We all want to restart dialogue, Putin tells Erdogan
Iran Press TV
Tue Aug 9, 2016 12:51PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Saint Petersburg Tuesday, a sign of normalization of relations that soured after the shooting down of a Russian warplane by a Turkish jet last November.
President Putin said the visit shows the desire to "restore dialogue, relations" between Moscow and Ankara.
"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 stated.
The visit was the first meeting between the two heads of state since relations broke down over the shooting down of the Russian aircraft over Syria in 2015. It was also Erdogan's first foreign trip since the failed coup in Turkey on July 15.
Putin also stated that he was one of the first foreign leaders to have a telephone conversation with Erdogan offering support after the abortive coup.
"I know that I was one of the first who called you to express support regarding the crisis," Putin said. "I want to say once again that this is our principled position, we are against any unconstitutional actions."
Erdogan said the Turkish people were "happy" that Putin had expressed his support following the attempted coup. The Turkish president also expected the two countries to "enter into a very different phase with the steps we will take and have taken."
The Turkish president earlier said in an interview with Russian media that Ankara is ready to reset relations with Moscow.
While Ankara is apparently eager to improve ties with Moscow, Russia has maintained a more reserved approach.
Last November, the Turkish military shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft during an anti-terror mission in the Syrian skies near the Turkish border.
Ankara claimed that the Russian jet had violated its airspace despite repeated warnings. Moscow, however, rejected the allegation, saying the aircraft remained in the Syrian skies throughout its mission and received no warnings from the Turkish military.
In response, Russia imposed a series of sanctions against Turkey, saying the bans would not be lifted until Moscow received an apology from Ankara.
Putin and Erdogan held a telephone conversation in late June and agreed to meet in person.
The call came after the Kremlin said Putin had received a letter from Erdogan, in which he had apologized to his Russian counterpart over the incident.
The meeting comes against the backdrop of growing tensions between the West and Ankara over Turkey's crackdown following the failed coup.
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