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Putin to visit Turkey in December

Oct. 11, 2012 at 11:57 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Turkish officials said Thursday they expected Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the country in December.

Putin was expected to visit Ankara next week but Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Russian president rescheduled his visit to Dec. 3, reports Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman.

Putin's visit was to be in coordination with a high-level cooperation council established in 2010.

Moscow this week objected to the grounding by Turkish authorities of a Syrian Air A-320 Airbus en route from Moscow to Damascus on suspicion it was carrying military equipment to Syria. Embroiled in civil war, Syria counts the Russian military as one of its major arms suppliers.

Ankara said intelligence information suggested the plane was carrying cargo considered illegal under international aviation rules.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying the Kremlin was concerned about Ankara's decision to ground the airliner for several hours.

"Russia insists on an explanation of such behavior with regard to the Russian nationals (on board) and demands that measures be taken to prevent any such incidents happening in the future," he said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Putin's decision to delay his visit until December "has nothing to do with any crisis."

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