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Erdogan calls for 'clean slate' in Russia relations

Iran Press TV

Mon Aug 8, 2016 11:30PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a "clean slate" in relations and cooperation with Russia.

Erdogan made the remark during an interview with Russia's TASS news agency published on Monday, ahead of forthcoming talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg.

"It will be a historical visit, a new start. I believe talks with my friend Vladimir will open up a new page in bilateral relations. Our countries have a lot to do together," Erdogan said.

The upcoming meeting is aimed at ending a period of tension between the two countries after Turkey downed a Russian jet close to the Syrian border in 2015.

"This visit strikes me as a new milepost in our bilateral relations, starting again from a clean slate," added Erdogan, noting that "this new page will include military, economic and cultural cooperation."

He further expressed Russia's role in solving the crisis in Syria, where the country has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.

"It is impossible to find solution to the Syrian problem without Russia's participation. We can settle the crisis in Syria only in cooperation with Russia," noted Erdogan.

Turkey nabs 10 foreigners over coup attempt

Meanwhile, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus (seen below) said that 10 foreign nationals have been detained over suspected ties to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who Ankara blames for the recent coup.

Gulen, an outspoken opponent of Erdogan living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has firmly denied the allegations against him. He argues that the move could have been orchestrated by the government to purge its opponents.

Kurtulmus refrained from giving further details on the arrestees or their nationalities, but noted that their number my increase as investigations progress.

He also announced that 186 soldiers, including nine generals, and 30 gendarmes suspected of planning the failed putsch are still at large.

Late on July 15, a faction of the Turkish military declared that it was in control of the country and that the government was no more in charge. The coup attempt was gradually suppressed and over 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and education have so far been sacked, dismissed or detained over allegations of involvement in the putsch and their links to Gulen.

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