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Putin accepted Erdoğan’s invitation to visit Turkey, Kremlin says

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation from his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to visit Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The visit will take place as soon as the pandemic and the schedules of both leaders permit, Peskov told reporters at a daily briefing in Moscow.

“President Putin gratefully accepted this invitation. And they [both leaders] agreed that as soon as the pandemic situation and their schedules allow, he will definitely take advantage of this invitation,” Peskov said.

Peskov noted that there has been “a certain pause” due to the pandemic in the meetings of an intergovernmental commission and the Russian-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council, headed by the two presidents.

The issue was discussed several times in recent presidential contacts, and Erdoğan said he was ready to host all these events in Turkey, Peskov said.

The Russian-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council was established by national leaders in 2010 to oversee implementation of political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian projects.

Erdoğan and Putin periodically speak by phone and have had a number of mutual visits in recent years. Erdoğan has a close working relationship with Putin despite disagreeing with the Russian leader on multiple fronts.

He said in televised remarks on Wednesday that it would be unwise for Russia to attack Ukraine and that in that event Turkey would do what is necessary as a NATO member.

The Turkish president has been saying that he is ready to meet Putin in a bid to ease soaring tensions over Ukraine. Yet, the Kremlin has been cool to his past attempts at mediation because of Turkey’s supply of combat drones to Kyiv.

Turkey has previously proposed hosting talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials in İstanbul under a peace format overseen by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Meanwhile, Erdoğan is expected to travel to Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in early February.

NATO member Turkey backs Ukraine’s ambition to join the Western defense alliance.

It never recognized Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula and has signed several important defense contracts with Kyiv.

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