In Sochi, a meeting of the presidents of Turkey and Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, is to take place in a week. The time has come for the two leaders to talk long ago, say political analysts interviewed by Gazeta.Ru. However, the situation is darkened by Erdogan’s statements about non-recognition of the results of the Duma elections in Crimea.
According to a statement from the office of the Turkish president, Erdogan’s visit to Sochi will take place exactly one week later, on September 29. In Russia, this information has not yet been confirmed.
According to Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, Putin and Erdogan understand each other well, but no real agreements can be expected from this meeting.
“They never meet to just shake hands. Russia has different relations with other countries, including formal ones. But with Turkey they are not formal.
They are full of a huge number of real issues, on which all the time, in a constant mode, it is necessary to conduct a very complex bargaining, which is being conducted. As a rule, at some point he reaches a dead end, and then a meeting at the level of heads is necessary, ” Lukyanov explained .
Conflict in Syria: New Solutions or Protracted Dialogue
Dmitry Peskov , outlining the space for dialogue at the upcoming meeting, said that “the agenda will be the most extensive.” At the same time, the press secretary singled out the topic of Syria separately.
Experts believe that special attention will be paid to the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib, where the attacks of the Russian Aerospace Forces on the positions of the militants and the death of Turkish soldiers continue.
What is the essence of the conflict between Russia and Turkey in Syria?
In September 2018, the Sochi Memorandum was signed, providing for the creation of a demilitarized zone in Idlib with a depth of 15-20 km. However, after that, Ankara began to complain about the shelling of its observation posts by the government forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the Syrian army about attacks by militants.
Fyodor Lukyanov is convinced that there is no compromise on the Idlib crisis, since Russia and Turkey have “diametrically opposed interests” in this region. “All the agreements that have been reached repeatedly – about the withdrawal of the militants from there, that Turkey will get them somewhere, because it has a very large contingent there – they do not work,” Lukyanov said.
After the talks, “a big process is underway on the part of Turkey,” then “there is a stage of military pressure from Russia,” including the bombing, and then “they sit down to talk.” “Because Turkey does not need excesses. And excesses are, first of all, if crowds of people rush to their territory, ”the expert explained.
“There is no solution, there is an endless process. And this is evidence not that everything is bad, but, on the contrary, that everything is good. For six years now, by some miracle, it has been possible not to lead to a direct collision. This is a very great achievement, “Lukyanov emphasized.
In turn, a researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Amur Hajiyev believes that the situation in Syria “remains far from over” for a number of objective and biased reasons why Turkey is in no hurry to fulfill its obligations.
“The Russian side has repeatedly stated that despite the Sochi agreements and obligations that Turkey has assumed, these conditions have not yet been fulfilled,” Hajiyev recalled.
He suggested that at the upcoming meeting, Putin and Erdogan will sign a new document on Idlib. “The presidents will not meet in vain, they will sign something, and something significant enough that will shed light on the further settlement process. It seems to me that some agreements on Idlib will be signed, there will be a certain agreement, since the work at the diplomatic level was carried out very intensively, ”the expert summed up.
An important topic at the talks between Putin and Erdogan, according to Hajiyev, will be the situation in Afghanistan, which has been controlled by the Taliban (an organization banned in Russia) group since August 15.
“There are also some Turkish-Qatari-Pakistani efforts there. What they lead to, their content, goals, objectives – all this would be interesting to talk about. Because it is known that there are SCO , CSTO, a SCO-Afghanistan conference is planned. What role could Turkey, which is a partner of this organization, play in this format? There is a field for discussion here, ”says Hajiyev.
The main issue around Nagorno-Karabakh, he believes, will be the Turkish-Azerbaijani exercises, which took place there in early September.
“There were actions not entirely coordinated with Russia, since the Turkish-Azerbaijani exercises in the Lachin region near Nagorno-Karabakh do not quite fit into the concept of the Russian-Turkish agreements, according to which the Russian contingent is present on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Hajiyev said.
This is a question “on which Russia would like to receive a clear reasoned answer.”
In addition, Putin and Erdogan can discuss the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya, as well as the supply of the second regiment of the S-400 air defense complex, the construction of a nuclear power plant and other issues of “broad bilateral policy”, including gas discounts, Hajiyev listed.
A negative background for the talks is created by Erdogan’s statement made the day before that Ankara is not ready to recognize Crimea as Russian territory, as well as the elections to the State Duma held on its territory . The Kremlin’s reaction was not long in coming.
“We, of course, regret that such statements are being made now, when a working visit to the Russian Federation is being prepared. As for this position, we are well aware of it. We categorically disagree with her and will work with the Turkish side, ”said Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian President.
Nevertheless, Amur Hajiyev from the Russian Academy of Sciences believes that the topic of Crimea in general and this skirmish in particular at the talks in Sochi will not be discussed. “Crimea is a closed issue, and Turkey understands perfectly well that Crimea is Russian. The statements are purely populist. They will not have any direct effect on the atmosphere of the forthcoming conversation, ”the expert is sure.
Fyodor Lukyanov agrees with him, adding that the non-recognition of the election results in Crimea stems from the non-recognition of Crimea as part of the territory of Russia.
“It is unclear why Erdogan raised this topic from the UN rostrum . Apparently, there is a need from time to time to denote a certain belonging to the West. Turkey did not recognize the annexation of Crimea – not at the beginning, not in the middle, not now. If the country does not recognize the belonging of Crimea to the Russian Federation, accordingly, it does not recognize the elections in this territory to the State Duma of the Russian Federation. This confines the conflict, ”Lukyanov said.
Other countries, including Belarus, also do not recognize the results of the elections in Crimea, but do not make loud statements at the same time. “Belarus, of course, will recognize the deputies elected from Crimea, but it will pretend that it does not attach importance to their belonging,” Lukyanov explained.
Svetlana Zhurova, a member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs of the VII convocation, explained to Gazeta.Ru that Turkey and Russia are consistent in their decisions regarding Crimea, so there is no need to expect any changes on the issue of its ownership from the meeting.
“Erdogan had his own plans for Crimea, let’s be honest. I think Putin and Erdogan can talk about this, but Vladimir Vladimirovich will still answer unequivocally that Crimea is the territory of Russia, ”Zhurova said.
At the same time, she stressed that despite the disagreements over Crimea and “other issues”, Russia and Turkey remain strategic partners.
“We have many points of contact. And there are topics where we are not just strategic partners, but also actively help each other – just remember the situation with fires and our help. Perhaps Erdogan will want to thank Putin for this, ”Zhurova suggested.
The development of tourism and the mutual recognition of vaccines remains an important issue. “To develop tourism, some general principles must be built, how it will be organized – QR codes or something else. If Turkey wants our people to come more, it also needs to be discussed, ”the MP concluded.