President Vladimir Putin of Russia said in a joint press conference Tuesday with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that there is still “painstaking work to resuscitate trade and economic cooperation” between the two countries.
The press conference in St. Petersburg came after the two heads of state met in person in a sign of improving ties that had soured in the wake of the shooting down of a Russian warplane by a Turkish jet in November 2015.
Putin told the press conference that the priority for Russia and Turkey
was to return the relations to their pre-crisis level.
“Ahead of us lies painstaking work to resuscitate trade and economic cooperation. This process has already started but it will take some time,” Putin stated.
For his part, President Erdogan said the talks with Putin have been “comprehensive and beneficial.”
Turkey and Russia, Erdogan said, are reinstating their annual bilateral trade target of USD 100 billion.
The Turkish presidential office has described the general mood at the talks between the two leaders as “very positive.”
Resolution of crisis in Syria
The Russian president also said that it is possible to resolve differences on how to handle the crisis in Syria.
“I think it is possible to align our views and approaches,” Putin told reporters.
The visit was the first meeting between the presidents 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.
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.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Saint Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016. (AFP)
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.
A combo taken from video shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet crashing in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Syrian border on November 24, 2015. (Reuters)
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.