic. I worked in Syria for three years, and the advent of peace in this country is for me a truly special meaning.

The investigation into the murder of Charles. We know that the investigation conducted by the Turkish side continues. We also know that the departments involved in the investigation in Russia, consist in the close collaboration with Turkish colleagues. Are confident that with the completion of the investigation, its results will share with the public. And, I believe, would be wrong if any of the information you will hear from my mouth. At the moment I don’t have any information about the presence of a direct link between the destruction of the Russian plane and the murder of the Ambassador in an attack. As for my security, has taken important additional steps, and I don’t have any worry on this account.

Sister city in memory of Charles. We thank Turkish officials for decisions, the steps taken for the sake of perpetuating the memory of our Ambassador. The name of the street where we are now, was changed, now it’s “street Andrew Charles”. Also we are talking about an agreement on establishing twin-city relations between the city, the birthplace of our Ambassador, and city in Turkey.


© RIA Novosti, Alain Palaeoentomology of the municipality of Ankara to change street signs

Russian-Turkish relations. The current state of relations between the two countries is encouraging. On the other hand, demonstrates the need for serious efforts for their removal to a higher level. Faster way to develop political dialogue between the two countries. Significantly more frequent phone talks between the Russian President and the President of the Turkish Republic.

Selling S-400. Before coming here I knew I will not give an answer to this question. This is a question that I don’t want to answer. And in Turkish, and in the Russian press, it is discussed in detail. And in Washington and in Brussels — a big fuss about it. If you go online in Russia, you will meet a very different commentary. Given my situation, every word I say, can be otherwise interpreted wrongly used. I propose to discuss this subject after some time.

The decision on the tomatoes. The restrictions were imposed on imports of not only tomatoes, but also other different types of Turkish agricultural products. At the end of last year, these restrictive measures were partially lifted, and this year — and other restrictions with the exception of tomatoes. The reason is that Russian farmers have made serious contributions to the production of tomatoes. In this regard, there’s no explaining reason to torment our farmers. We understand the interests of Turkey. Turkey is really a tomato Paradise. Turkey is interested to sell more tomatoes in Russia. Therefore, it is important to find some common solution. Our experts say about seasonal supplies. Work on this issue are ongoing with the aim of finding common solutions.

Trading potential. With regard to trade relations, are now being implemented such large-scale projects as “Turkish stream” and NPP “Akkuyu”. In General, the trade develops. At the same time, we must recognize that in recent years the trade turnover showed a decrease. To date, we believe trade between the two countries has serious untapped potential. There are new spheres of the industry. We are talking about trade relations, the potential of which is not disclosed. Began to discuss the possibility of cooperation in such sectors which previously did not arise on the agenda.

Operation against Afrin. It is difficult to comment on the message, built on assumptions. Diplomats usually try to stay away from political assumptions, often because they are not justified. You need to have specific tactical details.


© RIA Novosti, Alexey Danichev | go to photobacteria missile system s-400 “Triumph”

Russia’s position on YPG. The Russian Federation and other countries, there is a list of terrorist organizations. The legislation lists a number of steps for qualification of an organization as terrorist. We can say that it is multi-step and complicated procedure. The only thing I can say, the people’s protection Units (YPG) are not included in this list. We are aware of the sensitivity of Turkey in this issue, we carefully capture these moments and properly inform the leadership of the Russian Federation.

Visa. In 2010, our governments signed an agreement on mutual trips. This text was introduced a partial exemption of visas for travel in which the period of stay does not exceed 30 days. January 1, 2016, we have suspended this agreement. Now our Turkish colleagues vigorously encourage us to return to the old system. However, the situation in the region has not improved, but rather deteriorated. We are talking about military actions conducted against ISIL (banned in Russia — approx. ed.). ISIS militants and their family members began to flee. And on the issue of visas and other issues continue.

Sanctions. And in “Gazprom” and “Akkuyu” I was asked to study the question of how the negative impact of US sanctions and the EU can have on our projects. Turkey has always taken a clear position against such sanctions. But someone who wants to cancel these projects, may try to take advantage of this situation. Implementation of the project “Akkuyu” continues on schedule, and we expect that in 2023 the first reactor will start producing electricity.

Events in Manbij. As for the events in Manbij, said that some of it was taken under the protection of the Russian army. We can say that when Turkey and Russia are working together, it gives a synergistic effect, and there are very good results.

The days in Istanbul. Six years of my work, of course, been both difficult and good times, but these years were among the happiest of my life.

“Today a kiss, tomorrow fight”. Who will manage Idlib, dominate there? I have more questions than you have. In the area of Idlib we are talking about tens of different armed groups, different representatives differ from other religious movements. Refers to the presence of different persons with dubious reputation, which we call the warlords. Therefore, to evaluate a particular probability becomes very difficult. Not only Idlib, but also other different regions of Syria sensitive and problematic. For example, in Eastern Syria, there is ISIS who drive their own jeeps. In relation to Idlib, we are talking about “al-Nusra” (banned in Russia — approx. ed.) but they have different names. They consist of so many groups that some band we kiss today, tomorrow — fighting. It would be nice if peace could come at the snap of a finger, but because of the large number of players and factors, unfortunately, the process is sometimes delayed. Need extra time, extra effort, extra attempts. In addition, the events associated with Idlib, Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa, and so rapidly evolving that I would like to recall a phrase from one Russian movie: “I’m not a magician, I’m just learning”.