Turkey's Erdogan arrives in Russian Federation for talks with Putin

Mr Putin added that he and Mr Erdogan will have a separate discussion on Syria later on Tuesday involving top military and intelligence officials to search for common ground in the crisis, where Moscow and Ankara have backed the opposing sides.

The dispute put two major joint energy projects on hold - the TurkStream gas pipeline across the Black Sea and the Akkuyu nuclear plant being built by Russia's Rosatom in Turkey.

Putin, for his part, was one of the first to contact Erdogan after the failed coup, despite the still-lingering fallout between Russia and Turkey over a Russian fighter jet downed over Turkish airspace a year ago. They remained at a freezing point for seven months until Erdogan met the key Russian condition for restoring ties by offering his apology over the incident.

He said the visit of Erdogan, despite the hard political situation in Turkey caused by the failed coup attempt on July 15, showed that Ankara really wanted to restore bilateral cooperation. "It offered us moral support and showed Russia's solidarity with Turkey".

Moscow has accused the Turkish government of turning a blind eye to the flow of weapons and supplies to the Islamic State group and other extremists in Syria. In addition, Russian sanctions, after the down jet, all but ended Russian tourism to Turkey.

At the meeting, Putin said Russian Federation and Turkey would discuss ways of restoring trade and economic ties to combat terrorism.

"This process has been launched, but it will take some time", the Russian leader said.

While ties with Russian Federation can't substitute Turkey's economic and security cooperation with the US and the European Union and its membership in NATO, Erdogan clearly hopes to use the Russian Federation card to strengthen his hand in disputes with his Western partners.

He demanded that the USA extradite Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim cleric whom he accuses of organising the coup.

Gulen strongly denies Ankara's accusations and his lawyer on Friday said Turkey had failed to provide "a scintilla" of proof to support its claim.

The minister added that anti-US sentiment had shot up in Turkey over the Gulen issue and urged Washington to act before it worsened.

Putin's statements were made during Erdogan's visit this week to Moscow. He didn't touch on Ankara's demand for Gulen's extradition.

Since July 15, tens of thousands of people from the military, judiciary, civil service and education suspected of links with the movement have been sacked or detained. Ankara also lashed out at the EU for failing to uphold its end of an EU-Turkey agreement on migration.

The deal also promised Turkey billions in funding as well as various political concessions, including visa-free travel for Turks in Europe.

He insisted it would take "painstaking work" and "some time" to return to previous trade levels as Russian Federation rolls back punishing economic sanctions against Ankara, but both sides said they wanted to restart major energy projects hit by the crisis.

Putin responded in kind, saying that "higher interests of our peoples, our nations require the restoration of our ties".



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