Kremlin says Turkish-Russia relations ‘developing’ amid tensions over Ukraine
Relations between Turkey and Russia are “developing”, the Kremlin said on Friday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Cooperation between the two countries has grown in recent years, including Ankara’s controversial decision to purchase the Russian-made S-400 missile system against the strong objections of its NATO allies.
However, Turkey has recently backed Ukraine in its tensions with Russia, providing the Ukrainian military with armed drones that have proven particularly effective against Russian-backed forces in the region.
The prospect of further arms deals between the two counties provoked a strong rebuke from Russia on Monday, which warned Turkey against fuelling Ukraine’s “militarist” tendencies.
The same day, Russian authorities halted flights to Turkey citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, dealing a further blow to the troubled Turkish economy.
But speaking to reporters in Moscow, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied the issues were linked.
"The relations between the two countries are developing. The situation with the ban on tourism has nothing to do with bilateral relations," Anadolu cited Peskov as saying.
Turkey has joined other NATO countries in criticising the recent build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the issue in a call with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg on Friday, according to an official statement.
Erdogan emphasised the need for dialogue and respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity in resolving the crisis with Russia, the Turkish president’s directorate of communications said.
Shared support for Ukraine has provided an increasingly rare point of unity between Turkish and NATO officials after growing differences over Turkey’s S-400 purchase and a range of the issues.