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Putin: Russia-Turkey Relations ‘Being Re-established Quickly'

  • VOA News

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2017. The talks focused on Syria, where Russia and Turkey have launched a joint mediation effort and coordinated their military action against the Islamic State group.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russian-Turkish relations are strengthening as the two countries seek ways to reduce the scale of fighting in the six-year Syrian conflict.

"We are very happy that connections between our countries are being re-established quickly," Putin told reporters as he hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow. "We are actively working on solving the most serious crisis, first of all the Syrian one."

Russia and Turkey worked closely to broker a cease-fire in Syria in December. In addition to co-sponsoring two negotiating sessions this year between the Syrian government and the opposition, they collaborated on a campaign to neutralize the Islamic State militant group in Syria.

Their increasingly close relationship comes after the two nations supported opposing sides in Syria, with Russia assisting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey throwing its support behind some Syrian opposition forces.

Three Turkish soldiers were accidentally killed last month in a Russian air raid, but it did not derail military coordination between the two countries.

Top military officials from Russia, Turkey and the U.S. met earlier this week in the Turkish city of Antalya in an apparent attempt to prevent other such incidents.

The military officials also took steps to build trust between Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces, U.S.-allied Kurdish troops and Russian-supported Syrian government forces. All of the forces are battling their way toward Islamic State group’s de facto capital of Raqqa.

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