Turkey’s Erdogan to meet Putin in Russia: What to expect | Russia-Ukraine war News

Istanbul, Turkey – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet his Russian counterpart on Friday in Sochi, after brokering grain shipping agreement between Moscow and Kyiv and as a new Turk military intervention in Syria remains a possibility.

The summit with Vladimir Putin came the same week when a Ukrainian grain ship could set sail, the first since the start of the conflict, under an agreement between the warring parties signed by the United Nations and Ankara. arrange.

The Turkish leader’s international credibility has been bolstered by an agreement to resume exports of agricultural products from Ukraine and Russia, reducing the threat to global food security.

Erdogan’s trip – his eighth trip to Russia since the beginning of 2019 – after a tripartite meeting with Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran last month.

According to Ankara, regional and global developments will be on the agenda, as will bilateral relations.

“Thanks to its role in the grain deal, Turkey has successfully positioned itself as Russia’s diplomatic focal point with the international community,” said Eyup Ersoy, visiting fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies. East, King’s College London, said.

This diplomatic restructuring has shifted the asymmetry in relations in Turkey’s favor and is expected to limit to some extent Russian resistance to Russian policies and initiatives. of Turkey on matters of mutual interest”.

Analysts say that Turkey’s main focus will be on Moscow’s consent – or at least no objection – to a Turkish military operation in northern Syria.

Russia, the main backer of President Bashar al-Assad, controls much of northern Syria.

Erdogan raised the prospect of another campaign against Kurdish fighters in Syria in May.

“We are determined to destroy the evil groups targeting our national security from Syria,” he reiterated during the Tehran summit two weeks ago.

Tal Rifaat and Manbij, cities west of the Euphrates do People’s Protection Unit (YPG), are targets.

The Syrian group is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a 38-year armed insurgency against Turkey. The PKK considered a “terrorist” group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Ankara has conducted four cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and controls the mainland in the north with the goal of repelling the YPG and establishing a 30-kilometer (19-mile) security zone.

An October 2019 attack into northeastern Syria against the YPG drew widespread international condemnation.

“Erdogan wants to give the green light to a military operation in Syria,” said Kerim Has, a Turkish political analyst based in Moscow.

“As we saw at the Tehran summit, Iran and Russia are both opposed to this activity but I think Erdogan can convince Putin. Much depends on the domestic situation in Turkey as Erdogan wants to launch the campaign before the election to be able to consolidate at least a few percentage points in the vote.”

Turkey is going through worst economic crisis for two decades – every year inflationary reached 79.6% on Wednesday – and Erdogan faces presidential and parliamentary elections next June.

The Kremlin can alleviate this instability, especially through natural gas. Russia supplied Turkey, which depends on energy imports, with 45% of its gas needs last year.

“Turkey wants to keep the flow of energy from Russia in the winter while maintaining economic cooperation to ease difficulties and open up a [currency] Emre Caliskan, a research fellow at the London-based Center for Foreign Policy, said the swap deal or get investment from Russia.

“Erdogan can present this as a victory for the Turkish public and could alleviate the high food and energy prices that are likely to pose a challenge in the upcoming elections.”

However, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to win over voters.

“We’ve seen these operations in Syria before and they didn’t do anything to help us,” said Cemil Sener, 39, a tobacco seller in Istanbul.

“People know these are just efforts to get the broadcasters to report positively. And I don’t see how the Russians can really help our economy while they’re under Western sanctions.”

Erdogan and Putin could also discuss the possibility of Turkey sharing armed drone expertise with Russia.

The Bayraktar TB2 drone sold to Ukraine has proven highly effective against Russian forces.

Last month, Erdogan said Putin had offered to set up a drone factory in Russia during their meeting with Tehran.

The Kremlin said last week that “technical and military cooperation” would be on the agenda in Sochi, a sign that Russia is interested in purchasing Bayraktars, according to Ersoy.

“Recent news about Russia’s interest To acquire Iranian drones, he added, is a sign of the urgency of the matter for Moscow.

However, such a move would undermine Turkey’s main plan of support for Ukraine and worry NATO member states.

Earlier this month, the head of Baykar, the drone maker Bayraktar TB2 to exclude, to expel deliver them to Moscow.

Kerim Has said: “If Turkey gets more involved with Russia in military matters at a time when Russia is seen as the biggest threat to NATO, it will seriously damage relations. with the West.

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