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Putin and Erdoğan to sign Turkish Stream deal

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Paying Turkey a visit on Monday for the first time since a crisis erupted over a downed jet, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his intention to develop the Turkish Stream project, a natural gas pipeline running from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkey, as Turkey announced an upcoming deal on the project.

Following a meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an announcement saying that the two countries would strike a deal before the end of the 23rd World Energy Congress in İstanbul.

Arriving in İstanbul to attend the congress, Putin said Russia had been supplying natural gas to Europe for almost 50 years, adding that together with its Turkish partners, they have been talking about the need to develop the Turkish Stream project.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who extended an apology to Russia after downing a Russian jet in November 2015 for violating Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, in an effort to mend fences joined Putin and said Turkey also views Turkish Stream positively. The project aims to transport Russian natural gas to Europe through Turkey and was first mentioned by Putin in 2014.

Despite a severe crisis in bilateral relations after the jet incident, the relations got back on track with Erdoğan’s visit to Moscow in September following his letter of apology in June. Russia had halted charter flights to Turkey and imposed sanctions on trade after Turkey downed its jet over Syria. The two countries have conflicting approaches to the crisis in Syria; yet, economic relations are strong as Russia is building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.

Putin has been openly supportive of Erdoğan following a failed coup in Turkey. During his visit on Monday, the Russian premier expressed admiration for his handling of the crisis sparked by the attempted coup on July 15.

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