On Thursday Vladimir Putin will recover in Ankara by Recep Erdogan’s visit will take place in a non-standard format and will begin at 19.00 – it is expected that the leaders will have dinner together. However, informal meetings should not be misleading. In “menu” the presidents of a number of serious issues, including control over the area of de-escalation in the Syrian Idlib, the future of the so-called independent Kurdistan, deliveries of rocket complexes With-400 and “tomato case”.
Vladimir Putin waited in Turkey in late November for the tournament on the judo, devoted to memory of the killed in 2016 in Ankara, the Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov. However, the rapidly changing situation in the middle East forced the President to speed up the appointment. Recep Erdogan urgently needed to discuss with Putin the issues on which the position of Russia is key – and Turkey’s involvement in monitoring the area of de-escalation in the Syrian Idlib and consequences of the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan. Since both topics are related with the hated Erdogan Kurds, they are of paramount importance for Ankara.
Last week at the UN, the Turkish leader said his army will enter the zone of de-escalation in the Syrian Idlib – want allies or not. The military contingent, according to Erdogan, will be deployed in the Northern part of the province and will focus on ensuring the truce agreement which was previously reached at the talks in Astana. But anyone who is familiar with the disposition in the region, is well known: the main goal of the Turks is to prepare military operations against the Kurds near the town of Afrin, where the formation is controlled by the Kurdistan workers ‘ party, in control of vast territory.
If Erdogan will put control of the Northern province of Idlib, Afrin will be blocked on all sides and can communicate with the outside world only through the line of contact with the Syrian government forces near Aleppo.
Syria and Iran have already expressed their disagreement with these plans. But the crucial word, for obvious reasons, belongs to Russia, and what it will be, it is difficult to predict.
On the one hand, the Kremlin has strongly emphasized the importance, as expressed by Dmitry Peskov, “very close cooperation” with Turkey. On the other – not wanting to prevent the strengthening of its influence in the region, tacitly support the Kurds and help them. Erdogan hate this position, but publicly, Moscow and Ankara still does not advertise the contradictions on the Kurdish issue. However, this time the talks between the two presidents will be further complicated by the results of the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, where more than 90% of the participants voted for the creation of an independent Kurdish state. Turkey these plans (and the fact of the referendum) caused predictable hysteria. While Moscow its position is not officially released what was perceived by Kurds as a sign of tacit consent. Or – at least – neutral.
Iraqi Kurdistan has officially announced its intention to deepen cooperation with Russia in the event of independence. (Recall that in this region a long and successful work of Russian energy companies). Experts, in turn, believe that Vladimir Putin is not a great reason to get involved in a fight around the outcome of the referendum, because any threat to Russia’s national interests (unlike, for example, from Turkey and Iran) they did not create. On the contrary: this situation (and any mess in the middle East) will increase deliveries of Russian weapons and the maintenance of oil prices.
We can assume that following the meeting with Erdogan GDP may formally speak for the preservation of the integrity of the States of the middle East region. But after Sergei Lavrov to remind you: the Kurdish people, like any other nation on the planet has the right to realize their legitimate aspirations and aspirations in the context of existing norms of international law. Add that to the Kremlin, in principle, have no hands to condemn the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan because of the obvious Parallels with the Crimean referendum in 2014.
In addition to challenging regional issues, Putin and Erdogan will discuss military-technical cooperation and economic agenda. The Turks have already announced that he would ask the Russian President to accelerate the delivery of s-400: Ankara hopes to get SAM in the next two years. Expected progress in the already hackneyed “tomato case”. According to reports of the agriculture ministries of the two countries at the leaders ‘ meeting can be agreed on the resumption of supplies of Turkish tomatoes in the winter, when the domestic market experiences a shortage of its own vegetables and fruits. In exchange, Russia will have the right to export to Turkey carcasses.