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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands prior to their talks in Putin's residence in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    US-Turkey Diplomatic Rift Pushes Ankara Closer to Moscow – Report

    © AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The diplomatic row between the United States and Turkey is beginning to drive Ankara closer to Moscow, posing an increasing challenge to Washington and other Western capitals, the Soufan Group said in a new report on Wednesday.

    "As relations between the US and Turkey continue to spiral, Ankara is moving ever closer to Russia," the report said. "A Russia-Turkey realignment represents a real challenge to the US and the West since Turkey remains a NATO member even as it accuses Washington of ‘economic war.’"

    The report said Turkey’s emergence as an anti-Western nation ruled by an authoritarian leader is providing leverage for what it said was Russia’s policy of promoting division within in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

    "A splintering of NATO and of Western unity and cooperation is a primary foreign policy goal of Russia — one that it is rapidly achieving," the report said.

    READ MORE: Russia Seeks to Use National Currencies in Trade With Turkey — Kremlin

    A meeting on Tuesday between Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov illustrated growing ties between Turkey and Moscow, the report explained.

    The meeting dealt with a doubling of tariffs dealt by US President Donald Trump on August 10 in retaliation for Turkey’s continued imprisonment of American Pastor Andrew Brunson, and a plunge in the Turkish lira’s value that followed, the report noted.

    Turkey also plans to purchase an air defense system from Russia, with Washington poised to retaliate by canceling planned sales of F-35 jets to Ankara, according to press reports earlier this week.


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