Putin lifts Russia’s travel restrictions to Turkey and orders trade ties to be normalised

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow and Ankara would most likely also resume cooperation in resolving the Syrian crisis.

Russian president Vladimir Putin expressed “profound condolences” to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a phone call on June 29, 2016, the day after a bombing and shooting attack at Istanbul’s main airport killed at least 41 people. Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool/AP Photo
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MOSCOW // President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday lifted Moscow’s travel restrictions to Turkey and ordered trade ties normalised after his first phone call with the Turkish president since Ankara downed a Russian jet last year.

Following the call, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow and Ankara would most likely also resume cooperation in resolving the Syrian crisis.

Moscow slapped a range of sanctions on Turkey after its shooting down of a Russian jet last November, including an embargo on some Turkish food products and a ban on charter flights and sales of package tours to the country.

“I want to start with the question of tourism ... we are lifting the administrative restrictions in this area,” said Mr Putin.

“I ask that the Russian government begins the process of normalising general trade and economic ties with Turkey.”

The breakthrough phone call by Mr Putin to Recep Tayyip Erdogan came after the Turkish strongman sent a letter to the Russian president on Monday that Moscow said contained an apology.

The Kremlin said Mr Putin expressed “profound condolences” over the Tuesday bombing and shooting attack at Istanbul’s main airport that killed at least 41 people.

The Turkish presidency, meanwhile, said that Mr Erdogan and Mr Putin “highlighted the importance of the normalisation of bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia”.

The two men are expected to meet in September on the sidelines of the forthcoming G20 summit in China for their first face-to-face talks since the start of the diplomatic row, a Turkish official said on Wednesday.

* Agence France-Presse