Erdogan, Putin discuss deepening strategic relationship

By bne IntelliNews May 29, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on May 27 confirmed in a telephone call “the aspiration for further development of the strategic partnership,” the Kremlin said, TASS reported.

The leaders discussed the implementation of the agreements on the mutual lifting of limitations in the trade and economic spheres, as well as implementation of major joint projects in energy, namely in regards to the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, according to the Kremlin’s press service.

Ankara and Moscow have been working hard to repair ties severely damaged in late 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian bomber jet near the Syrian border. Moscow responded to the incident by imposing a raft of economic sanctions that targeted Turkish exports and its struggling tourism industry.

As a result of the subsequent rapprochement process, Moscow has lifted many of the restrictions but has kept a ban on the import of tomatoes from Turkey.

The Kremlin did not say whether the two presidents also discussed a potential arms deal. Turkey is looking to buy the S-400 advanced air defence system from Russia.

Talks between Turkey and Russia on the missile system have matured, but the two countries need to sort out some price issues, Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said on May 10.

Ankara and Moscow are also cooperating in finding a solution to the Syrian conflict despite their differences. On May 4, Turkey, Russia and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding on creating four “de-escalation zones” in Syria during peace talks held in Kazakh capital Astana.

“The leaders agreed to boost coordination of efforts for a settlement in Syria at various levels and they stressed the importance of the soonest [possible] accord on practical aspects for implementation of the memorandum on the de-escalation zones,” the Kremlin said.

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