Erdogan to address Putin on Ukraine and Syria

The talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Friday are expected to be marked by the end of the war in Ukraine and the start of a new war in Syria.

When Erdogan visits Sochi for his second meeting with Putin in just over two weeks, he will benefit greatly from the diplomatic success of helping arrange the resumption of Ukraine’s grain shipments in the Black Sea.

But there are tensions. Putin told the Turkish leader in Tehran last month that Russia opposes any new offensive Turkey may plan against Kurdish militants in northern Syria.

Analysts believe these tensions are part of the “competitive collaboration” that has defined the two leaders’ relationship over the past 20 years.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine has restored Turkey’s self-image as a key geopolitical player and has given Erdogan more visibility than ever before in the past few years,” Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in a report last week.

“Most Turks support their country’s balancing act and semi-neutral position between the West and Russia.”

– Ceasefire talks –

NATO member Turkey’s attempts to remain neutral in the face of Moscow’s historical standoff with the West on Ukraine are beginning to bear fruit.

Months of Turkish efforts have seen Moscow and Kiev sign a UN-backed agreement to resume grain deliveries from Ukrainian ports in Istanbul last month.

The first ship from Ukraine passed Istanbul on Wednesday. Three more are expected to depart Friday as part of a key deal designed to alleviate the global food crisis caused by the war.

Turkey wants to turn this success into the ceasefire talks to be held in Istanbul between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We discussed whether the grain deal would be an opportunity for a sustainable ceasefire,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said after meeting in Asia with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on Wednesday. said.

Complicating these efforts are Erdogan’s repeated threats to launch a new military operation in Syria, where Russian and Turkish interests clash.

The Russian military helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad survive a decade-long insurgency by groups backed by Turkey.

Erdogan, however, is threatening to invade northern Syria to establish a buffer zone that pushes out Kurdish groups linked to the “terrorists” rising against the Turkish state.

Putin told Russian media in Tehran that he still has “obviously some disagreements” with Erdogan over Syria.

“Most likely, the (Friday’s) meeting has to do with a possible attack on Syria, where Turkey has not received the green light from Russia or Iran,” said Soli Ozel, a foreign relations analyst from Has in Istanbul. University.

“Russia will have to get something in return,” said Private.

– Waiting for the game –

Some Turkish media think that what Putin really wants is drones.

Turkey supplies Kiev with deadly Bayraktar aircraft that have proven effective in destroying Russian armored columns throughout the Ukrainian war zone.

US officials said a Russian team visited Iran to purchase hundreds of drones for its own forces in Ukraine.

Erdogan added to the intrigue by telling his cabinet that he wanted Putin to start selling Flag-bearers in Tehran to Russia.

A senior Turkish official later said Erdogan interpreted the proposal as a joke.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov seemed to reassure the idea.

“Military and technological cooperation is always on the agenda of the two countries,” Peskov told reporters.

A possible source of tension is how the two leaders, known for being chronically late, will actually meet.

Erdogan had Putin stand in place for about 50 seconds before heading out to greet Putin in Tehran.

A Turkish state news agency camera constantly focused on Putin’s wiggly face.

Many interpreted this as revenge for the time Putin made Erdogan wait nearly two minutes at a meeting in 2020.


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