Turkey's Erdoğan to press Putin on Syria
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) during their meeting at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, 18 June 2012. EPA PhotoRussian President Vladimir Putin was due today to meet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss differences on Syria as UN Security Council prepared to vote on the conflict.
Russia and Turkey are still at odds over the ongoing violence between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the armed opposition, which has claimed 17,000 lives since last spring, according to opposition monitors.
While Moscow has refused to support a tough resolution against Assad, Turkey has become one of its former ally's harshest critics and Erdogan is expected to attempt to convince Putin to harden the Russian stance.
Adding to the tensions between Moscow and Ankara, a source in Russia's military recently accused Turkey of violating Syrian air space after a Turkish jet was shot down over the Mediterranean amid unclear circumstances in late June.
It was not clear from where Russia, which supplies air defence systems to Syria, obtained its information on the matter.
Russia has faced mounting criticism from the west for what is seen as a pro-Assad stance, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and French President Francois Hollande recently accusing Moscow of hindering progress in Syria.
Russia has indicated it will veto any UM resolution that imposes any sanctions on Syria. But Putin said Tuesday he was still fully behind UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan, which called for both sides to halt violence three months ago.
Syria has also accused Turkey of training and supplying militants who then cross the border and of undermining the Annan peace plan.
Putin and Erdogan last met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Mexico in mid-June and discussed the plane incident over the phone.