>> This handshake perhaps more cause for concern for Turkey's western partners. Meeting in Ankara on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin says serious war will end soon with the help of his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan. They've agreed to maintain de-escalation zones in Syria. Among the defacto conditions Putin says, will put an end to the six year conflict.
Also on the table, a recent referendum on independence for Iraqi Kurds. Turkey outright opposes it. Moscow has held its counsel. Reuters' Dave Dolan in Istanbul says the meeting comes as Ankara continues to look for other suitors than the west.>> I don't think you could say that it's evidence of Erdogan taking a further step away from the west.
But I do think it is a very clear reminder that President Tayyip Erdogan is looking for areas where he can cooperate with the Russians and as well as Iran. Next week he travels to Iran.>> Here Putin and Erdogan might find common grounds but not long ago they were at loggerheads.
Putin has introduced trade restrictions against Turkey. After Ankara shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border in 2015. But a lot's change since then. Erdogan's crackdown in the wake of an attempted coup has drawn unwelcome critique from the EU and US. Just before Thursday's meeting, Turkey, a NATO member, signed a controversial weapons deal.
>> And Turkey has agreed to buy an air missile defense system from Russia. This has caused widespread concern among Turkey's NATO partners that the country with the second largest army in NATO may be moving away from the alliance.>> The Turkish President has told Reuters that its position in NATO has not been weakened by the deal, and that it rejects the idea that it's turning away from the west.