Turkey has called on Russia to carry out joint operations in Syria against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, after crucial talks between President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan aimed at ending a crisis in ties.
The comments by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu came as a Turkish delegation was in Russia for talks aimed at coordinating actions on Syria and other bilateral issues.
"We will discuss all the details. We have always called on Russia to carry out anti-Daesh (ISIL) operations together," Cavusoglu said in a live interview on Thursday with the private NTV television, adding that the proposal was still "on the table".
Cavusoglu urged Russia to fight against the "common enemy" of ISIL fighters in Syria.
"Let's fight against the terrorist group together, so that we can clear it out as soon as possible," the minister said, warning otherwise that the group would keep on expanding and spread into other countries.
Erdogan visited Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg on Tuesday - his first trip abroad since the July 15 coup attempt.
It was also his first direct meeting with Putin since the shooting-down of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish air forces on the Syrian border in November that caused unprecedented damage to relations.
NATO member Turkey was long criticised by its Western partners for not playing a full role in the fight against ISIL but upped its involvement last year by offering US forces use of an air base near the Syrian border for raids against the group.
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Turkey has also carried out air and artillery strikes against ISIL of its own, although it is believed to have halted the operations in the wake of the Russian plane incident.
The three-person Turkish delegation in Moscow, made up of representatives from the military, intelligence and foreign service, is tasked with implementing decisions made at Tuesday's summit, Cavusoglu said.
"I believe the mechanism will contribute to this process," he added.
Cavusoglu said close cooperation between Turkey and Russia would help prevent incidents in the future like the plane crisis.
"Many countries are engaged in Syria actively. There could be mistakes," he said.
"In order to prevent that, we need to put into practice the solidarity and cooperation (mechanism) between us including sharing of real time intelligence."
Cavusoglu also said real time communication was also needed between the two presidents and the military officials of the two countries.
“Well I think there may be some rapprochement, but there’s still a major divergence when it comes to Turkey’s objectives in Syria and the Russian regime’s as well," Oubai Shahbandar, a former Department of Defense official who currently serves as an advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, told Al Jazeera.
Moscow is one of the principle backers of Bashar al-Assad's government and militarily intervened in the war in Syria on his behalf in October 2015. Turkey, on the other hand, strongly backs several prominent anti-government rebel groups and has said that a political transition in Syria that includes Assad is not possible.
"When it comes to the Russian position in Syria, we really haven’t seen a meaningful shift. In fact, just hours ago, before the so-called temporary ceasefire in Aleppo, we saw instances of barrel bombs full of chlorine gas dropped in rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo city."
"The Russian regime is already also launching punitive daily strikes against Saraqeb, a city in northwest Syria where a Russian helicopter was shot down last week. So we haven’t really seen anything meaningful on the ground in terms of the Russian’s decision to stop launching the air strikes."
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies