Russia and Turkey have stated their resolve to improve upon their bilateral relations after Ankara’s downing of a Russian warplane last November frosted the ties between the two countries.
Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 over the Syrian-Turkey border on November 24, 2015, an attack Vladimir Putin described at the time as a “treacherous stab in the back”.
Relations between the two countries froze after the incident until late June 2016 when the Turkish president, Recep Tayip Erdogan sent a letter to the Kremlin expressing his condolences to the family of the pilot who died.
After a three-hour meeting at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, the two leaders said they were ready to rebuild the fractured relationship between their two countries.
“We have agreed a series of plans on a governmental level, including mid-term plans for a Russia-Turkey cooperation in economy, trade, technology and culture from 2016 to 2019. I hope the plans will be ratified after deliberations,” Putin said.
The visit to Russia, Erdogan’s first since the July 15 coup attempt, according to the Wall Street Journal, signals the Turkish leader’s willingness to look to Moscow, traditionally the counterweight to western influence in the Middle East.
Vladimir Putin has meanwhile expressed support for Erdogan over the failed coup attempt while Erdogan in turn declared support for all of Russia’s claims within eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
Putin also said business relations between Moscow and Ankara could be restored to previous levels but added the change would be gradual.
“We will gradually be lifting the measures implemented in regards to Turkish companies,” Putin said adding “Regarding the full restoration of ties with Turkey, do we want it? Yes, and we will carry it out”.