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Putin and Erdoğan meet fifth time a year: Ankara and Moscow came to terms - COMMENT

Putin and Erdoğan meet fifth time a year: Ankara and Moscow came to terms - COMMENT
Unfortunately, meeting in Sochi will be remembered mainly for two drawbacks

Baku. 15 November. REPORT.AZ/ Presidents of Turkey and Russia Receb Tayyib Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin met in Sochi on November 14. The meeting coincided with second year of the end of crisis between two countries.

On November 24, according to the claims, plane Su-24 owned by Russia was shot down for violating the Turkish air space.

Of course, after that incident there were external forces that tried to mediate the relations between Moscow and Ankara and those acting to exasperate the situation. Turkey showed serious efforts to restore relations with Russia. For this purpose, in 2016 Turkey developed a road map and made necessary steps for restoring the relations. In fact, shootdown of Russian plane that violated the Turkish border was also the indicator of the tension in the region. The economic relations between two countries is about to reach the previous level. Let’s bring some facts on Turkish-Russian economic relations that preceded the plane shootdown.

The trade turnover between two countries in 2014 totaled $ 31 billion. While in the first nine months of 2015 it was $ 18.1 billion. This year Russia exported to Turkey trade worth $15 billion, Turkey’s import to Russia was over $ 3 billion.

The leader of Russia and Turkey said that they intend to increase trade turnover to $ 100 billion by 2023.

Trade relations between two countries also have energy interests. After Germany, Turkey is the second-biggest natural gas importer from Russia. In 2014 Russia exported to Turkey 27.3 billion cubic meters (bcm) or 60% of country’s natural gas supply.

One of the main players on Turkish petrol market is considered the Russian oil company LUKOIL. According to Russian media the company has over 600 gas stations across Turkey and $555 million profit was generated from this area in 2008.

Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant that will be constructed by Rosatom in Turkey worth $ 20 billion.

There is an interesting picture of statistics about the meeting between Erdoğan and V.Putin. Perhaps they are the most often meeting presidents. Since the election of Erdoğan as a president in 2014 there were ten meetings between two leaders. Seven of them consist of mutual visits, three - meeting as part of international events. In 2003-2014, Erdoğan met with Putin as the head of the government.

The leaders of two countries met at G20 Antalya summit on November 16, 2015. Eight days after that meeting shootdown of Su-24 plane occurred. In 2017 they met five times including the talks in Sochi.

The Presidents of Russia and Turkey during their last meeting paid greater attention to the issue on restoring and deepening the relations between two countries. Following the known place shootdown the parties imposed sanctions on each other. The restrictions have not completely been lifted yet.

One of the issues that worry Turkey is Syrian crisis where Russia is also actively engaged.

Following Sochi meeting, Erdoğan and V.Putin paid great attention to the problem at the press conference.

Of course, one of the important issues for Azerbaijan was discussion of settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in this meeting. Returning from Baku to Turkey where he participated in the opening ceremony of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route, Turkish president said that he will discuss the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during his meeting with his Russian counterpart.

Before his visit to Sochi at the Ankara airport he held press conference and to the question of journalist “Will you discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh issue” he gave positive answer. However, head of states didn’t touch this issue at the press conference on the outcome of the meeting. That’s why only assumption can be made regarding the discussion of the conflict. It can be suggested that this issue was touched in the meeting and it was agreed not to give a statement for press. Or Putin talked with Erdoğan about the importance of ceasefire and so on. In any case amid the real developments it can be seen whether issue on Azerbaijani territories remaining under occupation was discussed or not in the meeting of presidents. It is possible only if serious step would be made on this issue.

By the way, the foreign minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov is coming to Baku and Yerevan next week to discuss the issue on the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Perhaps Putin informed Erdogan on this issue. Nevertheless, focusing on the problem is no less significant.

Before his visit to Russia Turkish president made a sharp statement at the airport. He said Russia and USA should withdraw troops from Syria. At the same press conference, he responded to the statements of U.S and Russian presidents that “Military solution of Syrian problem is impossible”:

“We don’t understand that. They should not deceive the world. Then who sheds this blood? Let them withdraw their troops from Syria. We don’t have our military there.”

Turkish president stressed that in the north of Syria, US has five air bases and eight military bases:

“US has 13 bases in total. They set up another base in Raqqa. Russia has 5 bases in Syria. They send weapons there. To whom they send these weapons? Of course to PYD or YPG (PKK terror group's Syrian wing). Nobody knows the situation in the region better than us.”

If the issue was raised in the meeting probably Russian president responded to his Turkish counterpart’s wish to withdraw troops from Syria.

The statement made by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis last night can also be assessed as answer to Turkish president.

“Basically UN said we can ago after ISIS. And we're in Syria to take them out. But that doesn't mean we just walk away and let ISIS 2.0 pop back around.”

With this statement U.S military official sent his message to regional states including Turkey that they will remain in Syria for long time.

Therefore, meeting of Erdoğan and Putin on the eve of two-year anniversary since the shootdown of Su-24 plane demonstrated to the world that the relations between two countries completely restored.

Ankara and Moscow declared that there is a rapprochement of their positions on solution of Syrian crisis.

Let’s hope that technical drawbacks that happened before and after the president’s meeting will not affect the implementation of agreement reached during the negotiations.

Because of technical problems on Tu-204, a plane of delegation of Russian presidential administration headed to the meeting between Presidents of Turkey and Russia had to fly with by another plane to Ankara from Vnukovo Airport in Moscow.

In addition, during the press conference of Russian and Turkish presidents in Sochi there was a translation problem. Putin got out of the situation by inviting the translator directly to the microphone.

Since the meeting was held in Russia, Kremlin officials bear the responsibility for both drawbacks. 

We suggest it was coincidence and avoid to comment on it. Unfortunately, Sochi meeting will be mainly remembered for those two drawbacks.

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