What will Putin and Erdogan to discuss in Sochi?
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Russia's Sochi today. On the eve of the event, the experts told Vestnik Kavkaza about the most likely agenda of the talks and the significance of this visit for the Russian-Turkish relations.
The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, expects that the Syrian issue will be the number one issue for the meeting of the presidents. "There is a qualitatively new stage in Syria, the struggle against the ISIS group has been concluded there, which means that the common enemy disappears and there arises both the possibility of peace and the possibility of a new war in Syria. Today, there are the Syrian government army, volunteer detachments, the pro-Turkish Free Syrian army and Ahrar al-Sham, there are pro-US Kurds and some other undecided groups. It is necessary to decide whether to go over to a peaceful system or continue fighting with other groups, what to do with the Turkish troops, what degree of autonomy the Kurds will have," Markov listed the issues that Putin and Erdogan may consider at the meeting.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will certainly be on the agenda, as the President of Turkey promised it. "I think that the parties will confirm the impossibility of maintaining the status quo in the conflict and say about the need to intensify the negotiation process." There is the Kazan formula, on the basis of which they can come to a temporary compromise, and Putin can offer Erdogan to support this scenario. But I don't know what Turkey can offer in this case, because Yerevan refuses both the negotiation process and the Kazan formula," the political scientist recalled.
"I also think they will touch on bilateral relations - sales of S-400 systems, construction of Turkish Stream and Akkuyu nuclear power plant, an access of Turkish goods to Russian markets, tourist problems, the Turkish side will necessarily raise the visa issue," Sergey Markov added.
An associate professor of the Faculty of International Relations of the TOBB University of Economics and Technology (Ankara), Togrul Ismail, in the first place stressed that the Russian-Turkish ties are increasingly developing. "I think that this visit will be a new round of improving bilateral relations. First of all, of course, they will discuss the Syrian issue - it is very important for both Turkey and Russia now. Turkey is also interested in the fact that Russia plans to hold a meeting of Kurdish organizations, and the PYD, which is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey, was also invited. In addition, they will certainly discuss our energy projects and economic issues, as well as an essential topic such as the purchase of the S-400," he expects.
Togrul Ismail also noted the Nagorno-Karabakh agenda of the meeting. "Turkey and Russia are both interested in resolving conflicts in the region, and the Karabakh issue is one of the most important elements in the realization of these interests. The problem is that the issue is not moving forward. For now it will be the first such meeting for the Presidents and the topic will be discussed in advance," the political scientist predicts.
The expert drew attention to the fact that Putin and Erdogan have started to meet more often after the political system in Turkey was changed.
The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, listed key topics for the Russian-Turkish cooperation. "The first topic is a new situation that will be formed in Syria in the near future. To date, the main emphasis has been placed on the destruction of ISIS. ISIS is currently an outgoing thing, and efforts will be inevitably intensified on other issues, which were in the shadow, including the Kurdish issue and the overall situation in the north of the country. It also includes the issue of the further fate of de-escalation zones," he said.
"The second issue is the situation in the region as a whole, which is obviously overloaded with conflict potential. In addition to Syria and Iraq, there are other difficult issues related to the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The third topic is the situation in the Black Sea- Caspian region. The last block of issues is bilateral relations. There is a very great degree of the countries' interest in the development of trade, economic and investment ties, and there is a need to once again determine priorities at the high level," Andrei Baklanov concluded.