Turkish PM to ask Putin to up pressure on al-Assad

Turkish PM to ask Putin to up pressure on al-Assad

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM to ask Putin to up pressure on al-Assad

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow. AA photo

Syria will dominate talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when the Turkish leader pays a one-day visit to Moscow tomorrow.

Yet, the Syria conversation will not focus solely on the Turkish jet shot down by Syrian forces as Turkey hopes to use this meeting as an opportunity to reiterate their will for Russia to strengthen its support of the international community’s efforts of intensifying pressure on the Syrian regime, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Ankara and Moscow remain at odds over the armed conflict in Syria. Erdoğan’s visit comes after Ankara clashed with Damascus over the downing of a Turkish warplane on June 22 by Syrian fire over the Mediterranean and the death of its two pilots.

Bilateral economic issues will also be on the leader’s agenda within the framework of preparations for the upcoming meeting of a high-level council in September which will be held in Turkey and attended by Putin. “Significant regional and international developments led by Syria are on the table to be discussed thoroughly [during Erdogan’s visit],” a written statement from the prime minister’s office said last week. The talks are a new link in the chain of effective dialogue at the highest level between Turkey and Russia, the statement said.

Caucuses and Armenia

Putin invited Erdoğan to Sochi for a meeting three weeks ago, but both parties agreed on a schedule for a daily visit to Moscow, a Turkish diplomat told the Daily News. “The invitation is for a preparatory meeting for an upcoming high-council gathering in September. But Syria is expected to be a hot topic,” he said. Issues about the Caucuses, including post-elections in Armenia, are also expected to be on the agenda, the diplomat said.

Russia and Turkey agreed on the construction of a nuclear power plant by a Russian company in Akkuyu, whose initial cost was estimated at $20 billion, but Russian recently notified Turkey that cost might increase to $25 billion. It is still indefinite which side will pay the extra $5 billion.