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Erdogan heads to Saudi Arabia to discuss Syria, crisis in relations with Russia

December 29, 2015, 8:57 UTC+3 ANKARA
Issues linked to the anti-terrorism effort of the 34-member Islamic military coalition, which was set up by the Saudi Arabian leadership in mid-December, will also be on agenda
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

© EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT, Archive

ANKARA, December 29. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to discuss Syria, economic issues and current tensions with Russia during his official visit to Saudi Arabia on December 29-30, the Turkish leader’s chancellery has said.

Erdogan and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud will also discuss issues linked to the anti-terrorism effort of the 34-member Islamic military coalition, which was set up by the Saudi Arabian leadership in mid-December.

Relations between Russia and Turkey deteriorated after the incident on November 24 when a Turkish F-16 fighter jet brought down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, which, Ankara alleges, violated the country’s airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian Defense Ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory and had never violated Turkey’s airspace.

Moscow has announced economic sanctions against Turkey over the attack that President Vladimir Putin has described as "stab in Russia’s back" delivered by terrorists’ accomplices.

Turkey is trying to find the way to diversify the sources of natural gas imports. Ankara gets around 50% of gas from Russia. Saudi Arabia may help Turkey reduce its dependence on Russian energy sources.

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