Putin, Erdogan sign gas deal, trade agreement and announce military cooperation

Leaders meet in Istanbul, sign trade agreement and TurkStream gas deal; Both leaders agree to cooperation between military and intelligence agencies

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the World Energy Congress in Istanbul on Monday, the leaders signing agreements for the TurkStream natural gas pipeline and trade deals. The leaders also spoke about military and intelligence cooperation in Syria.

It is the first official visit between Russian and Turkish officials since the downing of a Russian warplane in November of 2015.

The leaders announced following their meeting that Turkey and Russia will move forward with the TurkStream pipeline which will provide natural gas from Russia to Turkey under the Black Sea. Russia, in return, has agreed to lift import barriers on agricultural goods from Turkey, the restrictions placed following the downing of the Russian warplane last year.

Erdogan and Putin reportedly spoke about plans for the Turkish buffer zone on the border with Syria, as well agreed to increase cooperation between their “countries’ militaries and intelligence agencies”. Putin stated in a short press conference following their meeting “Both Russia and Turkey stand for the earliest cessation of bloodshed in Syria. In Russia we think that the switch to a political settlement must happen as soon as possible.”

Erdogan stated on the developments “I am a firm believer that the normalization process between Turkey and Russia will go ahead full steam,” adding that “We [Russia and Turkey] will come together with our foreign ministries and top military leaders and intelligence officers.”