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Recep Tayyip Erdogan Meets Vladimir Putin In St Petersburg

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for the first time since the July 15 attempted coup.

Russia is ready to restore economic co-operation and other ties with Turkey, President Vladimir Putin has announced in St. Petersburg.

It is also President Erdogan’s first foreign visit since an attempted coup last month.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan thanked Vladimir Putin, saying “your call straight after the coup attempt was very welcome”.

Russian-Turkish relations soured last November when Turkey shot down a Russian bomber on the Syrian border.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit comes as Turkey’s ties with the West have cooled over criticism of the purge of alleged coup-plotters.

Before leaving Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to Vladimir Putin as his “friend” and said he wanted to open a new page in relations with Russia.

“This visit strikes me as a new milestone in our bilateral relations, starting again from a clean slate,” he told Russia’s Tass news agency.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Vladimir Putin said their talks would cover “the whole range of our relations… including restoring economic ties, combating terrorism”.

After Turkey shot down the Su-24 jet Russia imposed trade sanctions and suspended Russian package tours to Turkey.

In June, the Kremlin said Recep Tayyip Erdogan had apologized for the downing of the jet and had sent a message expressing “sympathy and deep condolences” to the family of the dead pilot.

Then, after the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, Vladimir Putin expressed support for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He did not criticize President Erdogan’s crackdown on political opponents and purge of alleged “plotters” in state institutions.

Turkey’s ties with its NATO allies – especially the US – have been strained by disagreements over the Syrian civil war. Turkey’s priority is to weaken the Kurdish separatist forces, while the US is focusing on destroying ISIS.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was angered by criticism from the EU and the US of the mass detentions of suspected plotters. He demanded that the US extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of organizing the coup. But the United States says Turkey must provide solid evidence before such a move can be considered.

Turkey’s Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdag, says more than 26,000 people have been detained after the attempted coup.

They back opposing sides in Syria. Turkey is furious at the scale of Russian air support for Syrian government forces, as Recep Tayyip Erdogan reviles Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia has accused Turkey of backing Islamist anti-Assad groups, including some accused of “terrorism” in Russia.

Turkey is at war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the PKK’s Syrian allies. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Russia of arming the PKK.

For centuries Russia and Turkey have been rivals for influence in the Caucasus and Black Sea region.


Turkey was also angered by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, accusing Moscow of violating the rights of Crimean Tatars. The Muslim Tatars have long had close ties to Turkey.