"Our joint work with Turkey and Iran on Syria brings results, the level of violence there has decreased," Vladimir Putin announced after a meeting with Turkish leader Recep Erdogan in Sochi. Relations between Moscow and Ankara "can be considered restored almost in full," the Russian president said. It's not just about the Syrian issue.
At the talks of Russian President Vladimir Putin with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including, the issue of visa-free entry was raised. This was announced by the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, to which TASS refers, according to the results of the meeting of the two heads of state. "The issue of visas has indeed been raised, and these, let's say, concerns of the Turkish side are taken into account, work continues on them," the Kremlin spokesman explained. Recall, from 1 January 2016 the year the decree of the Russian president, our country suspended the "visa-free" with Turkey, after the incident with Su-24.
In general, the presidents of Russia and Turkey during the four-hour meeting in Sochi conducted a revision of bilateral relations, said Peskov. "These are operational issues related to the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project, these include the supply of agricultural products, and other issues related to trade and economic cooperation," the press secretary of the Russian president said.
Presidents spent 2-2,5 hours negotiating one-on-one, then "revision of control points of bilateral relations" was held in an expanded format. Summarizing the meeting with the Turkish president, Vladimir Putin said:
"Our relations can be considered restored almost in full."
In turn, Erdogan noted that cooperation between the two countries, as well as his frequent meetings with Putin, attach considerable speed to the development of relations. He drew attention to the fact that in addition to personal meetings, the two presidents often communicate by phone. According to Erdogan, relations in the political, military, commercial, cultural and tourist areas are developing every day more and more.
Syria "had much more difficult negotiations"
A separate bloc highlighted the discussion of the situation in Syria and security issues. The discussion was attended by: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Russian President's Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Turkish side - Chief of the Turkish General Staff Hulusi Akar.
On Monday before his flight to Sochi, Erdogan said that Russia and the United States need to withdraw their troops from Syria and tackle the political crisis. A little later, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu explained that Erdogan's call is conditioned by the desire to develop a political settlement in Syria. Also, the President of Turkey previously told about the plan of joint action proposed by Moscow on Syrian Africa.
Erdogan separately called for the speedy implementation of an agreement on the supply of Turkish S-400 SAM systems to Turkey.
We should pay attention to the words of Erdogan after the meeting with his Russian counterpart: "I attach special importance to joint efforts in the field of the defense industry." Apparently, the Turkish leader was referring to the recent large-scale purchase of S-400.
Dmitry Peskov, responding after the talks on the question whether the presidents Vladimir spoke about Erdoğan's call for Russia and the US to withdraw troops from Syria, said: "There were much more complicated negotiations, which, of course, are not subject to disclosure."
The ground for a political solution to the Syrian question
"I would like to note with satisfaction that our joint work with Turkey and Iran as guarantors of the" Astana process "continues to bring concrete results," the Russian leader said after the meeting with Erdogan. "The level of violence has undoubtedly decreased, favorable conditions are created for promoting the inter-Syrian dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations."
"We agreed that at the moment there is a ground when we can focus on the political resolution of the issue," Erdogan said, the words of which are reported by RIA Novosti. According to the Turkish leader, in Ankara "attach special importance to the joint statement of Mr. Putin and Mr. (US President Donald) Trump in Vietnam."
The only serious conflict between Russian and Turkish interests is the war in Syria, where the parties for a long time supported the opposing forces. According to the former foreign minister of Turkey, political scientist Yashar Yakish, Ankara should eventually accept the fact of Russia's long-term presence in Syria.
"We all remember that during the Soviet Union Moscow was actively present in the region, in particular, in Syria. So if someone in Turkey thinks that Russia will leave Syria, then this is an unrealistic forecast, "the expert told Tass.
But now there is mutual understanding on the Syrian question. This year, both countries have not allowed the creation of a single "Kurdish corridor" along the Turkish border. Ankara, having received the desired buffer zone, began to draw into it detachments of the Syrian Free Army (SSA), previously occupied by Aleppo. This eventually allowed the government forces to take Aleppo under control. And the representatives of the SSA joined after this in the peace process. Putin, in turn, supported the idea of creating "zones of de-escalation", implying, among other things, a ban on air strikes on these zones.
"From the point of view of implementing foreign policy, Turkey has shown itself in Syria rather weakly. Russia is helping her in a mild form to get away from this mistake, "Sergei Markov, director of the Institute of Political Studies, a member of the Public Chamber of Russia, said in a conversation with the newspaper VZGLYAD. - Moscow participates in the settlement of the Syrian issue in such a way that the interests of Turkey and its allies are taken into account. However, Russia does its best to combine them with the interests of the Syrians themselves. She is not a direct negotiator with Turkey, but a mediator of Turkey's talks with Iran and Syria. "
According to experts, cooperation between Russia and Turkey is of paramount importance not only for the development of the economy and trade, but also for ensuring peace in the entire Middle East. Successful actions of the Russian army in Syria have turned our country into a key player in this region, without taking into account Moscow's opinion, no decisions can now be taken. This is the result of strengthening the country's defense capacity during the years of Putin's presidency.
Against the backdrop of worsening relations between Ankara and Washington
According to political scientists, for Erdogan, another visit to Russia is extremely important against the background of worsening relations between Ankara and Western countries - the United States and its European allies. Although US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that Turkey's acquisition of Russian C-400 is Ankara's sovereign decision, Washington is clearly dissatisfied with such a maneuver of its NATO partner.
And "The European Union increasingly takes the anti-Turkish position. Against this background, a maneuver begins, "Semyon Bagdasarov, director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia, told the Expert magazine. In his opinion, in order to "make Europe move", it must be shown that the Turks still can go on rapprochement with Russia
Relations between Russia and Turkey in general are developing in the course of the last 30 years, said Sergey Markov. During this time between the countries there was only one serious crisis connected with the downed Russian plane. The improvement of relations, according to Markov, is determined immediately by three reasons:
"The first reason - the progressive development is due to the fact that Turkey is emerging geopolitically from under the umbrella of NATO.
If earlier the US solved the problems of Turkey, now they do not decide, but even create new ones. Secondly, Turkey understands that a connection with the EU is impossible, therefore it is forced to look for another way. Her attention is drawn to Russia, she looks at her more seriously, meaningfully and with interest. The third is the rapid economic development of Turkey. Growth in 7-8% for 15 years. He makes Turkey an attractive trading partner. " The intensification of cooperation between Moscow and Ankara is evidenced by the outcome of the talks between Putin and Erdogan - more precisely, their economic part.
Land plot bypassing Ukraine
"Rosatom" in the near future should begin the practical stage of the project, "Putin said, commenting on the cooperation of the two countries on the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. "We plan to launch the first reactor already in 2023," the Russian leader recalled.
In turn, Erdogan stressed that Turkey attaches great importance to the timely implementation of the project, and invited the Russian president to take part in pouring the first concrete of the nuclear power plant, "if Mr. Putin's program allows." He noted that the ceremony could take place in the "next weeks". Earlier it was reported that Rosatom plans to fill the first concrete on the site of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in 2018, the launch of the first unit in 2023. The cost of the NPP construction project is about 22 billion dollars
The cooperation in the agrarian sector is also being restored. Turkish tomatoes with 1 November returned to the Russian market, albeit in part, - and only from those enterprises that checked Rospotrebnadzor. In exchange, Turkish meat again appeared in Turkish shops. In general, as Vladimir Putin noted,
"Over the past year, we had a loss in turnover of 30%, this year the growth is already at 38%."
"Today, we discussed joint measures to eliminate restrictions on other types of agricultural products," the Russian president added, recalling that "in the development of the agreements following the meeting with Mr. Erdogan in Ankara, from 30 October the import of a number of products from Turkey was renewed."
The energy partnership is developing - a solid foundation of cooperation between the two countries, first of all, in the gas sphere is laid. As you know, Russia has been supplying natural gas to Turkey for many years, providing more than half of its needs in this type of fuel. In 2016, 24,7 billion cubic meters of Russian gas was exported to Turkey. "That is, for example, cooperation on the Caucasus, energy issues and the construction sector between Ankara and Moscow should not be complicated by some problems of a political or some other nature," Yakish believes.
Thus, Turkey and Russia again seriously cooperate in the field of commerce, tourism and energy. Turkey again receives huge revenues from Russian tourism. Ankara has extended the period of visa-free stay for Russians. As for the Turkish flow, the implementation of this project is faster than expected, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday. Gazprom and Turkey are already working out a protocol on the start of construction of the land section of the Turkish Stream, which will complete the bypass of Ukraine.
"The fourth meeting of the year says that Turkey and Russia want to improve relations at the highest level. The intensity of the talks shows that our countries do not want to allow a crisis period that may arise because of problems that do not concern our countries. In this issue, the dialogue of the presidents is very important, "Professor Togrul Ismail, professor of the University of Economics and Technologies of the Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Exchange, said in an interview with the NSC correspondent.
"The role of Putin in the settlement of relations with Turkey - a huge, positive. He is a strong charismatic leader who enjoys great respect from Turkish leader Erdogan, the Turkish elite, and Turkish public opinion. Putin is an adherent of improving relations with Turkey. To improve relations, our president took this step - and forgave Erdogan for the downed aircraft, "concluded Markov.