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Putin visits Ankara as Russia-Turkey ties deepen

 

ANKARA - Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Turkey on Thursday for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Iraq, Syria and Turkey's decision to purchase a Russian-made missile defense system.

 

Putin's visit comes as Turkey and Russia are deepening ties in a turnaround for the two nations, which have backed opposing sides in Syria and nearly came to blows over Turkey's downing of a Russian plane in 2015.

 

Turkish television had a live broadcast of Putin's arrival in Ankara, the capital, showing the Russian leader shaking hands with a line of Turkish and Russian officials after stepping off his plane.

 

Moscow sides with Syrian President Bashar Assad while Turkey has supported his foes since the start of the Syrian war six years ago. Russia and Turkey, together with Iran, are now working on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria that are credited with having helped reduce the fighting.