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Erdogan meets Putin for for high-stakes talks on Ukraine, Syria

16 13 1

AFP — Ways to halt the war in Ukraine and the possible launch of a new conflict in Syria were expected to dominate talks on Friday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish leader was riding high from the diplomatic success of helping orchestrate the resumption of Ukrainian grain shipments across the Black Sea when he took most of his top ministers to Sochi for his second talks with Putin in 17 days.

But there are tensions. Putin told Erdogan in Tehran last month that Russia remains opposed to any new offensive that Turkey might be planning against Kurdish militants in northern Syria.

Analysts believe these strains form part of the “competitive cooperation” that has defined the two leaders’ relationship over the past 20 years.

The two were expected to hold private talks and a working lunch but no joint press conference.

“Russia’s war on Ukraine has restored Turkey’s self-image as a key geopolitical player and given Erdogan more visibility than at any time in the last few years,” European Council on Foreign Relations fellow Asli Aydintasbas wrote in a report last week.

Attempts by NATO member Turkey to remain neutral in the face of Moscow’s historic stand-off with the West over Ukraine are starting to pay off.

Months of Turkish efforts saw Moscow and Kyiv sign a UN-backed agreement in Istanbul last month to resume grain deliveries from Ukrainian ports.

The first ship from Ukraine crossed Istanbul........

© The Times of Israel

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