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 a grain cargo deal between Moscow and Kyiv and as a brand new Turkish army intervention in Syria stays a risk.

The summit with Vladimir Putin is available in the identical week {that a} ship carrying Ukraine grain was capable of set sail, the primary for the reason that battle started, below an settlement between the warring sides organized by the United Nations and Ankara.

The Turkish chief’s worldwide credentials have been bolstered by the settlement that resumes exports of Ukrainian and Russian agricultural merchandise, easing the menace to international meals safety.

Erdogan’s journey – his eighth to Russia for the reason that begin of 2019 – follows a three-way assembly with Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran final month.

In response to Ankara, regional and international developments can be on the agenda, in addition to bilateral ties.

“By advantage of its function within the grain deal, Turkey has succeeded in positioning itself as Russia’s diplomatic conduit to the worldwide group,” mentioned Eyup Ersoy, visiting analysis fellow on the Institute of Center Japanese Research, King’s Faculty London.

“This diplomatic rearrangement has shifted the relational asymmetry extra in Turkey’s favour and is predicted to curtail, to a point, Russian resistance in opposition to Turkish insurance policies and initiatives in problems with frequent concern.”

Analysts mentioned Turkey’s principal focus could be Moscow’s acquiescence – or at the least its lack of opposition – to a Turkish army operation in northern Syria.

Russia, a key backer of President Bashar al-Assad, controls many of the north Syrian air area.

Erdogan raised the prospect of one other operation in opposition to Syrian Kurdish fighters in Could.

“We’re decided to eradicate the evil teams that concentrate on our nationwide safety from Syria,” he reiterated throughout the Tehran summit two weeks in the past.

Tal Rifaat and Manbij, cities west of the Euphrates river managed by the Folks’s Safety Models (YPG), are possible targets.

The Syrian group is linked to the Kurdistan Staff’ Occasion (PKK), which has waged a 38-year armed rebellion in opposition to Turkey. The PKK is taken into account a “terror” group by Turkey, the USA and the European Union.

Ankara has launched 4 cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and controls land within the north with the aim of pushing away the YPG and establishing a 30-km (19-mile) safe zone.

An incursion in October 2019 into northeast Syria in opposition to the YPG drew widespread worldwide condemnation.

“Erdogan desires a inexperienced mild for a army operation in Syria,” mentioned Kerim Has, a Turkish political analyst based mostly in Moscow.

“As we noticed on the Tehran summit, Iran and Russia are in opposition to this operation however I believe Erdogan can persuade Putin. Many issues rely on the home state of affairs in Turkey as a result of Erdogan desires to launch the operation earlier than the elections so he can consolidate at the least a number of share factors within the vote.”

Turkey is experiencing its worst financial disaster in 20 years – annual inflation hit 79.6 % on Wednesday – and Erdogan faces presidential and parliamentary elections by June subsequent 12 months.

The Kremlin might ease this instability, particularly by pure gasoline. Russia equipped Turkey, which depends on vitality imports, with 45 % of its gasoline wants final 12 months.

“Turkey desires to maintain its vitality flows from Russia over the winter whereas sustaining financial cooperation to alleviate its difficulties and opening a [currency] swap settlement or getting funding from Russia,” mentioned Emre Caliskan, analysis fellow on the London-based Overseas Coverage Centre.

“Erdogan might current this as a victory to the Turkish public and maybe alleviate the excessive meals and vitality costs which are more likely to current a problem within the coming elections.”

Nonetheless, it stays to be seen whether or not this may be sufficient to win over voters.

“We’ve seen these operations in Syria earlier than they usually don’t do something to assist us,” mentioned Istanbul tobacconist Cemil Sener, 39.

“Folks know these are simply ploys to present the TV stations one thing optimistic to report. And I don’t see how the Russians can actually assist our economic system whereas they’re being sanctioned by the West.”

Erdogan and Putin might also talk about the potential for Turkey sharing its armed aerial drone experience with Russia.

Bayraktar TB2 drones offered to Ukraine have proved to be extremely efficient in opposition to Russian forces.

Final month, Erdogan reportedly mentioned Putin had instructed organising a drone manufacturing facility in Russia throughout their Tehran assembly.

The Kremlin mentioned final week that “technical and army cooperation” could be on the agenda at Sochi, a sign of Russia’s curiosity in procuring Bayraktars, in line with Ersoy.

“The latest information on the Russian curiosity to amass Iranian drones is indicative of the urgency of the matter for Moscow,” he added.

Nonetheless, such a transfer would undermine the principle plank of Turkish assist for Ukraine in addition to increase eyebrows amongst fellow NATO members.

Earlier this month, the pinnacle of Baykar, which makes the Bayraktar TB2 drones dominated out supplying them to Moscow.

“If Turkey was to additional take part with Russia in army issues at a time when Russia is taken into account the best menace to NATO, it might critically harm relations with the West,” Kerim Has mentioned.

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