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HomeExpertsPutin's Upcoming Visit to Turkey: A Pivotal Meeting with Broad Geopolitical Implications

Putin’s Upcoming Visit to Turkey: A Pivotal Meeting with Broad Geopolitical Implications

It has been announced that Putin will visit Turkey within February. There has been a long-awaited meeting between the two leaders. From Ukraine to Palestine, from the Caucasus to Syria, there are accumulated and numerous important agenda items. Moreover, developments in trade relations require more focus than ever. The consequences of gas centrality and sanctions have skyrocketed the trade figures between the two countries.

Putin’s assistant Yuri Ushakov said preparations for the state president’s visit to Turkey in February are ongoing. My opinion is that this visit will take place within a week or ten days.

According to Ushakov, the main topic of negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be the situation in the military conflict zone in Ukraine. Although the official statements are as such, Moscow and Ankara currently find themselves on the same page in many matters.

Russia Thinks Lines are Crossed in Gaza

The most urgent issue is the Palestinian matter. Russia thinks that Israel, with the support of the USA, has crossed the lines set by the UN in Palestine and Gaza. So, Putin and Erdoğan agree on this matter. Both Ankara and Moscow have requested urgent meetings in the UN.

The establishment of a natural gas center is one of the important issues. Russia wants to increase gas flow to Turkey through this center. Turkey also views this favorably. Subsequently, it wants to combine this with gas from Azerbaijan, Iran, and other places, and sell it to Europe and the Balkans as its own commercial product.

In addition, bilateral trade, easing sanctions on Russia through Turkey, and the import of some technological and industrial products are among the topics to be discussed.

Another topic is the Zangezur Corridor between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Baku and Ankara want the corridor to be opened now. “Even if it’s (temporarily) under Russian control, it’s important that it opens.” Moscow is unlikely to reject this approach.

Ukraine issues will probably be one of the main topics of negotiation. However, there are differing views. Russia has raised its hand. It might have plans to include new regions. Therefore, it says let the war continue if it’s going to last long. The Russian economy has already been shaped for war.

Erdoğan to Reiterate ‘Mediator’ Request

Erdoğan will once again state his readiness to mediate and negotiate the cessation of hostilities in Ukrainian territory. And that will be his only contribution.

Another issue is that Moscow wants a conclusion in Syria. They say Ankara and Damascus should be in dialogue. Some positive developments have occurred but have not reached a conclusion. They say the Turkish military should stay in agreement with Damascus in some Kurdish regions but should withdraw from some settlements.

Washington has again signaled a withdrawal from Syria. But how realistic this will be is yet to be seen. If U.S. forces withdraw, would the other NATO power, Turkey, become more functional? Moscow wouldn’t want to take this risk. Therefore, it will want to prevent this.

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Arif Asalıoğlu is General Director of the International Institute of the Development of Science Cooperation in Moscow; expert in the field of Russian-Turkish relations; columnist of Informational agency REGNUM; Founder of Russian and Turkish Intellectuals Meeting.

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