Turkey and Russia bolster ties as Putin visits Ankara

Turkey and Russia bolster ties as Putin visits Ankara
President Vladimir Putin's visit to Turkey to open construction on a Russian-build nuclear power station, has seen the two countries further strengthen ties.
2 min read
04 April, 2018
Erdogan and Putin have reaffirmed military and economic ties in Ankara [Getty]
Russia and Turkey further strengthened ties Tuesday, as President Vladimir Putin arrived in Ankara for a two-day visit.

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host Putin and Iran President Hassan Rouhani for a summit on Syria.

The two leaders used the opportunity to renew the alliance between the two countries, who have been involved in a number of bitter disputes in recent years.

Putin launched the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power station, which will be built in the Mediterranean Mersin region.

The $20 billion project that will come online in half a decade and has been a key part of Russia and Turkey's stengthening relations in recent years.

"The scale of this project is difficult to exaggerate," Putin said at the ceremony. "This marks a new stage in the development of Turkey's economy."
Turkey's president launched the project saying, "in the name of God" and added, "we are witnessing a historic moment".

When completed it will supply Turkey will 10 percent of its electricity needs and part of a wider trend in the region to develop nuclear power infrastructure.

Despite the keen relationship between the two strongmen, Russia and Turkey have had suffered over Syria.

In November 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian war plane it said had strayed into its airspace from Syria.

It led to a major diplomatic dispute between the two one-time friends.

Turkey has backed Syrian rebel groups, while Russia has is a key military and diplomatic supporter of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

When relations were finally improved between Turkey and Russia, the two countries agreed to work on the issue of Syria.

The two countries and another regime ally, Iran, have worked together on the so-called Astana peace process, which rivals the UN's own talks on Syria.

Turkey's President Erdogan said the three countries were now keen on establishing peace in Syria.

"God willing we will continue to work together... to establish Syria's stability as well as its peace and security," said Erdogan.

Putin also promised to speed up the $2 billion order by Turkey of Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.

This - and the growing ties between the two countries - has alarmed Turkey's other NATO allies.

Erdogan warned he would not listen to criticism from NATO allies about the order of the Russian-made missiles.

"This issue is now closed."

Agencies contributed to this story.