The leaders of Russia and Turkey will discuss the situation in Syria and the export of Ukrainian grain, political analysts believe The presidents of Russia and Turkey will meet in Sochi on August 5. Experts interviewed by RBC expect that they will resolve differences over Syria and discuss the practical implementation of an agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports 24/756590282196249.webp 673w” type=”image/webp” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/resized/320xH/media/img/9/24/756590282196249.jpeg 320w” media=”(max-width: 320px)” >
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Vladimir Putin during a meeting held on July 19, 2022
Presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold talks in Sochi on August 5, where they will discuss bilateral relations and the regional agenda, Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on July 26. The next day, he clarified that the agenda of the meeting also included the export of Ukrainian grain by sea in accordance with the agreements between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN, signed on July 22 (a joint coordination center created to implement the agreements had already begun work in Istanbul), and the topic of -technical cooperation.
The last time the leaders of the two countries met on July 19 in Tehran, within the framework of the Astana format on Syria. The meeting was also attended by Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi. RBC investigated why a new meeting was needed in two weeks.
New agreements on Syria
According to the director of the Center for the Study of Modern Turkey, Amur Hajiyev, the context in which the talks will take place in Sochi is important. First of all, the expert draws attention to the agreements reached at the trilateral talks in Tehran, where the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to develop cooperation not only on the issue of the Syrian settlement, but also on other topics. However, the problems in Syria remain relevant. “Turkey has repeatedly stated that it is in full combat readiness for another operation in northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Judging by the joint statement, Russia and Iran opposed this step, — Gadzhiev commented to RBC.
The talks in Sochi are an ordinary meeting, Professor of the Department of International Relations of the Middle East Technical University of Turkey Hussein Bagci said in an interview with RBC, specifying that the initiative probably came from the Turkish leader. “While no one is ready to talk to Putin, Erdogan intends to meet with him. The negotiations in the Astana format are regarded by Ankara as a failure of Turkish diplomacy. There were very high expectations, but they were not met. The Turkish operation in Syria has been postponed as the Iranians and Russians have made it clear that they do not welcome this intervention, — Buggy explained.
Differences between Russia and Turkey regarding Syria could potentially become the basis for a new conflict between the countries, but Moscow and Ankara have accumulated experience in resolving differences, and in Sochi, the leaders of the two countries will be able to use it, says Imamav Ankare Torgul, head of the department of political science and international relations at Sütcu University. Ismail. “Back in 2018, the heads of state agreed in Sochi to fight terrorist groups in northern Syria. Russia was supposed to move the YPG of the Syrian Kurds and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey considers terrorists, to 30 km from Membich and the Euphrates, but the Russian side has not yet done so. This is the main question, & mdash; Ismail told RBC.
Announced in early summer, Turkey's military operation in northern Syria was supposed to take place in these zones, the expert explained. In his opinion, for its success, Ankara must first come to an agreement with Moscow. Ismail noted that the Russian position on this issue, in his opinion, is now closer to the American one, although the three countries are at different poles of the Syrian conflict.
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Practical aspects of the export of Ukrainian grain
Discussion of the functioning of the sea corridor for the export of grain stuck in Ukrainian ports is also extremely important, Bagdzhi believes. He recalled that the agreement reached in Istanbul is beneficial not only for Ukraine, but also for Russia. According to Ismail, in Sochi, the parties cannot but mention the recent strike by Russian troops on the port of Odessa.
On July 24, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that the Navy had destroyed a Ukrainian warship and a warehouse of American Harpoon missiles in the port. Later, Dmitry Peskov said that the strike was not related to the infrastructure involved in the implementation of the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain, and that he could not interrupt the shipment process. But Deputy Representative of the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq said at a briefing on Monday that the strike on Odessa does not contribute to the implementation of the grain deal.
“The parties agreed on a grain corridor, and immediately after that, a blow was struck at Odessa. This needs to be discussed so that there are no excesses in the future. In total, about 80 ships got stuck in the port of the city, most of them Turkish. Their simple— this is a blow to the Turkish economy, — explains Ismail.
Hajiyev draws attention to the US position on the grain deal. “In the context of the beginning of the work of the joint coordination center, the United States made almost provocative statements that they were considering alternative options for delivering Ukrainian grain to world markets. Against this background, a representative of the Turkish government went to the United States to understand what these statements mean. It turned out the following: the United States remained out of work in the context of the Istanbul agreements and now they are trying to make some amendments with the help of which they will strengthen their positions, — Hajiyev says. Washington hoped that they would be directly involved in resolving the global food crisis, the expert continued, but Russia, Ukraine and Turkey decided the matter at the regional level, albeit with the support of the UN. According to Gadzhiev, Washington could well present to the Turkish side an alternative to the Istanbul agreements, which Ankarate can now discuss with Moscow.
Gadzhiev does not think that radical decisions will follow from the discussion in Sochi. “Most likely, this is a clarification of positions on the Ukrainian problem and the Syrian settlement of some kind of breakthrough agreement should not be expected,” — summed up the expert.
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