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MOSCOW (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Russia Friday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin anticipated to give attention to a grain deal brokered by Turkey, prospects for talks on ending hostilities in Ukraine, and the state of affairs in Syria.

Talking in the beginning of their assembly at Putin’s Black Sea residence in Sochi, Erdogan famous that their negotiations will assist “put forward the role that Turkey and Russia play in the region.”

Final month, Turkey and the United Nations helped dealer agreements between Russia and Ukraine clearing the way in which for Ukraine to export 22 million tons of grain and different agricultural merchandise caught in its Black Sea ports ever since Moscow despatched troops into the nation greater than 5 months in the past. The offers additionally enable Russia to export grain and fertilizer.

Three extra ships carrying hundreds of tons of corn left Ukrainian ports Friday following the departure of the primary vessel earlier this week.

Putin thanked Erdogan on Friday for serving to negotiate the grain agreements, noting its significance for a lot of nations around the globe. “It’s an acute issue for many developing countries, which face major problems with food and fertilizers,” he mentioned.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov instructed reporters that the talks in Sochi will enable Putin and Erdogan to evaluation the implementation of the grain deal. He added that the 2 leaders may even talk about the state of affairs in Ukraine and in Syria.

In March, Turkey hosted a spherical of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators who mentioned a attainable deal to finish the hostilities. However the talks fell aside after the assembly in Istanbul, with Russia and Ukraine blaming one another for the dearth of progress.

NATO-member Turkey and Russia have a posh relationship. Whereas the 2 nations help opposing sides in Syria and Libya, they cooperate carefully on protection, vitality and commerce offers. Their relationship has pissed off Turkey’s Western allies, who had been notably aggravated by Ankara’s buy of a complicated Russian air protection system.

Turkey has supplied Ukraine with drones, which performed a major position in deterring Russian advance within the early stage of the battle, however it hasn’t joined sanctions with Russia.

Putin famous that Russian-Turkish commerce doubled within the first 5 months of the yr in comparison with the identical interval final yr. The surge mirrored Moscow’s rising give attention to ties with Ankara because it confronted bruising Western sanctions.

Amid a significant financial disaster with official inflation hitting almost 80%, Turkey additionally more and more depends on Russia for commerce and tourism. It additionally will depend on Russia for pure gasoline imports and Russia’s atomic company is constructing Turkey’s first nuclear energy plant in Akkuyu.

Talking in the beginning of Friday’s talks in Sochi, Erdogan emphasised the significance of the nuclear plant undertaking, expressing hope that it’ll face no delays. He famous that the nuclear energy plant would provide 10% of the nation’s vitality wants.

Erdogan added that the talks would open a “very different page” on vitality offers, tourism, transportation and regional points.”

Russia-Turkey relations hit a low level in 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane close to the Syrian border and Moscow responded by halting tourism to Turkey and banning imports of fruit and greens and different gadgets from Turkey.

Whereas Moscow and Ankara have backed the alternative sides within the Syrian battle, with Russia shoring up President Bashar Assad’s authorities with Iranian help whereas Turkey supported the opposition, the 2 nations cooperated carefully to barter a cease-fire deal in northwestern Syria.

Turkey now expects Moscow to green-light a Turkish operation into northern Syria in opposition to Kurdish militants whom Turkey considers terrorists.

Chatting with Putin Friday, Erdogan voiced hope that their dialogue on Syria would “bring relief to the region.”

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Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul, Turkey.

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