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Russia's Putin heads to Turkey amid differences over Syria and concerns about his health
Edmonton Journal, 3 December 2012
MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin heads to Turkey on Monday for a one-day trip focused on trade that is likely to be overshadowed by the two countries' differences over Syria.
The visit to Istanbul, Putin's first trip in two months, also is expected to address concerns over his health. The unusual break in his travel schedule has fed speculation that the 60-year-old Russian leader is suffering from serious back trouble or another illness. His spokesman has attributed Putin's discomfort to a pulled muscle, and the president has appeared more mobile in recent days.