Turkish-Russian top soldiers meet in Ankara

Turkish-Russian top soldiers meet in Ankara

Turkish-Russian top soldiers meet in Ankara

Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar met his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov on April 3, the Turkish Armed Forces said in a written statement.

The two top soldiers met for the Turkey-Russia High Level Cooperation Council, attended by the presidents of the two countries and several ministers in order to enhance bilateral relations.

Ankara and Russia have cooperated on the coordination of the Turkish offensive in northern Syria, where the Turkish Air Force used Syrian air space over Afrin through the facilitation of Moscow during “Operation Olive Branch” against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey, Russia and Iran are the guarantor countries of the Astana process to reach a ceasefire deal across the war-torn country and to achieve a political solution in Syria. The Turkish Army has established six observation points in the Idlib region, one of the de-escalation zones agreed as part of Astana deal aiming to monitor a truce between rebel groups and the Syrian regime.

Russia and Turkey have been in cooperation since a 2016 reconciliation deal, which ended a crisis caused by the shooting down of a Russian war plane over Syria.

Ankara agreed to purchase the S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, raising concerns among Turkey's NATO allies. The Turkish government now wants Russia to deliver the first batch of the system before 2020.