Turkey and Russia agree to build Syria mechanism

Ankara, Aug 10 (IANS) Turkey and Russia have agreed to build a mechanism on Syria which includes officials from the intelligence services, foreign ministries and armed forces, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said here on Wednesday.

Cavusoglu said the first bilateral meeting of this mechanism will be held in St. Petersburg on Thursday, Xinhua news agency cited from Anadolu news Agency.

The formation of the mechanism was agreed during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg.

“We are building a strong mechanism with Russia regarding Syria, ” Cavusoglu said. “We think alike on the cease-fire, humanitarian aid and a political solution.”

Turkish National Intelligence Organisation Chief Hakan Fidan and representatives from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces will depart for Russia on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said.

He said the pilots involved in the downing of a Russian jet on November 24, 2015, which led to a crisis in bilateral ties, were in custody for their ties with the so-called Gulen Terrorist Organisation, a reference to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey accuses Gulen of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt and had called for his extradition from the US.

The shooting down of the Russian jet led to a freeze in relations of the two countries, including economic sanctions and a bar on Russian tourism to Turkey, which thawed in June after Erdogan wrote to his counterpart and the two later spoke on telephone.

Putin gave his support to Turkey over the coup attempt and said he stood by the elected government, offering his condolences to the victims of the failed coup.

–IANS

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