14:07 | 14/08/2016 Cooperation
Russia and Turkey took a big step toward normalising ties on Tuesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin met his visiting Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, at a time when both countries have strained relations with the West.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attend their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016 - (Credit: Reuters)
Erdogan's visit is his first foreign trip since the abortive putsch, in which more than 240 people were killed. Turkey has been incensed by the concerns expressed by Washington and European capitals about Ankara's post-coup crackdown but what is sees as indifference to the attempted coup itself.
Putin told Erdogan that he hoped Ankara could fully restore order after a failed military coup last month, saying Moscow always opposed unconstitutional actions.
Putin welcomed Erdogan in a Tsarist-era palace just outside his home town and immediately signaled he was ready to improve relations with Turkey, which he said had gone from a historical high point to a very low level.
The Russian president categorically condemned the failed military coup.
Putin had said the two men would discuss how to restore trade and economic ties, and cooperation against terrorism.
They were also expected to discuss Syria, a conflict where the two countries find themselves on opposing sides, with Moscow backing President Bashar al-Assad and Ankara wanting him out of power.
Russia imposed trade sanctions on Turkey in the wake of the shooting down of its warplane and the number of Russian tourists visiting the country fell 87% in the first half of 2016.
Erdogan said Turkey was entering a "very different period" in its relations with Russia, and that solidarity between the two countries would help the resolution of regional problems./.