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Erdogan kept waiting by Putin ahead of meeting

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Turkish President Erdogan was kept waiting by Russian President Putin and his delegation before a meeting, a video circulated by Russian media show.

In the video, Erdogan and his delegation are shown to wait for around two minutes before the meeting begins. Erdogan is shown standing and eventually sitting down before being ushered into the room where he shakes Putin’s hand.

In Moscow, the Russian and Turkish heads of state met last week to ease tensions over the countries’ involvement in Syria. A ceasefire deal was met for Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian opposition.

The agreement also included a seven-mile wide corridor along the M4 highway that runs through the Idlib province eastward toward the Iraq border that will be patrolled jointly by Russian and Turkish troops, beginning March 15.

Following the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers, who back the opposition forces in Syria, on February 28 in an airstrike by Syrian government forces, backed by Russian airpower, the two sides decided to meet. On March 1, Turkish forces downed two Syrian warplanes over northwest Syria.

Russia and Turkey have been at odds in the Syrian war since Putin began backing government forces five years ago.

However, Russia and Turkey still maintain somewhat close relations as Turkey has bought Russian S-400 missile defense systems in July 2019. The deal called into question Turkey’s relationship with the US and Turkey’s credentials as a NATO member.

The fighting in Idlib has been the largest strain on Turkish-Russian relations since the crisis triggered by Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane in November 2015. As a result, Russia introduced economic sanctions as it cut the flow of its tourists to Turkey and banned most Turkish exports at the time. Turkey eventually was forced to recoil and apologize.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been displaced by the fighting in Idlib, many for the second time in the nine-year-long Syrian war.

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