Putin: Russia, Turkey agree on ‘key’ issues in Syria
REUTERS photoMoscow and Ankara agree on many critical issues regarding Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a group of reporters on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 1.
“As far as Syria is concerned, there are a lot of issues on which we agree with Turkey. If we did not agree on the key issues, neither a cease-fire nor de-escalation zones could have been achieved in Syria,” Putin said.
On May 4, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a deal in Astana to establish de-escalation zones in the war-torn country.
The zones raise concerns over the unity for Syria, but they should be good examples of political dialogue in the future, not division, he said.
Turkey and Russia are fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, but Russia’s support for the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as a terrorist group for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is not welcomed by Turkey.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Putin as saying that Russia was aware of Turkey’s concerns over the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the PKK.
“We are careful about carrying out positive work on this issue,” it quoted the Russian leader as saying.
Russia is ready to supply S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Turkey, Putin also said.
As for the S-400 production in Turkey, that will be determined by Turkey’s industrial readiness, the Russian leader said.
He said he discussed the possibility of selling S-400 systems with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“We are ready for this,” Putin said in reply to a question from the head of Anadolu.
“As for cooperation, this is a separate issue related to the Turkish industry’s readiness. We have not produced such hardware anywhere abroad so far,” he said.
Both Turkish and Russian authorities know how effective these systems are, he said.
Putin also said Russia was producing the BrahMos cruise missile jointly with India.
“This has been going on for decades and therefore, requires large-scale technological preparation and personnel training,” he said.
“In principle, there is nothing impossible. We are ready for the deliveries of these newest and most effective systems. President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan knows about this and our military knows and the Turkish military knows, too,” Putin said.
The S-400 Triumf is the most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007.
It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground objectives.
The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers.
Putin also said on June 1 that alleged anti-Russian sentiment in the West would not last indefinitely because it damages both sides. The Kremlin strongman said in televised comments that he hoped “Russophobia” would “not last for too long, not forever, if only because the understanding has to come that it is counterproductive and harms everyone.”