Turkey grateful to Russia for al-Bab success, says Turkish president’s adviser

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s principal adviser, Ilnur Cevik, has said that the Turkish army could not have conducted a successful operation in Syria’s al-Bab without Russian support, Russian news agency Sputnik reports.

Speaking at a conference titled ‘Turkey-Russia relations: From tension to collaboration’ in Russia’s capital Moscow, Cevik said, “[Russian President] Putin is a very important figure for Ankara, he gives huge support to Turkey, we are grateful for his support in Syria.”

“According to me, we couldn’t have conducted a successful operation in al-Bab without Russia’s support. For this reason, we are grateful to Putin and the Russian army. We were successful in this operation thanks to the support of the Russian air force,” Cevik continued.

Cevik, who also said that the Turkish army’s operations in northern Syria would continue towards the Euphrates River, added, “We are doing everything we can to avoid any discrepancies between us and Russia.”

A Russian bombing of Turkish soldiers on the outskirts of al-Bab on 9 February in which four soldiers died could potentially have been catastrophic for bilateral relations which have only recently been on the mend since Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet in 2015.