Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has commented on the rift between Ankara and Moscow on Crimea's status, thanking God that nationalists who perceive Crimea as a Turkish domain are not in power.
Speaking to Rossiya-1 TV channel on Sept. 26, Peskov said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks on Crimea don't ruin prospects for his "successful" upcoming visit to Russia.
"I would not excessively inflame the situation. After all, Turkey is our partner with which we have quite developed relations, and with which we also have persisting differences against the background of these developed relations," TASS cited Peskov as saying.
"The position of Turkey, the position of Mr. Erdoğan on Crimea is well known to us, and they were not hiding it, actually," he said.
On Sept. 21, Erdoğan said that Turkey considered it important to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, including the territory of Crimea. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Erdoğan also said that Turkey does not recognize Crimea's "annexation."
Peskov admitted these statements had left an unpleasant trace.
"But nonetheless this by no means ruins the prospects of holding a successful, substantial and constructive working visit of President Erdoğan to Moscow," he said.
"Erdoğan considers Crimea as occupied," Peskov said, while also noting that having worked in Turkey for many years, he knew a lot of Turkish people, "who are fierce nationalists, who consider Crimea, of course, Turkish, who see it as a Turkish domain" since the times of the Ottoman Empire.
"But thank God, these nationalists are not in power. And thank God, Mr. President of Turkey does not share their point of view," Peskov noted.
The Kremlin spokesperson also said that Turkey's obligations in Syria's Idlib will be the focus of the talks between Putin and Erdoğan.
"Regretfully, terrorist activity continues from these territories. This is unacceptable, this is dangerous, this interferes with the settlement process in Syria. All this will certainly be on the agenda [of the talks]," Peskov added.