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What Putin and Erdogan Agreed On: 10 Main Points

Trade, tourism, the trial of the killer of the Russian pilot and a future meeting  were the main topics of the first conversation in seven months between the Presidents of Russia and Turkey

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The phone conversation took place between Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan at noon on Wednesday. They hadn’t spoken to each other for almost seven months – since November 2015, when a Turkish fighter shot down the Russian strike aircraft Su-24 over Syria, causing Moscow to implement economic restrictions against Ankara.

The President of Russia had stated that he was waiting for an official apology from Turkey. And this week a letter with apologies from the Turkish president arrived at the Kremlin,  after which a first conversation between the leaders of Turkey and Russia took place. Details of the phone call were announced by Ankara immediately, suggesting that it was extremely important for Turkey. “The conversation lasted for 40-45 minutes and was constructive!”, Turkish information agencies happily reported.  

<figcaption>Putin and Erdogan meet during the G20 summit in Turkey in November 2015</figcaption>
Putin and Erdogan meet during the G20 summit in Turkey in November 2015

The Kremlin’s press service was more self-possessed; however, we learned a lot more from its report.

First, the conversation started with “the Russian President’s deep condolence in relation to the terror attack in the airport in Istanbul.”

Second, “both sides emphasized the need for international cooperation in the fight against the common terror threat.”

Third, Putin stated that Erdogan’s letter "created an opportunity to turn the crisis page in their bilateral relations and start the process of restoring Russia-Turkey cooperation.”

Fourth, Russia “expressed hope that the trial of a Turkish citizen accused in the death of the Russian pilot would be carried out fairly.”

Fifth, Putin said he “would ask the government to start negotiations with Turkish agencies to restore trade and economic cooperation.”

The sixth and most important point for tourists “was intended to remove restrictions on visiting Turkey by Russian tourists.” But it wasn’t that simple. Putin told Erdogan that it would be “desirable for the Turkish government to take further steps to ensure the security of Russian citizens.”

In the seventh point, the presidents agreed that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Turkey would meet in Sochi on July 1st.

In the eighth, Putin and Erdogan “agreed to try to meet personally soon.”

The ninth point concerns the Kremlin’s characterization: “the conversation was businesslike and constructive, aiming at the restoration of our traditionally friendly bilateral cooperation.”

The tenth point is that Turkish journalists have eagerly suggested where and when the personal meeting between Putin and Erdogan might take place. According to their sources, it could happen in September in China at the summit of the Group of Twenty. Between now and then, more phone conversations are expected.

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