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

Putin and Erdogan meet to mend ties after jet downing rift

It is their first face-to-face talks since relations soured last November when Turkey downed a Russian warplane near the Syrian border.

"If the USA does not deliver [Gülen] they will sacrifice relations with Turkey for the sake of a terrorist", said Turkey's justice minister Bekir Bozdag.

Erodgan was livid after Western nations that condemned the coup attempt last month also criticized him for his massive crackdown in response to the putsch.

After their talks in St. Petersburg's ornate Konstantin Palace, both leaders emphasized their shared desire to rebuild ties, but it remained unclear if they could reach common ground on the Syrian crisis. Turkey is pressing the U.S. to extradite him to Turkey.

Russian Federation is one of Turkey's most important export markets, and a key supplier of energy. About 22,000 people have been arrested or detained by Turkish authorities following the failed takeover.

"It means that we don't want to see coups and we support the legitimate government and president".

Erdogan also wants the U.S. to hand over Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric he accuses of having masterminded the coup.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters Tuesday in Washington, "This [extradition] is not a process that is influenced by emotion or political rhetoric".

Russian Federation holds no such concerns about the purge, and gives an important endorsement on the global stage of Ankara's controversial crackdown, amid concerns over the mass detentions.

Erdoğan said a Turkish-Russian partnership is very important not only for economical relations, but also regional and global stability.

The incident sparked finger-pointing, Russian sanctions, and fears of a wider conflict between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member.

Moscow could use economic levers to force Turkey to compromise on Syria.

Relations between the two countries began to thaw in late June after Erdogan sent an apology letter to the Kremlin.

"He is trying to use Russian Federation to gain leverage with the United States and Europe", he said.

The two countries agreed to set up working groups to try to resume work on the pipeline along with the Belene nuclear power plant.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also told reporters in a round table that Turkey had agreed to work with Russian Federation in fight against terrorism, including against Kurdish militants and the Islamic State.

Now with Russian Federation mired in economic crisis due to Western sanctions over Ukraine and low oil prices along with Turkey's outlook flagging, both men want to get business started again.



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