17:45 GMT22 October 2020
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    Turkey will remain an important NATO ally despite the crackdown inside the country and its newest rapprochement with Russia, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in St. Petersburg earlier in the day for talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, in what is his first overseas trip after last month’s failed coup.

    "It is good to see [Turkey and Russia] moving closer together after the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey last year. But I do not expect the two nations to grow so close that Russia can offer an alternative to NATO’s security partnership. Turkey is an important NATO partner," Steinmeier told the German newspaper Bild.

    NATO country flags wave outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday July 28, 2015
    © AP Photo / Geert Vanden Wijngaert
    Relations between Moscow and Ankara hit rock bottom last November after a Turkish jet shot down a Russian plane on the Syrian border. Their ties started warming up again after the Turkish president offered his condolences to the family of the slain Russian pilot in June.

    Simultaneously, a failed coup attempt in Ankara on July 15 triggered a massive crackdown on the Turkish judiciary, military and media. It cooled Turkey’s relationship with its Western allies who condemned the purge.


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