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Date: 8 December 2015 03:07
Turkey on Monday warned of "lasting consequences" if tensions with Russia continue to build.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for the lifting of economic sanctions against Turkey. "Instead of escalating tension, we should put our relations back on track as soon as possible by taking a calm approach," Cavusoglu said in an interview with Russian news agency TASS.
Referring to the shooting down of a Russian military jet on its southern border last month, he added: "It should not be forgotten that this saddening incident bears the risk of having lasting consequences and damaging relations between our nations."
On Nov. 24, Turkish F-16 fighter jets shot down a Russian SU-24 bomber that violated Turkish airspace near Syria despite repeated warnings.
Following the incident, Moscow announced wide ranging sanctions against Turkey including the end of visa-free travel and a ban on Turkish food products. Russia also called on its nationals to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination.
"We think it would be good for both countries' benefit and future to revise the measures taken and [for them] to be lifted as soon as possible," Cavusoglu added.
"The economy and trade have always taken an important position in our bilateral relations. We don’t think it would be right that our relations, built on strong ground after efforts exerted for years, are harmed by this saddening incident."
The minister said Russia’s measures were "not based on reasonable grounds."
Among the allegations Russian officials have leveled at Turkey is the claim that it contains a substantial terrorism threat.
"It is clear that this is an excuse," Cavusoglu said. "Turkey is a secure country for everyone. I would like to remind [everyone] that last month we hosted more than 20 of the world’s leading statesmen -- leaders including Putin, thousands of foreign government members and journalists -- in Antalya without any incident."
Cavusoglu said Turkey would continue to implement the agreement governing the Bosphorus "neutrally, transparently" -- a reference to the Montreux Convention, which gives Turkey control of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles Straits and regulates the passage of warships.
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