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Pro-Kurdish Turkish Leader Visits Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) greets Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), during a meeting in Moscow on December 23.

The leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has criticized Ankara for shooting down a Russian warplane last month.

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), made the comment at talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on December 23.

His trip and the warm welcome he was given in Moscow are likely to unsettle Ankara following comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said last week he saw no prospect of mending ties with Turkey's leadership.

Russia imposed economic sanctions on Turkey after the November 24 incident and has sharply criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has accused the HDP of connections with armed Kurdish rebels fighting in Turkey's southeast.

Lavrov told Demirtas that Russia was ready to cooperate closely with ethnic Kurds fighting against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Based on reporting by Reuters