German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has welcomed the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Russia, dismissing media reports claiming Ankara was distancing itself from NATO.


“It is good that after the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey last year, now there is a rapprochement,” Steinmeier told German daily Bild on Tuesday.


He said closer dialogue between regional powers was important to find a political solution to Syria’s civil war.


“There won’t be a solution to the civil war in Syria without Moscow, and without Iran, Saudi Arabia or Turkey,” he said.


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today in St. Petersburg, marking the first meeting between the two leaders since Turkey’s downing of the Russian warplane last November near the Syrian border.


The high-profile meeting, which comes after the defeated July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, has been interpreted in several Western media outlets as a sign that Ankara was seeking closer ties with Moscow, amid its frustration with its Western allies.