Moscow-Ankara-Washington through prism of Syrian crisis
Today, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will arrive in Sochi at the invitation of Vladimir Putin. According to the Kremlin's press service, the Presidents will exchange views on the entire range of Russian-Turkish relations, in particular in the context of the agreements reached at the sixth meeting of the Cooperation Council of the highest level that was held in Moscow on March 10, as well as consider current regional and international problems, first of all those related to fighting against terrorism and the settlement of the Syrian crisis.
It is interesting that the fourth high-level international meeting on settling the situation in Syria will begin in Astana on the same day. The previous such meeting in mid-March was attended by delegations of the guarantors of the ceasefire (Russia, Turkey and Iran), as well as representatives of the United Nations, Jordan, the United States and the Syrian government.
The chairman of the Federation Council Committee for information policy and cooperation with the media, Alexei Pushkov, commenting on Turkey's actions as a guarantor of the ceasefire, said: "Turkey's official position is that there is no alternative to the political process. Turkey has not refused to support the idea of negotiations. At the same time, the Astana format depends not only on Turkey or Russia. It depends on the mood of the Syrian opposition, which are influenced by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar."
According to Pushkov, the Shayrat missile strike and the Idlib strange story do not create a good context for the talks in Astana, as the Turkish opposition is waiting for the Trump administration's decisions: "Whether or not there will be more strikes, if so - how large they will be, whether they will have military importance or will be purely symbolic. The Shayrat strike was purely symbolic. Half of the missiles did not reach it, and those that did caused very specific damage - within 24 hours the aircraft had already taken off from the same base. That is, the landing strip was not destroyed. But it caused quite a fuss."
Pushkov explains the hype about it: "The US is a country of images. No one in the United States explored the military meaning of the Shayrat attack. The meaning was purely political - to show that Trump is a man of decisive action, and report it to the President of China, Xi Jinping, while eating the chocolate cake. That's the point of this strike, and not to inflict damage on the military potential of Assad. "
At the same time, Pushkov is disturbed by the fact that there are forces in the US that are trying to continue launching airstrikes on Syrian military bases: "Will there be such strikes? Will the Trump administration move to a regime change policy in Syria? Politically they say that Assad must leave, but so far no action has been taken in this direction. But the use of symbolic, but nevertheless military actions, by the US complicates the political process. "
The senator assumes that Ankara will maneuver under these conditions: "Turkish diplomacy will try to combine support for political negotiations with the aim of weakening the positions of Assad. Ankara never refused this idea. Sometimes they say about it more often, sometimes less often. It is one of the elements of Turkish diplomacy - you can weaken the rhetoric against Assad, or you can strengthen it. Trump was the only Western leader who congratulated Erdogan on winning the referendum. If the rapprochement between the Trump administration and Turkey begins, Ankara will take a tougher stance. At the talks with Putin, Erdogan will focus on some aspects, at the negotiations with Trump - on other aspects. Nevertheless, Ankara is not interested in withdrawing from political processes - it will try to combine support for negotiations, a diplomatic role with a quite tough position on Assad. "