Putin hosts talks with Erdogan in Sochi
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Syrian issue with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi. During the meeting, Putin said that he is certain the summit in Sochi will give a fresh impetus to the Syrian settlement.
"Today, we are to hold the fourth summit of the Astana process guarantor nations in Sochi. I am confident that we will be able to give a fresh impetus to the normalization of the situation in Syria, both on the ground and as part of political and diplomatic efforts to establish inter-Syrian dialogue," Putin said, noting that Russia and Turkey have done a lot.
"We have come a long way. If we continue working as actively and consistently and seek a compromise, then we will certainly succeed," he stressed.
The Russian leader also offered Erodgan to exchange views on the situation in the region in general and talk about bilateral relations.
At the beginning of the meeting, Putin once again offered his condolences to his Turkish counterpart on the loss of life in the apartment block collapse in Istanbul on February 6.
At the talks, Russia is represented by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, press secretary Dmitry Peskov, presidential aide Yury Ushakov, energy minister Alexander Novak, defense minister Sergey Shoigu, director of the military-technical cooperation committee Dmitry Shugaev, special representative of the Russian Federation for Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentiev, general director of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev, Chairman of the Board of Gazprom Alexey Miller.
Turkey is represented by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak, Minister of National Defense of the Republic Hulusi Akar, the head of the national intelligence organization of Turkey, the head of the department of information and communication technologies, the head of the department of the defense industry, the deputy foreign minister and the presidential press secretary.
Ankara has been doing everything possible to prevent militants from attacking Russia’s Hmeimim military base in Syria,
"We have been making every possible effort to prevent attacks on the Hmeimim military base, the Russian military base. Our militaries have been coordinating their activities in this regard," Erdogan said during talks with Putin.
According to him, Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicles "haven’t detected any heavy equipment in the area." When speaking about efforts to establish a constitutional committee in Syria, Erdogan pointed out that the issue was yet to be resolved.
The Turkish leader also touched upon Washington’s plans to withdraw troops from Syria. "The United States has said it will start pulling troops out of the country. It is a very important test. It is still unclear how this process will be carried out. I believe that in this connection, we should work together," TASS cited him as saying.
The Turkish leader added that the conclusion was quite obvious but "in reality, it hasn’t become clear yet."
In addition, according to Erdogan, it is crucial to eliminate terrorist units in Syria. "There will be no peace unless they are eliminated from areas east of the Euphrates River and Manbij and Syria’s legitimate authorities take control of these areas," he said.
Besides, Erdogan said that Turkey and Russia should coordinate their efforts to create a security zone.