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Putin gets big kiss-and-make-up gift from Erdogan

As part of fence-mending efforts with Russia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged a special status with huge financial boons for the nuclear plant the Russians are building in Turkey.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSM27W
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At his fence-mending summit with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a multibillion-dollar gesture to help overcome the crisis over Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet in November. The gesture, estimated to be worth no less than $8 billion, concerns the nuclear power plant the Russians are building in Akkuyu, southern Turkey.

Following the Aug. 9 summit in St. Petersburg, Turkish media outlets, especially the pro-government ones, dropped their anti-Russian and anti-Putin rhetoric to celebrate a “great victory” for bilateral ties. Not everyone, however, was euphoric. Hakan Aksay, a veteran Moscow correspondent for the Turkish press, commented that Putin’s trust in Erdogan had been permanently damaged and made the following observation: “In the name of the [Russian] state’s interests, Putin could well start a new 'era of friendship and cooperation' with Erdogan, the man he had accused of 'stabbing him in the back' yesterday. And actually, he did. But he didn’t call Erdogan a 'friend.' Erdogan repeatedly referred to Putin as 'a friend,' 'my dear friend' or 'my dear friend Vladimir' but never got a similar response.”

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