13:09 Aug. 9, 2016
The presidents meet in St. Petersburg ‘to open a new page in relations between the two countries' – Reuters
Turkey's Erdogan arrived in Russia to meet his counterpart and discuss various topics - from politics to economics and security.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian TASS news agency that he aims to end a period of high tensions between the countries. The relations between Turkey and Russia worsened after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border last November. Vladimir Putin called it ‘a stab in the back'. After that incident, Russia imposed trade sanctions on Turkey and banned touring to the country.
"I see this visit as a new beginning, a new page in relations between the two countries. I would like to send my warmest regards to both Vladimir (Putin) and Russian people on behalf of myself and the Turkish nation", said Erdogan to TASS.
Turkey's President also stated that the meeting could become a starting point for establishing peace in Syria: "Let me express this loud and clear. Russia is the most important actor in bringing peace to Syria. I believe that Russia and Turkey should solve this problem by taking joint steps. If we want to expand this cooperation, as I have already said to my dear friend Vladimir, we can include Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States if we deem necessary and establish a larger platform."
Today's meeting between Erdogan and Putin will be the first since the Russian jet downing in November 2015. It is also the first foreign visit of Tayyip Erdogan after the failed coup attempt.