Putin and Er­do­gan re­pair rift

The Myanmar Times - - World -

RUS­SIAN Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and Turk­ish coun­ter­part Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan pledged to rein­vig­o­rate ties af­ter their first meet­ing since Ankara shot down a Rus­sian war­plane last Novem­ber.

Mr Er­do­gan’s visit to Mr Putin’s home­town of Saint Peters­burg is also his first for­eign trip since the failed coup against him last month that sparked a purge of op­po­nents and cast a shadow over Turkey’s re­la­tions with the West.

“We lived through a very com­pli­cated mo­ment in the re­la­tions be­tween our states and we very much want, and I feel our Turk­ish friends want, to over­come the dif­fi­cul­ties,” Mr Putin told jour­nal­ists at a joint press con­fer­ence.

He said it would take “painstak­ing work” and “some time” to re­turn to pre­vi­ous trade lev­els as Rus­sia rolls back eco­nomic sanc­tions against Ankara, but both sides said they wanted to restart ma­jor en­ergy projects hit by the cri­sis.

Mr Er­do­gan said he hoped re­la­tions would be­come “more ro­bust” and stressed how im­por­tant it was that Mr Putin of­fered his sup­port af­ter the coup.

“We will bring our re­la­tions back to the old level and even beyond.”

The shoot­ing-down of a Rus­sian fighter jet by a Turk­ish F-16 on the Syr­ian bor­der last Novem­ber saw Mr Putin slap sanc­tions on Turkey and launch a war of words that dealt se­ri­ous dam­age to bur­geon­ing ties.

But in a shock re­ver­sal in late June, Mr Putin ac­cepted a let­ter from Mr Er­do­gan ex­press­ing re­gret over the in­ci­dent as an apol­ogy.

He quickly rolled back a ban on the sale of pack­age hol­i­days to Turkey and sig­nalled Moscow would end mea­sures against Turk­ish food im­ports and con­struc­tion firms.

Now in the wake of the failed July 15 coup at­tempt, there are fears in Western cap­i­tals that NATO-mem­ber Turkey could draw even closer to Moscow. –

Photo: AFP

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin (right) meets with Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan in Kon­stanti­novsky Palace out­side Saint Peters­burg on Au­gust 9.

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