Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani to agree their positions in Sochi
The main task of today's summit of the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Sochi in the first place will be a full-fledged coordination of the positions of all three regional players in the settlement of the Syrian crisis, the senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Sazhin, and the President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov said, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza.
Vladimir Sazhin named coordinating positions as one of the main topics on the agenda of the summit. "It is very important to solve the problems that exist within the triangle: Moscow, Tehran and Ankara have different views on the situation in Syria and its future. In addition, Russia, Turkey and Iran should create a common position for dialogue with opponents: the United States, Saudi Arabia, other countries of the Persian Gulf, Israel and the Kurds, not to mention the internal Syrian opposition," he recalled.
The expert specified the differences in the positions of Russia, Turkey and Iran on Syria. "Turkey and Iran have a very negative attitude towards the Kurdish problem, they do not see the Kurds as negotiators on the Syrian problem. Iran insists on maintaining the power of Bashar Assad, while for Moscow it is important that the future leadership of Syria understands Russia's interests in the Middle East and retains the opportunity to use two military bases. Turkey had previously sharply opposed Assad, now it softened its position, but still is not ready to see him at President. It also should be mentioned that Iran sees its presence in Syria, while both Turkey and Russia do not want this. There is also the fact that Russia sees the future of Syria as a non-religious state, where all faiths are equal, and Iran is not ready for Sunnis to be the dominant confession there," Sazhin noted.
The orientalist highly estimated the effectiveness of Russian-Turkish-Iranian cooperation in the settlement of the Syrian crisis. "Its effectiveness is exemplified by such achievements as the formation of de-escalation zones, which then allowed introducing a stable cease-fire regime. I think that today's meeting in Sochi will specify many issues in a new round of development of the situation in Syria, because the end of ISIS will not reduce internal struggle in the country," the senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences predicts.
Vladimir Sazhin recalled that the positions of the opponents of Damascus are also contradictory. "It will be difficult to unravel such tangle of contradictions in the near future. Despite the fact that all countries involved in this crisis state quite frankly say that they see the future of Syria as a sovereign state, I, frankly, do not see it yet. Syria has a very difficult destiny, and I deeply doubt that that Syria, which was until 2011, will remain as a state," he concluded.
Mikhail Remizov also pointed to the issues that need to be discussed by Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani. "Today's meeting reminds of a serious post-war conference on peaceful settlement issues. Of course, it will discuss the fundamental issue of the future of the political regime of Bashar Assad. It is important to understand whether it will be possible to reach a compromise with Turkey on this issue," the expert warned.
"Only if it is possible to agree on the post-war structure, Russia will achieve one of its strategic goals of creating a precedent for effective counteraction to US intervention policy. The military successes of recent months confirm that preliminary agreements have been reached with Turkey, probably on territorial control zones in Syria. I think that the important role is played by the fears of both Syria and Turkey over the creation Kurdish autonomy, which is a sighnificant unifying interest," Mikhail Remizov said.
According to the president of the National Strategy Institute, the Moscow-Ankara-Tehran format is a very promising for dialogue. "This is a platform for dialogue between countries whose interests often differ greatly, but who are able to find common ground. For Russia, this format is of interest because it strengthens its position in Transcaucasia, because both Ankara and Tehran are very important partners for Baku. This opens the way for the development of infrastructure projects in transport and energy," he noted.
"It is also possible that the format of the trilateral dialogue can play a positive role in deterring military and political tensions." There are many conflicts in the region - from the conflict situation around Lebanon to the risks of disrupting the Iranian nuclear deal. Against the backdrop of these threats, a dialogue between the three capitals can become a stabilizing factor, because Turkey and Iran are the most militarily powerful states in the region, and, of course, the fact that Moscow was the link to ensure their dialogue can be considered a success of the Russian diplomacy," Mikhail Remizov concluded.