Turkey, Russia to discuss Jerusalem crisis at Erdoğan-Putin summit
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on Dec. 11 in Ankara to discuss crises in the Middle East, including the aftermath of the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and joint efforts to stabilize Syria.
Putin is expected to arrive in Ankara in the late afternoon before holding talks with Erdoğan, in their third face-to-face meeting in less than a month.
“Together with Mr. Putin we will discuss developments with regard to Jerusalem and in Syria,” Erdoğan said at a rally in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas on Dec. 10.
Erdoğan and Putin held a phone conversation on Dec. 8 amid efforts to mobilize the international community against U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump instructed the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as soon as possible and in line with the 1995-dated Jerusalem Embassy Act.
Both Erdoğan and Putin have expressed serious concerns over Trump’s move, saying such steps could thwart all prospects for the Middle East peace process.
A statement released from the Kremlin after the phone conversation underlined that both “Russia and Turkey reaffirmed their commitment to achieving a just and viable solution to the Middle East crisis based, above all, on the relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly, as well as the realization of the Palestinian people’s right to their own state.”
Erdoğan’s meeting with Putin comes only a day before an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during which participants will discuss a road map against U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Syria also on table
The two leaders will also review recent developments in Syria after a three-way agreement with Iran led to the declaration of de-escalation zones in the country, with the objective of cementing a ceasefire between the Syrian army and the opposition groups.
A summit in mid-November in Sochi between Turkey, Russia and Iran reaffirmed continued efforts to this end, with the prospect of launching a joint new effort for a political solution to the six-year long civil war.
All three guarantor countries agreed on a conference where all ethnic and religious groups in Syria would be invited to shape the future of the country. Turkey strongly opposes any extension of an invitation to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to the conference as it regards the group as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK).
Russia does not officially regard the YPG as a terror organization and is still cooperating with the group in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria. Footage of a high-ranking Russian commander posing with the YPG spokesman in front of an YPG flag caused disturbance in Ankara last week.