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Putin and Erdogan Move To Promote Cooperation on All Issues

Aug. 9, 2016 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin received Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St. Petersburg today for a meeting that put both nations on the path of reconciliation, and economic and strategic cooperation throughout Southwest and Central Asia, especially in regard to Syria.

"Cooperation with Russia will help solve issues in the region," Erdogan said in a joint briefing before his meeting with President Putin.

Speaking to the media at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, Putin said:

"We are against all kinds of coup attempts. 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 said, referring to the July 15 coup attempt.

Putin is quoted by TASS as having said of their meeting, "We had a substantial and, I would like to stress, constructive conversation on the entire spectrum of bilateral ties, and on the international agenda.... The top priority task is to reach the pre-crisis level of bilateral cooperation.... Russia is ready for such work."

Erdogan agreed: "Our region has political expectations of Turkey and Russia. Turkey-Russia ties have entered into a very different and positive phase."

Testifying to the importance of their meeting and the broadness of the talks, Erdogan was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu, as well as four other Turkish ministers, the Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party Mehdi Eker, and Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan.

On Syria, Putin said:

"We believe that democratic transformations can be achieved only by democratic means. This is our position of principle."

Since Russia and Turkey had not always seen eye to eye on Syria, they decided to have a separate discussion of the issue with the foreign ministers and security service representatives, Putin said. "I think it is possible to align our views and approaches" on Syria, he told reporters. "We are going to use this common approach as the basis for searching for a mutually acceptable common solution." And,

"There is common understanding that combatting terrorism is the most important element of our joint work; we will discuss it in more detail."

Regarding the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, to bring gas from Russia to Turkey, and thence to Greece and Europe, Putin said,

"We viewed the Turkish Stream from the very beginning as an opportunity of broadening our cooperation in the gas sphere with Turkey and with Europe and not as an alternative to the South [Stream project]. A segment of the Turkish Stream was stipulated exclusively for domestic consumers in Turkey in view of rising demand and growing economy of the Republic of Turkey. This segment shall not be subject to any doubt, and its implementation may start in the nearest future."

On the sidelines, an agreement was reached between the state-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Turkish construction and investment firm Rönesans Holding, to expand cooperation and invest up to $400 million in joint healthcare, construction, and infrastructure projects.

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