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Putin to visit Turkey after presidential election in Russia: Kremlin

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The Kremlin said the expected visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey will take place no earlier than the presidential election in the Russian Federation, the Moscow-based Interfax news agency reported.

Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin’s visit to Ankara will not take place before the election, explaining that “before the election the president has a rather busy and intense schedule, and so does Mr. [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan.”

Turkey will hold local elections on March 31, while a presidential election will be held in Russia March 15–17.

“But preparations for contacts at the highest level are underway, we have talked about this many times. … These contacts will take place at a time when it best suits the schedule of both presidents,” the Kremlin speaker added.

Putin’s trip, which has been postponed twice since late last year, is expected to be his first visit to a NATO member since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russian agencies, citing government sources, previously named possible new dates as late April or early May.

Meanwhile, Putin called President Erdoğan on Monday to congratulate him on his 70th birthday, according to an announcement from the presidential communications directorate on X.

The directorate said Putin thanked Erdoğan for his contribution to the development of Turkish-Russian relations on a friendly course.

Erdoğan has managed to maintain trade and political relations with both Ukraine and Russia, allowing Russia to avoid Western sanctions while selling weapons to Ukraine.

The last meeting between Putin and Erdoğan was in September 2023 in Sochi, but they frequently speak by phone.

The last time Putin visited Ankara was in January 2020.

Since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March, accusing him of war crimes in Ukraine, the Russian leader has to be cautious during travel.

Turkey is one of the countries to which Putin can travel without concern of an arrest since the country is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, so is theoretically not obliged to take action based on an ICC arrest warrant.

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