"Historical agreement" between Putin and Erdogan

"Historical agreement" between Putin and Erdogan

Meeting between presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi attracted a lot of attention of the world press. Not only did two political heavyweights, who openly oppose "world hegemony" of the United States, met for the sake of national interests, they also met to discuss such topical issues as situation in Syria.

Commenting on Sochi talks, BBC wrote that Russia and Turkey have signed a “historical agreement”, clarifying that as a result of 6-hour talks, Russian leader approved continuation of Turkey’s military operation against the Kurds. According to BBC, Putin and Erdogan dicussed details of the operation against Kurdish forces, which Turkey launched in Syria on October 7, the day after Washington announced withdrawal of its troops. Experts believe that this decision led to escalation of situation in the region, since the US military guaranteed safety of Kurds, their main allies in the fight against the so-called ISIS (terrorist organization banned in Russia and other countries).

In response to Turkey’s actions, Russia, as an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, sent troops to the same region. According to experts, Russia's consent to continuation of Turkish operation will allow to avoid possible clashes between Russia and Turkey.

According to agreement that presidents reached, Kurdish forces were given 150 hours to free occupied territory near the Turkish-Syrian border. After that, Turkey will create a 120 kilometers buffer zone for resettlement of 2 million refugees from Syria in this territory.

Before the meeting, Turkish leader made it clear to European leaders who protested against Ankara’s actions that if they try to interfere, two million refugees from Syria Turkey took will be transported in European direction. The level of criticism has since declined.

Despite reached agreement, there are still some differences between Moscow and Ankara. The main one is the area of buffer zone. Erdogan wants it to be 440 kilometers instead of 120, and if he acts on his own and doesn't follow agreement he made with Putin, likelihood of clashes between Turkish and Russian forces will increase.

Meanwhile, judging by Kremlin comments, despite agreement with Erdogan, Moscow is not that enthusiastic about unfolding scenario. Press secretary of Russian president Dmitry Peskov accused the US of betraying Kurds, who were their closest allies in the war against ISIS.

Commenting on statement of US special representative for Syria James Jeffrey that Washington doubts that Russia will be able to withdraw Kurdish "Self-Defense Forces" within the framework of agreements with Turkey, Peskov said: "The United States has been Kurds' closest ally in the past few years. And now America abandoned Kurds, basically betraying them. Now they want to leave Kurds at the border, almost forcing them to fight against Turks." 

According to Kremlin's interpretation, on October 22 Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to consolidate new zones of influence in northern Syria. Moscow and Ankara reached agreement on joint patrolling of the territory liberated by the "Self-Defense Forces". In addition, according to the agreement, Syrian border guards should return to the border with Turkey.

Representatives of Kurdish side said that Turkish troops didn't stop active operations, and ceasefire announced by Turkey on October 17 in northern Syria was a simple "distraction."

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