The following is an excerpt from OLESYA ASTAKHOVA AND ANDREW OSBORN | August 9, 2016 | reuters.com |
Russia and Turkey took a big step toward normalizing ties on Tuesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin met his visiting Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, at a time when both countries have strained relations with the West.
An official in Erdogan's office said there was a clear consensus about improving relations that were damaged when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border late last year. "The general mood has been very positive," the official said after the meeting in St. Petersburg.
"Your visit today, which you made despite the really complex domestic political situation in Turkey, shows we all want to restart our dialogue and restore our relations," said Putin, addressing Erdogan.
Erdogan's visit is his first foreign trip since the abortive putsch, in which more than 240 people were killed. Turkey has been incensed by the concerns expressed by Washington and European capitals about Ankara's post-coup crackdown but what is sees as indifference to the attempted coup itself.
Putin told Erdogan that he hoped Ankara could fully restore order after a failed military coup last month, saying Moscow always opposed unconstitutional actions.
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