Ending the battle in Ukraine and beginning a brand new one in Syria are anticipated to dominate talks on Friday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan will likely be driving excessive from the diplomatic success of serving to orchestrate the resumption of Ukrainian grain shipments throughout the Black Sea when he visits Sochi for his second talks with Putin in simply over two weeks.
However there are tensions. The Turkish chief was advised by Putin in Tehran final month that Russia stays against any new offensive that Turkey may be planning towards Kurdish militants in northern Syria.
Analysts consider these strains kind a part of the “aggressive cooperation” that has outlined the 2 leaders’ relation over the previous 20 years.
“Russia’s battle on Ukraine has restored Turkey’s self picture as a key geopolitical participant and given Erdogan extra visibility than at any time in the previous few years,” European Council of Overseas Relations fellow Asli Aydintasbas wrote in a report final week.
“Most Turks assist their nation’s balancing act and quasi-neutral place between the West and Russia.”
Makes an attempt by NATO member Turkey to stay impartial within the face of Moscow’s historic standoff with the West over Ukraine are beginning to repay.
Months of Turkish efforts noticed Moscow and Kyiv signal a UN-backed settlement in Istanbul final month to renew grain deliveries from Ukrainian ports.
The primary ship from Ukraine crossed Istanbul on Wednesday. Three extra are anticipated to to set sail Friday underneath a landmark deal designed to alleviate a worldwide meals disaster brought on by the battle.
Turkey needs to translate this success into truce talks in Istanbul between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We mentioned if the grain settlement could possibly be an event for a sustainable ceasefire,” Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu mentioned after talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Asia on Wednesday.
Complicating these efforts are repeated threats by Erdogan to launch a brand new navy operation in Syria — a rustic the place Russian and Turkish pursuits conflict.
Russia’s military helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad survive a decade-long riot by teams backed by Turkey.
However Erdogan is threatening to invade northern Syria to determine a buffer zone that pushes out Kurdish teams he hyperlinks to “terrorists” waging an insurgency towards the Turkish state.
Putin advised Russian media in Tehran he nonetheless has “sure disagreements, clearly” with Erdogan about Syria.
“In most probability, [Friday’s] assembly has one thing do with a potential incursion into Syria, for which Turkey didn’t get a inexperienced mild from Russia — or from Iran, for that matter,” mentioned overseas affairs analyst Soli Ozel of Istanbul’s Has College.
“Russia must get one thing in return,” Ozel added.
Some Turkish media speculate that what Putin actually needs is drones.
Turkey has been supplying Kyiv with deadly Bayraktar aerial automobiles which have proved efficient in destroying Russian armored columns throughout the Ukrainian battle zone.
U.S. officers say a Russian group has visited Iran to scope out the acquisition of a whole lot of drones for its personal forces in Ukraine.
Erdogan has added to the intrigue by telling his cupboard that Putin requested him in Tehran to begin promoting the Bayraktars to Russia.
A senior Turkish official later mentioned that Erdogan interpreted the suggestion as a joke.
However Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to lend credence to the concept.
“Army and technological cooperation are all the time on the 2 international locations’ agenda,” Peskov advised reporters.
One unlikely supply of stress is how the 2 leaders — famend for being chronically late — will really meet.
Erdogan made Putin stand in place for practically 50 seconds earlier than strolling out to greet him in Tehran.
A Turkish state information company digicam zeroed in on Putin’s fidgeting face your entire time.
Many interpreted this as payback for the time Putin made Erdogan watch for practically two minutes at a gathering in 2020.