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    Syrian Crisis Will Bring Russia and Turkey Closer Together

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    The years-long Syrian conflict will be one of the key topics at the upcoming meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Saint Petersburg, with experts saying that both leaders will reach an understanding on how to put an end to violence in the embattled Arab country.

    Vladimir Sotnikov, a researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was optimistic about the talks. "I think that Russia and Turkey will find common ground on key issues," he told RIA Novosti.

    After all both leaders are again on speaking terms following the worst incident in recent bilateral history that sent relations between Russia and Turkey into a deep freeze. They have improved since Erdogan sent Vladimir Putin a letter of apology for Turkey's shooting down of a Russian warplane in Syria.

    The bilateral ties grew even warmer after Moscow ostensibly warned Ankara of an imminent coup hours before a group of Turkish military officers tried to overthrow Erdogan.

    Erdogan needs "Russia's moral and political support"

    "Russia's moral and also political support is extremely important for the Turkish leader in his standoff with his Western partners that emerged in the wake of the coup," the analyst said. For its part, Moscow wants Ankara to "recognize Russia's national interests that are particularly evident in Syria at the moment."

    Russian leadership, according to Sotnikov, "is hoping that Turkey will pay attention to our fight against international terrorism." Erdogan, he added, has already sent signals that could be interpreted as a positive sign in this respect.

    "The swift rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, as well as bilateral attempts to reverse the effects of the crisis must have a positive impact on resolving the Syrian conflict," he said.

    A man rides a bicycle past burning tyres, which activists said are used to create smoke cover from warplanes, in Aleppo, Syria August 1, 2016
    © REUTERS / Abdalrhman Ismail
    A man rides a bicycle past burning tyres, which activists said are used to create smoke cover from warplanes, in Aleppo, Syria August 1, 2016

    If Erdogan seals the border, Assad and Russia will secure "victory in Aleppo"

    Sotnikov further said that Turkey's position on Syria is instrumental in bringing peace to the war-torn country because the Syrian-Turkish border is "nearly porous." Gazeta.ru also mentioned the border region as a key issue that affected counterterrorism efforts in Syria.

    Terrorist groups, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, have utilized this area to rearm, resupply and rest where the Syrian Arab Army and Russian warplanes cannot attack them. If the border is fully sealed, they will not be able to operate in Syria.

    "If Erdogan truly decides to close these 'windows,' then Assad's victory will become a reality not only in Aleppo, but in the northwest of Syria," the media outlet noted. "In return, Russia could offer to actively mediate the resolution of the Kurdish issue."

    Ankara has viewed all Kurdish groups, particularly the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), as the main threat to Turkey's security and stability. The Turkish military launched an operation against the militants in the southwest of the country last year, but has occasionally expanded it to its neighbors, including Iraq.

    A pro-government supporter waves a Turkish flag and one with the picture of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, during a rally on the road leading to Istanbul's iconic Bosporus Bridge, Thursday, July 21, 2016
    © AP Photo / Emrah Gurel
    A pro-government supporter waves a Turkish flag and one with the picture of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, during a rally on the road leading to Istanbul's iconic Bosporus Bridge, Thursday, July 21, 2016

    Failed coup has contributed to "a thaw between Putin and Erdogan"

    "The failed military coup created additional prerequisites for a thaw between Erdogan and Putin," the publication added.

    Professor Mesut Hakki Casin echoed these sentiments, adding that "Ankara is going through a period of the biggest loss of trust in its key ally, the United States," in a comment for Deutsche Welle.

    On July 15, a group of military officers tried to overthrow Erdogan, but failed. More than 300 people were killed and more than 2,100 wounded in the chaotic events that saw coup plotters trying to seize key locations in Istanbul and Ankara. More than 60,000 people were detained, fired or placed under investigation following the coup attempt.

    The Turkish government has blamed reclusive Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has lived in a self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. Ankara has demanded that Washington extradite the former imam back to Turkey, but to no avail so far.

    What the West "fears the most"

    The Milli Gazette suggested that the coup could have been an attempt to prevent Turkey from fostering closer relations with Russia.

    "What the West fears the most is that one day Turkey will divorce itself from the US, the EU and NATO, burn all bridges and chose to become an integral part of a different alliance, primarily the Eurasian bloc," the publication noted.

    The media outlet further said that if Putin and Erdogan reach an agreement on Syria during the August 9 talks, "the deal will have a significant impact on the Greater Middle East project" as Washington's foreign policy strategy for the region is often called.

    Related:

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    Erdogan's Visit to Russia Not to Bring Results Short-Term, Aid Ties Long-Term
    Russia and Turkey 'Will Resolve Syria's Problems' As Bilateral Ties Improve
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    Tags:
    Syrian crisis, Turkish Kurds, meeting, Syrian conflict, bilateral relations, counterterrorism, coup attempt in Turkey, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, United States, Russia
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