Turkey's most senior military official and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar went to Russia yesterday for a meeting with his counterpart Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the head of Russia's military and first deputy defense minister. The Turkish Armed Forces' statement said Akar and Gerasimov would discuss "military cooperation and regional issues."
On Sept. 15, the two met in Turkey and the meeting was the highest-level military contact between the countries since the crisis in relations last year. Gerasimov's presence in Ankara was seen as an important sign of the healing ties between the two countries.
Relations hit a low in November 2015 after Turkish jets downed a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border for violating Turkish airspace. Turkey provided radar data that the Russian planes breached the border while Moscow insisted that the warplane had not crossed. In the beginning, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin exchanged harsh criticisms and ultimatums. The Kremlin directed accusations at Ankara and imposed sanctions on various Turkish industries.
The relationship entered a positive new phase following the Aug. 9 meeting between Erdoğan and Putin in St. Petersburg.
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