Moscow, Russia – “The fact that Turkey is a member of NATO is not an obstacle for us,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. Russia and Turkey are examples of two independent countries working together. So they never bow in front of anyone,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made statements about cooperation with Turkey at the “Rome MED Dialogues” conference he attended.

Lavrov noted that there are good neighborly relations between Russia and Turkey, stressing that Russia and Turkey have successfully cooperated in various aspects and have plans for further development of bilateral cooperation.

Despite differences in approach on various issues, he said, the two countries eventually managed to unite their efforts and help with a ceasefire in various armed conflict zones.

Turkey cooperates to end hostilities
Lavrov said that Turkey is making efforts to end hostilities in other areas, such as Karabakh, and that in Syria, together with Turkey and Iran, they have formed the Astana Group, which is the most promising mechanism for resolving the crisis.

The Russian leadership is not embarrassed by Turkey’s membership in NATO and differences in foreign policy issues. There are no fundamental disputes between the states, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on December 4 during the international conference ‘Mediterranean: Roman Dialogue.’

“I am sure that the relationship between Russia and Turkey is an example of how two independent countries are working together to implement their policies. They do not bow to anyone; they do not put forward ultimatums, they are not subject to external influence,” the diplomat said on the air of the Russia 24 TV channel.

The minister also recalled the ‘multi-billion dollar’ projects of Russia and Turkey in various sectors of the economy. Moreover, Lavrov noted that Russia does not object against implementing initiatives aimed at diversifying gas supplies to Europe. Moscow rejects the politicization of cooperation in this area.

The main project designed to diversify Russian gas supplies to Europe is Nord Stream 2. It involves two pipeline strings with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year. They will stretch from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Communications will also pass through Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.

Russia called the position on Crimea one of the serious disagreements with Turkey.

Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation since 2004, has been participating in the Rome MED Dialogues since their first edition in 2015, signaling Russia’s increasingly relevant role in the Mena region. 

2015 was also the year marking Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian conflict. The conflict is still ongoing, and its humanitarian consequences are made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, while the constitutional and political processes seem to be stuck. Russia is still one of the main players in Syria and it is a relevant stakeholder in other regional contexts as well, where it cooperates with active regional players, such as Turkey., The Italian government deems dialogue with Russia, in particular in the Mena region, as essential to tackle challenges that need to be solved through a multilateral approach. 

MED – Mediterranean Dialogues is the annual high-level initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies) in Rome with the aim to rethink traditional approaches to the area complementing analyses of current challenges with new ideas and suggestions and to draft a new “positive agenda”, addressing shared challenges at both the regional and the international level.

Launched in 2015, MED has quickly become the global hub for high–level dialogues on the broader Mediterranean engaging prominent leaders of Mediterranean governments, business, civil society, media and academia.

Past editions have brought together more than 1,000 international leaders, including Heads of State and Ministers (among them, the King of Jordan, the Iraqi and Lebanese’s President, Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, the US Secretary of State, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Envoy for Syria, as well as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the first Vice-President of the Commission and many others)