Apr 16 2018

Russia-Turkey cooperation unharmed by Syria strikes

Turkey’s blossoming cooperation with Russia has survived the coordinated strikes by the United States, France and the United Kingdom unscathed, the Russian federal news agency TASS reported on Monday.

"These strikes did not divide Russia and Turkey," Russian Presidential spokesperson Dmitry said on Monday, responding to a statement by French President Emmanuel Macron that Ankara and Moscow “tended to differ” on the issue of Syria.

Turkey’s three NATO allies bombarded targets in Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack on the Syrian area of Douma on Apr. 7, which is widely believed to have been conducted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

While Ankara has been one of Assad’s most fervent opponents since the civil war began in 2011, Moscow and Tehran have helped prop up the Syrian dictator through direct involvement in the conflict. Their differing reactions to the strikes sparked speculation that the warm relations shared by the three during a summit on Syria in Ankara in early April would be adversely affected in the aftermath.

"It is of no secret that positions of Moscow and Ankara differ on a number of issues, however, this does not hamper further exchange of bilateral opinions as well as discussions of differences in our positions," Peskov said.

"Most importantly, it has no impact on the long-term multilateral perspectives of the cooperation development and interaction regarding the implementation of major economic and other projects," added the spokesperson.

Turkey has signed a number of major deals with Russia, including the purchase of S-400 missile defence systems, a controversial deal that has upset Ankara’s NATO allies. Construction began on Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, southern Turkey, earlier this month. Russian energy company Rosatom is the majority stakeholder in the project.