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 shipment deal between Moscow and Kyiv and as a brand new Turkish military intervention in Syria stays a chance.

The summit with Vladimir Putin is available in the identical week {that a} ship carrying Ukraine grain was capable of set sail, the primary because the 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 risk to world meals safety.

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

Based on Ankara, regional and world developments might be on the agenda, in addition to bilateral ties.

“By advantage of its position 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 Jap Research, King’s Faculty London.

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

Analysts mentioned Turkey’s principal focus could be Moscow’s acquiescence – or a minimum of 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 towards Syrian Kurdish fighters in Could.

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

Tal Rifaat and Manbij, cities west of the Euphrates river managed by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are probably targets.

The Syrian group is linked to the Kurdistan Staff’ Get together (PKK), which has waged a 38-year armed rebellion towards 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 towards the YPG drew widespread worldwide condemnation.

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

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

Turkey is experiencing its worst economic crisis in twenty years – annual inflation hit 79.6 p.c on Wednesday – and Erdogan faces presidential and parliamentary elections by June subsequent yr.

The Kremlin might ease this instability, particularly by means of pure fuel. Russia provided Turkey, which depends on vitality imports, with 45 p.c of its fuel wants final yr.

“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 prone 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 and so they don’t do something to assist us,” mentioned Istanbul tobacconist Cemil Sener, 39.

“Individuals know these are simply ploys to present the TV stations one thing constructive 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 can also talk about the potential of Turkey sharing its armed aerial drone experience with Russia.

Bayraktar TB2 drones bought to Ukraine have proved to be extremely efficient towards Russian forces.

Final month, Erdogan reportedly mentioned Putin had steered establishing a drone manufacturing unit 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 accordance with Ersoy.

“The current information on the Russian interest to accumulate 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 help for Ukraine in addition to increase eyebrows amongst fellow NATO members.

Earlier this month, the top of Baykar, which makes the Bayraktar TB2 drones ruled 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 risk to NATO, it could severely harm relations with the West,” Kerim Has mentioned.