Putin offers Turkey closer ties

MOSCOW - Russia is ready to restore economic co-operation and other ties with Turkey, President Vladimir Putin has told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St Petersburg.

It is Mr Erdogan's first foreign visit since an attempted coup last month.

Mr Erdogan thanked Mr Putin, saying "your call straight after the coup attempt was very welcome".

Russian-Turkish relations soured last November when Turkey shot down a Russian bomber on the Syrian border.

The visit comes as Turkey's ties with the West have cooled over criticism of Mr Erdogan's purge of alleged coup-plotters.

Before leaving Turkey, Mr Erdogan referred to President Putin as his "friend" and said he wanted to open a new page in relations with Russia.

"This visit strikes me as a new milestone in our bilateral relations, starting again from a clean slate," Mr Erdogan told Russia's Tass news agency.

Mr Putin said their talks would cover "the whole range of our relations... including restoring economic ties, combating terrorism".

After Turkey shot down the Su-24 jet Russia imposed trade sanctions and suspended Russian package tours to Turkey.

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