On Wednesday in Sochi, the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran will meet. Their talks will be devoted primarily to the situation in Syria - but in itself this meeting is of far greater significance. For the first time in the 500-year history of relations between our country and its two great neighbors, a tripartite meeting is held at the top. The birth of the "Big Three TIR" will be a historic event.
On Wednesday in Sochi, the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran - Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hasan Roukhani will gather. As the Kremlin said, "we are talking about countries that are guarantors of the Syrian settlement. The agenda is Syria. "
On the eve of the presidents' talks, the heads of the chiefs of the three countries and heads of the foreign ministries will meet. Strictly speaking, it was from the meetings of the military and diplomats of the three countries that the "troika" began to form in Moscow in December of last year. At that time, Sergey Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu accepted their Iranian and Turkish counterparts. But that three was a ministerial one - and now we are talking about the meeting of the three presidents.
When Russia started a military operation in Syria two years ago, our geopolitical opponents explained this by striving to get the trump cards in bargaining with the United States for Ukraine (nonsense - but many people believed it), they predicted defeat, deterioration of relations with the Arabs and the Sunni world as a whole. The result of our operation - and it is clearly moving towards its intermediate finish - has become exactly the opposite.
We not only returned most of Syria under the control of Damascus, but also radically increased our geopolitical influence in the region, and hence, in the world. The forthcoming meeting of the presidents of the three countries that determine Syria's future - Russia, Turkey and Iran - is the best confirmation of this.
Now three presidents will discuss the Syrian settlement - which will pass as they decide. Because it is Turkey and Iran that are the main neighbors of Syria and the countries most involved in the war. And Russia is a country that has broken the course of the war.
Yes, Moscow did this together with Tehran, which initially helped with military assistance to Assad - but only after Turkey changed its mood towards Assad and it became possible to approach the end of the six-year war. Turkey began to cooperate with Russia and Iran - to force or persuade the anti-Asad forces to a truce and peace talks. In December, a large peace conference of the Syrians will meet in Sochi - to which it is necessary to gather as many representatives of the armed opposition as possible.
The future government of Syria will be formed in Damascus, but it depends on the position of the great powers on how the new Syria will be organized, what guarantees will be given to various minorities and regions. And these great powers for Syria are now three - Russia, Iran and Turkey. And they all want to preserve a single Syria - defending, of course, their own interests. And these interests are not only regional in scope.
Moreover, the fact that the three countries have converged on the topic of the Syrian settlement is even more important than the Syrian settlement itself. Why? Because the history of Russia's relations with Turkey and Iran totals half a millennium - and never before our leaders met in such a three-dimensional format. And given the role and weight of our three countries in the expanses of Eurasia, the very possibility of forming such a tripartite accord is of great importance.
Turkey and Iran are the heirs of the great empires of the past. Iran with its many thousands of years of history and the current status of a completely sovereign country, one of the centers of world Islam - and Turkey, which for several centuries was the ruler of the entire Arab world as Ottoman Empire. With both countries we met in the 16-th century - when the expansion of Russia made us neighbors.
Over the next three centuries, Russia fought a dozen times with the Ottomans, the last time in the First World War - and almost all wars ended for the Turks with losses of certain vassal territories. Starting from Astrakhan and the Crimea and ending with the Balkans. In Turkey, there are millions of descendants of the mountaineers who left the Caucasus after joining Russia, and a hundred years ago we almost openly claimed their capital, Istanbul, our Constantinople. Even after the Second World War, frightened by the possible claims of the USSR to part of its territory, Turkey was led off by the Americans under NATO's wing. That is, the Turks seemingly have a lot of reasons to be wary of us - but at the same time the Russian-Turkish rapprochement in this century is going on in all directions.
Because the Turks remember that it was Russia that helped them after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire - the British and the French had plans to divide even the current territory of Turkey. Soviet Russia supported the Atatürk, which won the country, and an independent Turkey emerged. Therefore, at the beginning of the 21 century, when Erdogan began to recreate a strong and independent Turkey, determined to regain the place of the standard-bearer of the Islamic world, he needed good relations with Russia - otherwise it would be impossible to weaken dependence on the West.
But the Iranians and the dependence on the West had zero, and they fought with us in the past only a couple of times - and all the wars with them were only a hundred years from the beginning of 18 to the beginning of the 19-th century, but at the same time, they have more to do with us than the Turks.
Because in the first half of the last century there were situations when we, to put it mildly, interfered in their internal affairs. And the fact that this happened within the framework of the struggle against the British, who were getting to us from the south, does not change much in the eyes of the Iranians. At the same time, Russians and Iranians practically do not have serious "controversial" topics and territories - as, for example, there are at the intersection of Russian and Turkic worlds (however, a large part of the Turkic world organically blended into Russia).
The victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 did not become the beginning of a great friendship - on the contrary, for a time we lost even those good relations that were with the Shah. Tehran was seen as an obstacle both in the atheism of the communist Soviet government and in our policy in Afghanistan - well, in 90, our country was considered just an appendage of the West. However, as Russia under Putin began to strengthen its independence, the Iranians' interest in us grew, and this became mutual. Our assistance to Tehran in concluding the "nuclear deal" strengthened the confidence of the two countries, the US attempt to isolate Russia even more united us, and the war in Syria made us "brothers in arms".
The potential of bilateral relations between Russia and Iran is huge - both economic and political. The same goes for Turkey, with which we can conduct the most serious projects in relation to both Europe and the Greater Middle East.
Both of these 80-million states have not only a glorious history, but also a great future. Iran is completely independent - this status has very few countries in our world. Turkey follows the path towards full sovereignty - realizing the need to abandon orientation to the West in general and Europe in particular, even questioning membership in NATO. In the coming decades, the weight of Turkey and Iran in the world, in the new system of international relations will grow - and given that they are neighbors, we can say that the coordination of actions between them will strengthen both sides.
Yes, there are many contradictions between them - from the ancient ones, such as the Sunni Shiite type, to the new ones, regional ones. But the neighbors have much more in common - not only in the past, but also in today's day. They were able to agree on Syria, they do not want to allow the Kurdish card to play against themselves, and no matter how they tried to inflate the Shiite-Sunni controversies, Ankara and Tehran were on the side of Qatar in its conflict with Saudi Arabia.
And now we see what still brings Turkey and Iran closer - this is Russia. Presidents come to visit Putin - who is interested not only in negotiating with them on Syria, but also in building strategic cooperation in general. It is clear that the three of us are much more difficult to agree on than the two of us - but the effectiveness of multilateral cooperation is much higher. And it's not even that apart from Syria, Russia, Turkey and Iran have many specific points for joint efforts, but that the three independent powers can change a lot in the world. In a stormy world that came into being during the cardinal reorganization of all the rules of the game and the shift of the center of the universe from the West to the East. More precisely, his return to where he stayed most of the history we know.
If you put Germany and France in place of Turkey and Iran - for example, the Big Three leaders of Russia, Germany and France will change the world "- then everything will become clearer for the European-oriented brains of the ordinary reader. Yes, great countries, a great history, a big role in the world today, everything is clear.
But Iran existed when there was neither a great Germany, nor France - however, there were not any. The Ottoman Empire was stronger than any European country - and owned a tangible part of Europe. In the last century, both countries were weakened - well, so did China feel unwell. But the 21-th century will be the century of Eurasia - with an emphasis on the Asian part of the continent - and Iran and Turkey will exist regardless of whether Muslims or asexual androgynes inhabit the present Europe.
At the end of November, there was one tripartite meeting - 74 years ago in Tehran the "Big Three" of Stalin - Roosevelt-Churchill gathered for the first time. The current talks in Sochi can also be called a meeting of the Big Three - let the war not be a world war, but only a Syrian one, and the scale of the Middle East, the potential of the tripartite agreement is really huge.