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EURASIA > PM Erdoğan set to meet Putin over Syria

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Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan (R) will discuss the topic of Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his two-day official visit to Sr. Petersburg.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan (R) will discuss the topic of Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his two-day official visit to Sr. Petersburg.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will pay a two-day official visit to St. Petersburg starting today to attend a Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the ongoing crisis in Syria will likely be the main item on his agenda.

Ankara and Moscow have adopted opposing stances over the Syrian crisis since the uprising erupted in 2011 before agreeing to disagree on Syria even while opting to move forward on improving bilateral ties. 

Turkey backs the Syrian opposition, while Russia supports the Syrian government both in political and military terms.

The visit also comes as the international community pushes for the realization of a long-delayed Geneva II meeting, a U.S.-Russia-led peace conference which aims to bring together the Syrian government and opposition. 

Turkey will urge Russian officials to also focus on the humanitarian aspect of the Syrian crisis, according to Turkish officials. Erdoğan said earlier this month that Turkey supported the conference on Syria but blamed Russia for the failure this week to agree on a date for the talks.

“The process was again postponed. Why? Because [Moscow] is telling the opposition to accept a transitional government with [President Bashar] al-Assad’s involvement,” Erdoğan said at that time.
“Come and sit at the table, and leave behind all the pre-conditions.”

The Nagorno-Karabakh talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which recently resumed, are likely to be discussed at the meetings, as Turkey has urged both parties to make progress so that normalization between Ankara and Yerevan can be pursued in parallel.

Erdoğan is expected to have a tête-à-tête with Putin. He will be accompanied by ministers including Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Turkey’s first planned 4,800 megawatt (MW) Mersin-Akkuyu nuclear power plant to be built by Russia’s Rosatom will also be reviewed during the meetings. An environmental impact report (ÇED) by Rosatom, which the Turkish authorities require, may be conducted at the beginning of 2014.

The nuclear power plant may be delayed by at least a year, a source close to the plans told Reuters in October, as bureaucratic hurdles have hampered the $20 billion project.

Russia is currently one of Turkey’s main trading partners. The trade volume between Turkey and Russia is nearly $34 billion. Both countries have said they hope to increase the figure to $100 billion by 2023.
The balance of trade leans in favor of Russia since it is the primary exporter of gas to Turkey.

The opening of a Russian-Turkish Culture Center in Turkey and the rehabilitation of Turkish war cemeteries in Russia is also on the agenda.

November/21/2013

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Ken Alden

11/21/2013 7:54:41 PM

The main thought that drives Mr. Putin, is the traditional Russian desire to have a "Warm water maritime Port" Syria at the moment gained extra importance as Russia has again a making of a foothold, with Arms deals in Egyp. It has to prove that Russia is a reliable partner thru thick and thin and will stay the course. Turkey and Russia know well that they can;t change the others policies of National priorities. The makeup of Turkish Delegation, points to politics based on economic priorities!

Tekion Particle

11/21/2013 5:59:20 PM

Meeting of the two dictators, one cares about the Sunnis , the other care about the Russian naval base in the med. and continuation of the flourishing waepons market as a result of the civil war. Not exactly a meeting of the humanitarians, is it?

Murun Buchstansangur

11/21/2013 5:35:06 PM

What's the shopping like in Moscow? I wonder if Emine and the wives will tag along?

Eric Martin

11/21/2013 11:36:54 AM

Start arming the rebels with real antiaircraft weapons. Insert a chip so that they can be disarmed if abused. Do something.

Agnes Smith

11/21/2013 11:07:23 AM

so JIM: What do you prefer, a dictator or a mental weakling, guess there is no middle ground in this world? At least you can discuss something with the weakling? Try having RTE - no flexibility. Try having Mr Bush back and wonder where you would be now in the world. There is no meeting on Syria by the way, it is just another deal. Regards

İSRAFİL AVCI

11/21/2013 10:37:49 AM

@ JİM HANDLEY! you are definitely right in this respect.Not only Turkey,Nobody on the earth has got power enough to change the Russa' position on Syria.Because, U.S.A never ever stop supporting his toy baby, İsrael in the Middle East.Nobody on the earth can dissuade Russia from backing Hİs baby toy Syria in the Middle East.REGARDS.

jim handley

11/21/2013 5:07:02 AM

This meeting is a waste of Turkish tax dollars. Turkey does not have the clout to move any Russian positions on Syria. Putin only understands one think... getting a knuckle sandwich, which can only be delivered by US power. Unfortunately Obama doesn't have the sand to stick up to Putin because we elected a mental weakling.
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