PUTIN EAGER TO VISIT TURKEY

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MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin is eagerly awaiting his visit to Turkey.

"I look forward to my visit to Turkey, the country I fell in love with in the recent years," the Russian President told Turkish journalists on the eve of his visit to Turkey, which was originally planned for September, but later postponed till December (because of the tragic events in Beslan).

The head of the Russian state pointed out that his impressions of Turkey drastically changed after his first visit to that country in the beginning of the 1990s.

"The stereotypes related to the general image of NATO countries as the enemy were completely destroyed by realities of life in Turkey and the positive attitude toward Russia and Russian people that I felt - the authentic attitude expressed by common Turkish citizens," the Russian President emphasized.

According to Mr. Putin, during his trip to Antalya, he and his friend rented a boat and traveled all along the coast.

"The boat had a captain and, as far as I remember two or three sailors. It was a simple vessel. Yet I was really impressed by those people. They were not politicians or businessmen. They were simple people, common Turks, but they were so friendly, so natural in their attitudes, offering their sincere friendship and help...Meeting those people was decisive for the change of my impressions about that country," the head of the Russian state underlined.

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