The Turkish head of state meets his Russian counterpart in Sochi on the Black Sea. On the menu for this meeting: peace in Ukraine, but war in Syria. Turkey wants to try to start negotiations for a ceasefire between the Russian president and Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky in Istanbul. But these efforts have been complicated by Ankara’s repeated threats of military action in Syria, where Russian and Turkish interests collide.
Moscow has heavily backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the face of groups backed in part by Turkey. Last month in Tehran, Russian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned against any new military operations in Syria aimed at driving out Kurdish PKK militants, whom Turkey considers “terrorists”.
On the other hand, for some Turkish media, what Vladimir Putin really wants are the Bayraktar-TB2 combat drones that Ankara provided to Ukraine, which are more effective against Russian tanks. While a Turkish official insisted the president was joking, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov assured that “military and technological cooperation is always on the agenda of both countries.”
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