What will Putin and Erdogan discuss in Ankara?
Syria and Jerusalem will be the main topics of today's talks between Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, the deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, and the director of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies Amur Hajiyev said, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza,
Andrey Baklanov drew attention to the priority of the Syrian topic at the new Erdogan-Putin talks. "Along with the very dynamic agenda of bilateral economic relations, a new element is obvious: the situation that arises in connection with the completion of the Syrian settlement phase dedicated to the destruction of ISIS on the territory of Syria. Eliminating this group was a certain task, and now Russia together with Turkey and Iran need to reformat the agenda," he explained.
"Now there is a new situation, and therefore, those issues that were in the shadow at the previous stage, including the situation in the north and the situation in the areas of reduced military confrontation, are becoming priority. The new situation requires updating the approaches of the parties on this topic. In general, it's very good that meetings at this level are often, because this allows the parties to take concerted action when any new significant nuances appear," Andrey Baklanov said.
He also expects the presidents to discuss Washington's announcement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "In itself, this move by the US is rather strange. Its motives are not clear. In Israel, it led to a deterioration in the situation, even to a decrease in the tourist flow before the New Year. In addition, the United States moved away from the 1991-1992 agreements for the first time, which say that Jerusalem's status should not be determined before an agreement on territorial delineation and Palestinian governance arrangements had been reached," the deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association expects.
Amur Hajiyev also predicts that first of all the Presidents will discuss Syria and Jerusalem. "First, Vladimir Putin said that the fight against ISIS has been successfully completed, and now there is the issue of the post-war settlement. Second, the recognition of the entire territory of Jerusalem by Donald Trump as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv. In addition, the Presidents will also discuss bilateral contacts. We see that large energy projects are in full swing, the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant has started on the eve, the construction of the Black Sea pipelines as part of the Turkish Stream project is actively under way. We can expect that Turkey will raise the issue of the abolition of visas for certain groups of Turkish citizens once again," he said.
The orientalist drew attention to the fact that after defeating ISIS, Russia and Turkey will have to fight with other factions in Syria. "ISIS was defeated, but Jabhat al-Nusra and other radical groups supported by Saudi Arabia remain. It will be impossible to achieve success without the joint efforts of Russia and Turkey. In my view, the struggle against terrorism in Syria will continue. On the other hand, we see that certain zones of de-escalation are being gradually created, and after the consolidation of peace in these zones the regime for the cessation of hostilities will be fully established. When this measure starts working in full, one can speak of a transitional period, which includes the drafting of a new Constitution, and preparation for presidential elections. But now it is required to establish clear zones without fighting," Amur Hajiyev said.
The theme of Jerusalem is extremely important for both countries. "The topic of the status of Jerusalem is one of the key issues of the coil of the problems of Middle East settlement. Russia's position is based on the fact that first of all it is necessary to observe the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and international law. Turkey proceeds from the same positions, but as it's part of the Muslim world, the problem of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Palestine itself is very sensitive for it. Jerusalem is of particular importance for Islam, because the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located there," the director of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies pointed out.