World

MOSCOW (Web Desk) – The leaders of Russia and Turkey have patched up a damaging quarrel, pledging to restore close economic relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian trade sanctions on Turkey would be phased out “step by step”.

“The priority is to get back to the pre-crisis level of co-operation,” he told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St Petersburg.

Their relations soured last November when Turkey shot down a Russian bomber on the Syrian border, BBC reported.

It is Mr Erdogan’s first foreign visit since an attempted coup last month. He has since launched a far-reaching purge of the armed forces and other state institutions.

Speaking in St Petersburg Mr Erdogan thanked Mr Putin, saying a call from the Russian leader after the coup “meant a lot psychologically”.

He said, “the Moscow-Ankara friendship axis will be restored”.

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

Now Russia has decided to resume those package tours – an important source of income for Turkish resorts.

On the Syria conflict, Mr Putin acknowledged big differences with Mr Erdogan, but said: “we will look for solutions”.