TURKEY-RUSSIA Erdogan will visit his friend Putin in Sochi

Ukraine and Syria will be the central themes of the meeting. Special attention will be paid to the recent agreement between the Ukrainians and Russians – reached with the mediation of Ankara – for the transport of grain. The Turkish “sultan” defends the Russian “tsar” against Western criticism. Both intend to perpetuate their power.

Moscow () – To discuss the war in Ukraine, the transport of wheat from the Black Sea, the general situation in the region and Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Vladimir Putin during his summer vacation. The meeting will be in Sochi on August 5.

The meeting comes as echoes of the July 19 summit in Tehran between the two leaders and the Iranian president are still resonating. In addition, on July 22, a plan with measures for “safe transportation of grain and other products from Ukrainian ports” was presented in Istanbul. Added to this is a mutual aid memorandum between Turkey, the Russian Federation and the UN Secretariat to support the spread of Russian food products and fertilizers on international markets.

Many commentators point out that it would be more logical for Erdogan to schedule a visit to kyiv: Turkey is his strategic partner and supplier of weapons, in addition to controlling the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles Strait to prevent the passage of Russian ships. Turkey, after all, acts as a mediator between the two warring countries, and its contacts with Putin also seem to win the approval of its Western partners. Turkey is also a member of NATO, and thanks to its consent the Alliance was able to add Sweden and Finland – which promised Erdogan that they would stop supporting the Kurds.

On several occasions, Putin has expressed respect and admiration for Erdogan, one of the few world leaders who receives such attention. In a way, the two mirror each other, and there are no shortage of situations where they directly confront each other for opposing interests, such as in Libya and Syria.

However, Turkey is carrying out important projects together with Russia, such as the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. Ankara also sells weapons and technology to Moscow. And Turkish tourism thrives in large part thanks to Russian contingents – because Turkey does not apply sanctions against Russia.

Erdogan was interviewed by the Russian television network TNT a few days ago and defended Putin from criticism. “You know the relations of Western politicians towards Putin,” he said, “this is something that is not done in politics: what you show towards him will be what you get from him… friendlier relations are needed if you want to achieve something”.

The Turkish president also moves according to internal calculations. He will soon have to face the elections and, unlike Russia, the results are not taken for granted. In recent times, Erdogan’s party has lost control of several municipalities in major cities, including Istanbul. If the sultan were to lose his almost absolute power, the investigations, accusations and convictions against him would begin the next day.

In 2004, thanks to the country’s great economic boost, Erdogan was awarded “European of the Year”; however, his meeting with Putin generates confusion regarding European identity in general. The two autocrats seek to preserve and consolidate their power: the Russian with the war and the Turkish with the apparent “moral superiority” over the divisions between East and West.

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Written by Editor TLN

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