Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jets into Russia Tuesday for his first meeting with counterpart Vladimir Putin since the two strongmen leaders began healing a bitter feud over Ankara’s downing of a Russian warplane.
Putin and ErdoganErdogan’s visit to Putin’s hometown of Saint Petersburg is also his first foreign trip since the failed coup against him last month that sparked a purge of opponents and cast a shadow over Turkey’s relations with the West.
“This visit seems to me a new milestone in bilateral relations, beginning with a clean slate, and I personally, with all my heart and on behalf of the Turkish nation salute Mr Putin and all Russians,” Erdogan said in an interview with Russian state media.
The shooting down of a Russian fighter jet by a Turkish F-16 over the Syrian border last November saw a furious Putin slap economic sanctions on Turkey and launch a blistering war of words with Erdogan that seemed to irrevocably damage burgeoning ties.
But in a shock reversal in late June, Putin accepted a personal expression of regret over the incident from Erdogan as an apology and immediately rolled back a ban on the sale of package holidays to Turkey and signaled Moscow would end measures against food imports and construction firms from the country.