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Turkish and Russian FMs to meet in Belgrade

Updated: 2015-11-27 10:11

NICOSIA - Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that he expects to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, early in December, in the aftermath of the downing of a Russian SU-24 fighter plane over Syria on Tuesday.

Cavusoglu said during a brief visit to the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus that the meeting will take place on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to be held in Belgrade on December 3-4.

"I am confident that diplomacy will prevail and that the relations of the two countries will be back on track," Cavusoglu said.

Ha also said that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will also have the chance to meet during the OSCE session.

The Turkish foreign minister arrived in the occupied part of Cyprus for talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on the current state of negotiations to reach a settlement reunifying Cyprus.

When asked what can be done to check the tension between Turkey and Russia after the downing of the plane, Cavusoglu said Turkey does not want the crisis to climax.

"We do not want this regrettable incident to sour our relations with Russia. We talked on the phone with Lavrov yesterday. We told him that we want to share with him in every detail all the information we have," said Cavusoglu.

But he maintained that since Russia started its air operations in Syria there have been violations of the Turkish air space.

"On the issue of security of the borders and our air space the rules of engagement are clear," said Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu added that after three or four violations of Turkey's national air space the Russian government had been officially notified.

He repeated Turkey's claim that the fighter had been warned 10 times within five minutes and added that as it was not clear what the nationality of the plane was and since it did not change course the Turkish planes saw it as a danger to them.

Cavusoglu said Turkey's military leaders gave their Russian counterparts all the information they had, calling for a truce.

"We want to keep open both the diplomatic and military channels," he said.

"Up to now we did not see Russia as any other neighboring country, as we had special political and economic ties," Cavusoglu added.

He said that he was pleased to hear what he called "constructive statements made today by Russia."

"The important thing is reason to prevail and the tension not to be allowed to climax," he said.

When asked to comment on Russian President's Vladimir Putin statement that he waits for an apology from Turkey, Cavusoglu said: "There is no need to apologize for a situation in which we are right. But we expressed our regret on the phone yesterday and a few times today...As I told Lavrov yesterday, no country would accept its air space to be repeatedly violated," said Cavusolgu.

Cavusoglu's statement came in the aftermath of calls by Russian leaders for economic measures to be imposed, which will hurt Turkish exports of food stuffs and the business of contractors and retailers.

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