Erdogan, Putin to discuss Syria in Sochi – Turkish officials

By Orhan Coskun

ANKARA – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will visit Russia later this month for talks with President Vladimir Putin on the violence in northwestern Syria, where Moscow and Ankara support opposing camps, two officials said on Friday Turkish.

Turkey supports fighters who sought to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, while Russia helped consolidate Assad after a decade of conflict.

Both sides complained of violations of a truce agreed 18 months ago in the northwestern Idlib region, the last remaining rebel stronghold in Syria, where Ankara says two Turkish soldiers were killed during an attack on Saturday.

“The main item on the agenda is Syria, namely Idlib,” a senior Turkish official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, of the talks scheduled for the Russian resort of Sochi. “The conditions set out in the Idlib agreement have not been fully implemented. “

The March 2020 deal follows weeks of fighting that brought Turkey and Russia closer to conflict and displaced nearly a million people.

“There should be no further instability in Syria,” another Turkish official told Reuters.

Erdogan’s planned two-day visit will follow his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, officials said, without specifying exact dates.

ZONES OF COOPERATION

Despite supporting opposing sides in the Syrian and Libyan conflicts, Turkey and Russia have forged close cooperation in the defense, energy and tourism sectors.

NATO The Turkish member has purchased Russian S-400 air defenses, resulting in US sanctions against Turkish defense industries, and is in talks with Russia to possibly purchase a second batch.

The two Turkish officials said this would be discussed, along with energy projects and tourism.

Ankara and Moscow were rivals in Nagorno-Karabakh in the fighting between Azeri and Armenian forces last year. While Russia has negotiated a ceasefire between Turkey-backed Azerbaijan and Armenia, it is working with Ankara to monitor it.

Turkey also angered Russia earlier this year when it sold Turkish drones to Ukraine amid tensions in the Donbass region, and later to Poland in the first such sale to a NATO member.

The official said Nagorno-Karabakh and drone sales would be discussed in Sochi, while the senior official said continued defense cooperation could be discussed.

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