Erdogan & Putin Pledge Renewal of Turkish-Russian Ties

August 10 –  2016  – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have pledged a renewal of ties after their meeting in Moscow on Tuesday.  The encounter was the first since Turkish jet fighters downed a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border last November.The confrontation was the most significant between Turkey and Russia, who support opposing sides in Syria’s civil war. After the downing of the MiG-24 warplane and killing of the pilot, Moscow imposed restrictions on trade and tourism with Ankara. However, Erdoğan’s apology in early July started a process of restoration.The move to renewal was reinforced by the failed July 15 coup against Erdoğan, with Moscow supporting the President against the uprising.

On Tuesday, Putin told the Turkish President, “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.”

Putin said Russia would phase out sanctions against Turkey step-by-step: The most important point here will be our joint energy projects. We need to take robust political steps so as to realize these projects. The Turkish side has already taken key steps to realize them, yet we put a number of limitations.

We will of course need some time to return to the pre-crisis levels in several fields, including tourism. We will, however, resolve the issue of resuming charter flights to Turkey in the near future. We will also enable Turkish construction companies to enter Russia.

Erdogan responded: Talks with Putin were comprehensive and beneficial. Both sides are determined to restore our ties to the pre-crisis levels, and even better….I must say at the beginning that Turkey will grant a strategic investment status to the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. We will boost closer ties in the defense industry together with Russia.

“The Turkish Stream [gas pipeline] project with Russia will be realized swiftly following a thorough review

He added that Turkey and Russia would again pursue their trade target of $100 billion, following a drop to about $28 billion amid the crisis in relations. But, despite the positive statements, Erdoğan and Putin did not indicate if there would be a reconciliation of their approaches to Syria.

The Russian President simply said after the meeting, “I think it is possible to align our views and approaches.”

Speculation has centered on a possible Turkish abandonment of the Syrian opposition and rebels, given Russia’s essential backing — including constant airstrikes and an “advisory” role in ground operations — of the Assad regime. However, claims are circulating that Turkey has continued to provide arms and supplies for the rebels, who have made significant gains near Aleppo city in the last 10 days. www.mesop.de