Erdogan meets with Putin in St. Petersburg; says relations entering ‘positive phase’

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the first time since Turkey shot down a Russian plane in November, voicing support for Erdogan following the July 15 coup attempt.

“We are against all kinds of coup attempts,” Putin said during Erdogan’s visit to the Constantine Palace on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. “I would like to remind you of our principal attitude. We are against all attempts that are against the constitution. I hope under your management the Turkish people will overcome this problem.”

Putin also said that despite Turkey’s current turbulent politics and the strained relations between the two countries after Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane near the Syrian-Turkey border in late November, Erdogan’s visit was a “sign of normalizing ties” — adding that “restoration of bilateral ties would benefit both Turkey and Russia.”

“Your current visit, despite the very difficult political situation in Turkey, shows that we all want to resume our dialogue and restore relations for the sake of the interests of the Turkish and Russian peoples,” Putin told Erdogan.

Erdogan said that the relationship with Russia has now entered a “very different and positive phase,” as he also showed gratitude for Putin’s show of support after the coup attempt.

“Your call after the coup attempt made us happy,” Erdogan told Putin. Both leaders vowed to discuss opportunities to restore trade and economic cooperation following the shooting down of the Russian plane, which led to the death of two Russian service members — a pilot and a marine working in the search and rescue operation.

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