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Putin To Visit Ankara This Week For Talks With Turkish, Iranian Leaders

(Right to left:) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rohani at a meeting in Sochi in November 2017.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to make a two-day visit to Turkey this week for talks with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts.

Putin is to meet with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on April 3 as part of the Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council

The Kremlin said on April 2 that bilateral trade and economic cooperation would be discussed, along with the implementation of "joint strategic projects, in particular in the energy sector."

It said the two leaders were expected to officially launch the first unit of Turkey's Akkuyu nuclear power station through a teleconference.

In April 2015, Russian state nuclear energy conglomerate Rosatom began construction of the four-unit plant with an estimated cost of $20 billion.

Akkuyu is Turkey's first nuclear power station on the Mediterranean, part of the hydrocarbon-poor state's drive to attain greater energy self-sufficiency.

The Kremlin said that Putin and Erdogan also planned to discuss "regional and international issues, including the joint fight against terrorism and the situation in Syria," ahead of a trilateral meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rohani in Ankara on April 4.

Russia, Turkey, and Iran are all deeply involved in the seven-year Syrian conflict and sponsor peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

Russia, along with Iran, has given crucial military and diplomatic backing to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government throughout the war, which began with a government crackdown on protesters and has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Turkey supports rebels who want to oust Assad.

Relations between Russia and Turkey soured badly after Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in November 2015, but Putin and Erdogan have taken steps to mend ties since then.

Ankara is negotiating the purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, raising eyebrows among Turkey's NATO allies.

With reporting by Reuters, TASS, Interfax, and AP
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