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Ukraine, Syria expected to top Erdogan-Putin talks in Russia

Ukraine, Syria expected to top Erdogan-Putin talks in Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Russia Friday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin specializing in a grain deal brokered by Turkey and the U.N., prospects for talks on ending hostilities in Ukraine, the state of affairs in Syria and rising financial ties between Moscow and Ankara.

Talking initially of the assembly at Putin’s Black Sea residence in Sochi, Erdogan stated their negotiations would assist “put ahead the function that Turkey and Russia play within the area.” He solid the talks as pivotal, saying they have been being watched intently by the remainder of the world.

“Right now, of, course, the world’s eye is on Sochi,” Erdogan stated. “They’re following it, questioning what’s being mentioned and performed in Sochi.”

Final month, Turkey and the United Nations helped dealer agreements between Russia and Ukraine to clear the best way for Ukraine to export 22 million tons of agricultural merchandise caught in its Black Sea ports since Moscow despatched troops into the nation greater than 5 months in the past. The offers additionally permit Russia to export grain and fertilizer.

Three extra ships carrying 1000’s of tons of corn left Ukrainian ports Friday. The primary vessel to depart underneath the phrases of the deal left Ukraine earlier within the week.

Putin thanked Erdogan for serving to to barter the grain agreements, noting their significance for a lot of international locations world wide that rely on Russian and Ukrainian exports to feed their folks and to develop their very own crops.

“It’s an acute situation for a lot of growing international locations, which face main issues with meals and fertilizers,” he stated.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed reporters that the talks in Sochi would permit Putin and Erdogan to evaluation the implementation of the grain deal, which is overseen from Istanbul by officers from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the U.N. Cargo vessels are accompanied by Ukrainian pilot ships for secure passage due to explosive mines strewn within the Black Sea.

Erdogan and Putin additionally deliberate to debate the army conditions in Ukraine and in Syria, Peskov stated.

In March, Turkey hosted a spherical of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators, who mentioned a doable deal to finish the hostilities. The talks fell aside after the assembly in Istanbul, with Russia and Ukraine blaming one another for the dearth of progress.

When Putin and Erdogan met in Tehran final month on the sidelines of a trilateral summit with Iran, the Turkish chief made the Russian president watch for practically a minute earlier than getting into the room. Some observers interpreted the motion as a mirrored image of Erdogan’s newly assertive stand in relations with Moscow, which has confronted growing strain from the West.

There was no signal of such posturing throughout Friday’s talks, which noticed the 2 presidents hailing their ties and vowing to develop them additional. Erdogan’s go to to Sochi underlined the significance of shut ties with Russia for Turkey.

NATO-member Turkey and Russia have a fancy relationship. Whereas the 2 international locations assist opposing sides in Syria and Libya, they cooperate intently on protection, vitality and commerce offers. Their relationship has pissed off Turkey’s Western allies, who have been notably aggravated by Ankara’s buy of a classy Russian air protection system.

Turkey has offered Ukraine with drones, which performed a big function in deterring a Russian advance in the course of the early stage of the battle, however it hasn’t joined in imposing sanctions on Russia.

Putin hailed the vitality cooperation between Russia and Turkey, noting the significance of the TurkStream pipeline that delivers Russian fuel to Turkey and southern Europe by way of the Black Sea.

“European companions needs to be grateful to Turkey for guaranteeing uninterrupted transit of our fuel to European markets,” Putin stated.

The Russian president famous that Russian-Turkish commerce doubled within the first 5 months of the yr in comparison with the identical interval final yr. The surge mirrored Moscow’s rising concentrate on ties with Ankara because it confronted bruising Western sanctions.

Amid a significant financial disaster with official inflation hitting practically 80%, Turkey additionally more and more depends on Russia for commerce and tourism. Russian fuel covers 45% of Turkish vitality wants, and Russia’s atomic company is constructing Turkey’s first nuclear energy plant in Akkuyu.

Talking initially of Friday’s talks in Sochi, Erdogan emphasised the significance of the nuclear plant mission, expressing hope that it’ll face no delays. He famous that the nuclear energy plant would provide 10% of the nation’s vitality wants.

Erdogan added that the talks would open a “very totally different web page” on vitality offers, tourism, transportation and regional points.”

Russia-Turkey relations hit a low level in 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane close to the Syrian border and Moscow responded by halting tourism to Turkey and banning imports of fruit and greens and different gadgets from Turkey.

Whereas Moscow and Ankara have backed the other sides within the Syrian battle, with Russia shoring up President Bashar Assad’s authorities with Iranian help whereas Turkey supported the opposition, the 2 international locations cooperated intently to barter a cease-fire deal in northwestern Syria.

Turkey now expects Moscow to green-light a Turkish operation into northern Syria in opposition to Kurdish militants whom Turkey considers terrorists.

Talking to Putin Friday, Erdogan voiced hope that their dialogue on Syria would “convey reduction to the area.”


Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul.

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