Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is arriving in the Russian city of St. Petersburg to meet with his counterpart Vladimir Putin.
This will be the first time the two leaders meet since the Turkish interceptors blew up a Russian military plane in the skies over Syria in November. The incident in which one of the crew members was killed when he jumped out of a plane with a parachute, caused a diplomatic storm in the Kremlin. The second Russian soldier was killed trying to save another member of the crew on the ground.
"Today's loss was like a stab in the back" said President Putin on state television at the time. "This will have serious consequences for Russia's relations with Turkey," he promised. He wasn't kidding. Russia has blocked trade links with Ankara by banning food imports from Turkey. Putin also dealt a blow to Turkish tourism industry by stopping Charter flights, forbidding Russians to visit the resorts of Turkey. Visa-free regime in Russia was abolished for Turkish citizens, Turkish workers visa was revoked.
Within a few months, it seemed discord between Putin and Erdogan will never stop. But then, suddenly, something changed. The Turkish leader decided to go to the world with the Kremlin, writing a letter, expressing "regret" to the family of the pilot who was killed in the shootout. "Turkey's attempt to restore relations with Russia was caused by despair," said Fadi hakura, a specialist in Turkey.
"Turkey needs Russia to restore economic and trade ties. Turkey needs Russian tourists. Turkey needs Russia to try to recover part of the lost influence they had in Syria," he told CNN.
A few days after the letter of Erdogan, the foreign Ministers of the two leaders met in the resort town of Sochi. Putin abolished the sanctions for the normalization of trade relations.
sections: Politics, Region News, Accidents