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Russia, Turkey agree to mend broken ties

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Turkey and Russia yesterday reached a clear consensus on mormalising ties, said an official in Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office after a meeting between the Turkish leader and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

“The general mood has been very positive,” the official said following the meeting in St. Petersburg. “Both sides are determined to take relations forward.”

It was the first meeting between Putin and Erdogan since Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet last November, sparking a deep diplomatic crisis.

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Erdogan’s visit to Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg yesterday was also his first foreign trip since a failed coup attempt last month that sparked a purge of alleged coup supporters in the military, judiciary, civil service and education sector, and cast a shadow over Turkey’s relations with the West.

“Your visit today, despite a very difficult situation regarding domestic politics, indicates that we all want to restart dialogue and restore relations between Russia and Turkey,” Putin said as the two met.

Erdogan said that Turkey was entering a “very different period” in relations with Russia, and that solidarity between the two countries would help the resolution of regional problems.

Erdogan also thanked his Russian counterpart for a telephone call after the failed coup attempt on July 15, saying it “brought our people great happiness”.

Al Jazeera said that “one of the interesting things about the whole spat between Russia and Turkey is how much of it seemed to be driven by the personalities of the two leaders; not actually to do with any of the interests the two countries shared”.

“Erdogan has contrasted what Putin did in the aftermath of the attempted coup with the absence of similar moves from Western leaders,” Al Jazeera reported.

The shooting down of the Russian jet by a Turkish F-16 over the Syrian border last November saw a furious Putin slap economic sanctions on Turkey and launch a blistering war of words with Erdogan that seemed to irrevocably damage burgeoning ties.


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