Preparations under way for Putin to visit Turkey in October: Kremlin

Russia's President Putin interacts with Turkey's President Erdogan as they pose for a group picture during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Wednesday that preparations were under way for President Vladimir Putin to visit Turkey in October, a further sign that Moscow is keen to restore full political, trade and economic ties with Ankara.

Relations between the two nations were plunged into crisis in November last year after NATO member state Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border. Russia responded by imposing economic sanctions on Turkey.

In June, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan expressed regret for the downing of the Russian plane. In August, he met Putin in St Petersburg where the two men agreed to gradually restore full-scale cooperation.

Asked on Wednesday whether Putin would visit Turkey next month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he did not rule out such a possibility before indirectly confirming such a visit was planned.

“Once all preparatory work has been finalised, we will issue a relevant statement,” Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

Peskov did not say what date the visit might take place.

The World Energy Congress is due to take place in Istanbul from Oct. 9-13.

Russia has said it hopes to sign an agreement with Turkey in October on the implementation of the TurkStream gas export project in which Gazprom is an operator.

(Reporting by Anton Zverev/Alexander Winning; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)