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Monday, October 24, 2016

Putin and Erdogan are ready for mutual concessions in St. Petersburg

In the beginning of next week Vladimir Putin scheduled a series of international contacts – at first glance, very different, but in fact closely related to each other. Monday, August 8, Baku will host the first Russian-Iranian-Azerbaijani summit, as well as separate talks between Putin and presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran. A trilateral meeting is held on the initiative of Ilham Aliyev, and the range assumed for discussion of topics — from developing economic cooperation to fight against terrorism – it is allowed for the participation of Turkey, which is one of the key players in the region. However, when I started preparing for the summit, the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with President Petro Poroshenko and Saakashvili entered the Pantheon of the worst enemies of Russia, and no one can’t imagine that everything will change so abruptly. Well, nothing, with the summit and prepared for further discussion by the project (in particular, the establishment of the Western branch of the international transport corridor “North-South”, the beneficiaries of which, of course, be Turks, Mr. Erdogan will be able to see the next day, August 9, when will arrive to Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg.

photo: kremlin.ru

In the Kremlin do not hide that the upcoming meeting between the two leaders will be a landmark — it is directly dependent on the pace and sequence of the restoration of Russian-Turkish relations, which until November 2015 were at the stage of advanced partnership and collapsed in a moment. After the incident with the downed SU and the ensuing sanctions, mutual trade turnover is to grow to $ 100 billion, as agreed by the presidents, has decreased by almost 70% to a mere $ 6 billion, while Turkish resorts in January-may, got less than 100 thousand Russians. And that is after a record 4 million in 2014! “The restoration of normal levels of bilateral cooperation in political and economic spheres is a priority of the upcoming meeting”, – told reporters at the briefing, Putin aide Yuri Ushakov.

However, the Kremlin cannot fail to understand that too hasty reconciliation with the recent worst enemy can cause mixed feelings in the minds of Russians. “It turns out that the country has no clear political direction. Who is a friend of Russia, and who is the enemy can’t even tell people in big offices. Making a hasty turn towards Turkey, as the authorities always forgot to consult with the people,” including within the meaning of the comments in the full abundance of social networks and discussion platforms of news. For a significant part of the countrymen of the return of the Turkish sun and the tomatoes were less important than the meanness of Ankara, who gave the order to shoot down Russian aircraft. But Putin himself for many months saying, “do not forget, do not forgive…” it turns Out, already forgotten and forgiven? Press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of Putin and Erdogan stressed that the incident with SU-24 is not in the past, so we can not assume that relations between Ankara and Moscow, as it seemed to some, had returned to “business as usual”. However, compensation for the downed plane, the Turks still had not paid. And whether this topic is generally discussed at the talks in St. Petersburg until the end is not clear.

At the moment the Kremlin’s tactic is to strongly emphasize: it’s not us, but the Turks have a vested interest in restoring the contacts. And to hint that in the current situation, Moscow could dictate to Ankara on their own terms. “Erdogan arrives in St. Petersburg, despite the difficult political situation in Turkey, it shows that he really is interested in restoring relations with our country,” – said Ushakov. According to him, in St. Petersburg, the leaders planned a program: first, they talk with face to face, then in the format of a working Breakfast held talks delegations (as expected, the Turkish President will bring key Ministers and military experts), then Putin and Erdogan will hold a press conference and in the evening have scheduled a meeting with representatives of Russian and Turkish business circles. No joint documents until sign is not assumed. However, the table will again fall

a large-scale program of trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation between Russia and Turkey 2016-2019, which the leaders of the two countries were supposed to adopt last year. And major projects, discussion of the subject “Turkish stream”, the construction of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu and the Russian-Iranian-Turkish Alliance, which is quite logical after the summit in Baku.

Of course, a separate topic of the talks will be the conflict in Syria, where Russia and Turkey previously appeared on the different parties of barricades. According to experts, Stripping in the Turkish army following the coup attempt, means that Ankara is out: her weakened forces will not be able to effectively counter the Kurdish militias and to prevent the actions of Russian-backed government troops in Aleppo, which is considered as the main Outpost of the Syrian opposition. Erdogan, according to many, is willing to make concessions (in particular, the closure of the border) that will drastically change the situation in the region, is not accidental a few days after talks with Putin to Turkey will arrive US state Secretary John Kerry.

As for the Russian leader, then it is scheduled for August 10, another international meeting this time with President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan. This suggests that in Baku and St Petersburg will discuss the Nagorno — Karabakh theme, renewed after the capture of the police station and the demonstrations in Yerevan. As is known, Armenia and Azerbaijan are direct participants in the conflict, Turkey is the instigator, Iran, having a border and economic ties with all countries – sympathetic party, and Russia – a middleman, trying to cut the “Gordian knot” years of conflict. “Winners and losers will have to make concessions,” warned Vladimir Putin before a series of negotiations, which clearly will not be simple…

Relations between Russia and Turkey. Chronicle of events

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