Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Konstantin palace outside St.Petersburg, Russia, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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It was Erdogan's first foreign trip since last month's failed military coup, which left Turkey's relationship with the United States and Europe badly damaged.Putin said Moscow would gradually phase out sanctions against Ankara, imposed after the Turks shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border nine months ago, and bringing ties to their pre-crisis level was the priority.Cooperation would be increased on projects including a planned $20 billion gas pipeline and a nuclear power plant to be built in Turkey by the Russians, Erdogan said, as well as between their two defense sectors.Putin told Erdogan that he hoped Ankara could fully restore order after the failed coup, saying Moscow always opposed unconstitutional actions.Erdogan's meeting with Putin was only his second with a foreign head of state since the coup, following a visit to Ankara by the Kazakh president Friday. Turkey and Russia would reinstate their annual bilateral trade target of $100 billion, Erdogan said, which had been abandoned after Russia imposed the sanctions.
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