Erdogan: I want to reset Russia ties from clean slate

Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R) walks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin prior to their meeting at the Group of 20 (G20) leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015. REUTERS

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Russia's TASS news agency published on Monday he wanted to reset relations with Russia from a clean slate and restart cooperation in a range of sectors.

Erdogan was speaking on the eve of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg intended to end a period of high tension after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border last November. Russia imposed trade sanctions on Turkey and the number of Russian tourists visiting the country fell by 87 percent in the first half of 2016.

Erdogan, in his TASS interview, repeatedly referred to Putin as "dear" or "respected" Vladimir and called him a friend. "This visit strikes me as a new milepost in our bilateral relations, starting again from a clean slate," Erdogan told TASS.

"A new page will be opened in Russo-Tukish ties. This new page will include military, economic and cultural cooperation."

The talks between Putin and Erdogan, in the city of St Petersburg, are intended to end a period of high tension after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border last November. Russia imposed trade sanctions on Turkey and the number of Russian tourists visiting the country fell by 87 percent in the first half of 2016.

Erdogan and Putin will focus in their talks on Tuesday on the Syria conflict, trade, energy and the resumption of Russian charter flights to Turkey.

Russia and Turkey have been on different sides in Syria, with Moscow backing President Bashar al-Assad while Ankara wants him ousted.

Erdogan's meeting with Putin coincides with renewed strains in Ankara's ties with the West after a failed military coup in Turkey in which more than 230 people were killed. Turkey accuses the West of showing more concern over a post-coup crackdown than over the bloody events themselves.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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