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Erdogan, Putin meet at G-20, seek to mend Turkey-Russia ties

Turkey, Russia normalised ties in June after Erdogan sent letter to Putin expressing regret over shooting down of Russian warplane
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Konstantinovsky Palace outside Saint Petersburg last month (AFP/file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed on Saturday the healing of relations between their nations, damaged by Ankara's shooting down of a Russian warplane last year.

Ahead of the G20 summit in China, the two leaders held a two-hour closed meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in the coastal Chinese city of Hangzhou, their first since ties between Moscow and Ankara entered a new phase following a 9 August meeting in St Petersburg, the Daily Sabah reported.

"There is still a lot to do in order to completely re-establish cooperation in all areas," Putin said after the bilateral meeting. "Turkey is going through a difficult period, fighting against terrorism in the face of serious terrorist crimes," he said.

Putin added: "I am sure that... we can go forward on our path of cooperation" once the situation in Turkey is "completely normalised".

Turkey and Russia normalised ties in June after Erdogan sent a letter to Putin expressing regret over the shooting down of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border last November that had caused an unprecedented crisis in their relations.

The following month, Erdogan survived a coup attempt by a rogue military faction and in August the Turkish leader met Putin during a highly symbolic visit to Russia, his first foreign trip since the failed coup.

On Saturday, the Turkish leader said he and Putin would take "certain measures" to move bilateral ties forward, notably on their joint TurkStream project to pipe gas to Turkey and southern Europe, which had been stalled by the diplomatic freeze.

The shooting down of the Russian fighter jet by a Turkish F-16 on the Syrian border last November saw Putin slap sanctions on Turkey and launch a blistering war of words that dealt serious damage to burgeoning ties.

The first Russian charter plane carrying tourists to Turkey since Moscow lifted its travel sanctions landed in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya on Friday.