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Turkey Says Will Develop Ties With Russia Despite Moscow's Tensions With West

Turkey's ambassador to Russia says that Turkey will develop its ties with Russia despite tensions between the West and Moscow.

"Our relations with Russia are highly important to us and we will do everything we can to develop these relations," Umit Yardim told a press conference in Moscow on August 11. "We will develop them regardless of whether countries of the West want it or not."

He added, "In no way can NATO limit our contacts with other countries."

He also said that the Turkish government believes that the current Syrian leadership could potentially take part in talks aimed at resolving the Syria crisis.

However, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on August 11 in an interview with private broadcaster NTV that a political transition in Syria with President Bashar al-Assad was not possible.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized on a visit to Moscow on August 9 that Ankara is ready to cooperate with Russia in seeking a resolution to the Syria crisis.

The two countries are on opposite sides in the conflict. Ankara supports rebels seeking to topple Assad, while Moscow backs the Syrian government and supports its military with Russian air power.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

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