Russia and Turkey engage in intensive political dialogue and have developed mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas despite existing "serious differences on a number of international issues," Russia’s foreign minister said on Monday.
Commenting on Turkey's support for Ukraine and its position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Sergey Lavrov told Russian weekly AiF that these issues do not prevent Russia and Turkey from developing mutually beneficial bilateral relations.
Turkey bought the S-400 air defense systems from Russia despite "serious pressure from Washington," and the countries also helped to stop the war in Syria and last year’s conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, he said.
On Ukraine, he urged Turkey to carefully analyze the situation and stop fueling Kyiv’s “militaristic sentiments.”
“Encouraging aggressive Ukrainian initiatives in Crimea is tantamount to encroaching on the territorial integrity of Russia,” he argued, calling on Turkey to take into account Moscow’s “legitimate concerns."
However, "without downplaying the existing differences," Russia will continue to develop cooperation with Turkey "guided by the strategic vision of common interests," he added.
Along with most international actors, Turkey has condemned Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and supports the restoration of Ukraine’s borders, including parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Turkey also encourages an end to the oppression of Crimean Tatars.