Turkey’s NATO membership makes cooperation with Russia more difficult, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said on Wednesday, adding that Ankara and Moscow still have very successful joint operations in Syria and the region. of Nagorno-Karabakh.
âOf course that (membership) is an obstacle. But in itself, I would say, it’s a unique experience when one country is a member of NATO, another country is not a member of NATO. find common ground, work and joint operations. They find compromises where it seems impossible. But we find solutions, “Shoygu said in an interview with the Kazakh website Tengrinews.
Shoygu also hailed the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria as “a new page and a new mechanism to resolve these conflicts.”
“De-escalation zones are necessary for people to start talking to each other, so they are really separated. Some are ready to live like this and others are not ready to live like this, so these zones appear,” a- he said.
Turkey and Russia are patrolling northeastern Syria, fighting terrorism, working in airspace, controlling passageways and dealing with refugees, Shoygu added.
“It is difficult and complex work. I will not talk about the fact that some are trying to impose sanctions (against Turkey), and in some areas they have already been imposed against Turkey by its own partners in the NATO, “he noted.
Turkey and Russia reached an agreement on Idlib in 2018, in which acts of aggression are prohibited in the de-escalation zone.
Turkey and Russia, which back opposing camps in the war in Syria, again agreed on March 5 last year to end military activity in the northwestern Idlib region after an escalation of violence brought the two sides closer to the confrontation. As part of the deal, Turkish and Russian forces conducted joint patrols along the M4 motorway connecting eastern and western Syria, establishing a security corridor on either side.
Shoygu also recalled that peace in Nagorno-Karabakh had been achieved thanks to Russian-Turkish efforts.
âThe last job is, of course, Nagorno-Karabakh. It’s a very difficult operation. That’s what I would like to call it and nothing else. Because it involved a lot of people. arguments, elements and reasons “, he underlined.
Turkey and Russia signed an agreement to establish a joint observation center in Nagorno-Karabakh after the departure of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani territories as part of a peace agreement signed at the end of 2020.
Nagorno-Karabakh is located in Azerbaijan, but was under the occupation of Armenian-based forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. This war left not only Nagorno-Karabakh itself, but vast tracts of surrounding land in Armenian hands.
In 44 days of heavy fighting that began on September 27, the Azerbaijani army routed Armenian forces and sank deep into Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing Armenia to accept a peace deal brokered by Russia which came into effect on November 10.
The deal saw the return of a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh under Azerbaijan’s control and also called on Armenia to cede any areas it held outside the region.
Turkey has frequently expressed its determination to work towards the preservation of the November ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region while stepping up efforts to restore the region.
As a result, people stopped killing each other and conditions were created for Armenia and Azerbaijan to initiate bilateral contacts, Shoygu also said.
“And here, of course, it depends a lot on the relations that have developed between Russia and Turkey. New players are also appearing, old neighbors are appearing, but they are appearing with their own proposals. I mean Iran. C “It’s infrastructure development, it’s the railroad, it’s hydroelectric power and transport links. A lot of questions,” he added.