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Putin-Erdogan Bromance Back On -- And Already Immortalized In Porcelain

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Mealtime crockery used during the visit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) to Moscow this week included a commemorative plate with a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and his Turkish counterpart standing side-by-side during a visit to Baku in 2015. (file photo)

Mealtime crockery used during the visit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) to Moscow this week included a commemorative plate with a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and his Turkish counterpart standing side-by-side during a visit to Baku in 2015. (file photo)

The rapprochement between Russia and Turkey has happened fast – from "backstabbing" to backslapping in the blink of an eye.

But not too fast to allow for the settings at a luncheon during Recep Tayyip Erdogan's fence-mending visit to St. Petersburg to feature a memento honoring his on-again relationship with Vladimir Putin: a plate showing the two presidents shaking hands.

Photographs from the mealtime meeting on August 9 show a setting with elegant black-and-gold dinnerware featuring the Russian two-headed eagle symbol -- and in the corner, a commemorative plate with a picture of Putin and Erdogan standing side-by-side during a June 2015 visit to Baku, Azerbaijan.


Dmitry Smirnov, a Kremlin correspondent for the Russian daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, reported that "nobody risked putting food on 'Putin and Erdogan' and some even took the plates as souvenirs."

Relations between historical rivals Russia and Turkey had been relatively warm under the two authoritarian leaders, but they were dogged by disagreements over the war in Syria and soured badly after Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in November.

In response, Russia imposed trade sanctions on Turkey and cut off the flow of Russian vacationers to its Mediterranean beach resorts. Putin called the downing of the warplane a "stab in the back" and demanded an apology from Erdogan, who pointedly refused.

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But the Turkish leader abruptly changed tack in late June and the countries moved to mend ties, an effort that gathered force following a failed coup, attempted on July 15 against Erdogan -- whose crackdown in its wake has strained Ankara's relations with the United States and European Union.

LifeNews, a tabloid-style Russian news website with links to state security services, said that few visiting leaders are honored with such plates. It said the most recent such tribute was to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who visited Russia in August 2015.

Reuters photographs of souvenirs in Damascus show plates bearing portraits of Bashar al-Assad and Putin, a key ally in the Syrian president's war against opponents and rebels.

About This Blog

Using regional media and the reporting of Current Time TV's wide network of correspondents, Anna Shamanska will tell stories about people and society you are unlikely to read anywhere else.

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