Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks in Sochi on October 22 with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This was reported on the official website of the Kremlin. The central theme of the negotiations will be the situation in Syria.

“I mean focusing on discussing the situation in Syria, including normalizing the situation in the north-east of the country, countering international terrorist groups and advancing the political settlement process, including in the context of the upcoming launch of the Constitutional Committee,” the website said in a statement.

This information was also confirmed by the Assistant to the President of Russia Yuri Ushakov during the briefing.

“It is supposed to continue discussing the situation in Syria. Naturally, in the context of the military operation carried out by the Turkish armed forces in Zaevfrati. On the whole, we positively assess the results of the talks of the Turkish leadership with the US Vice President. But tomorrow, as you know, 120 hours or five days are already running out, and we'll see how the situation develops further. Our leaders will discuss this, ”RIA Novosti quoted Ushakov as saying.

In addition, Putin and Erdogan can hold a face-to-face meeting, after which they will discuss bilateral relations, Ushakov added.

“Negotiations will be held as part of small delegations. It is possible that Putin and Erdogan will speak one on one. Then, in a more expanded format, a working lunch will be held, during which, it seems to us, issues of bilateral cooperation will also be touched upon, ”Ushakov said at a briefing.

Turkish operation

Recall, from October 9, the Turkish Armed Forces have been conducting Operation Source of Peace in northeast Syria. Its main goal is the elimination of the armed groups of the Kurdistan Workers Party (YPG) and the Kurdish National Self-Defense Forces, which Turkey considers to be terrorist organizations.

  • Turkish military in Syria
  • Reuters
  • © Turkish Defense Ministry

In addition, Ankara intends to establish a security zone in the region in order to resettle refugees and temporarily displaced Syrians in it. Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Adan Agreement, which Turkey and Syria concluded in 1998, the legal basis for this operation. According to this document, if the Arab Republic does not take enough action to combat illegal Kurdish formations, Ankara can send its troops.

Before the operation began, the Turkish leader had a telephone conversation with the Russian president, who urged his colleague to carefully weigh the situation. At the same time, during the conversation, the presidents agreed that the territorial integrity of Syria and its sovereignty must be respected.

Within a few days, the Turkish military advanced into Syria and occupied a number of settlements and infrastructure. At the same time, on October 13, the government of the Arab Republic and representatives of the Kurds concluded an agreement according to which the ATS army entered the region on the Kurdish side.

At the same time, Donald Trump, just before the start of the Turkish operation, decided to withdraw the US contingent from Syria, which was located in the northeastern regions of the country occupied by Kurds. Throughout the Syrian war, Washington collaborated with the Kurds, in particular with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS), which the Americans supplied with weapons. This has repeatedly caused a negative reaction from Ankara.

Under pressure from Democratic and Republican congressmen who announced Trump’s withdrawal of troops as “a betrayal of Washington’s allies,” the White House imposed sanctions on Turkey. Along with this, a letter from the US President to Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared in the media, in which Trump urged the republican leader not to take responsibility for the deaths of thousands of people.

Turkish authorities called the letter offensive and continued the military operation. Then Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to Ankara - following the results of the negotiations on October 17, the Turkish side agreed to suspend the operation for 120 hours to give Syrian Kurdish troops time to move beyond the designated security zones.

On October 20, President Erdogan announced that Turkey would continue military operations if, after 120 hours, the agreement with the United States on the withdrawal of Kurdish forces was not fulfilled. The responsibility for its observance he laid on the United States.

According to experts, despite a temporary consensus with Washington, Turkey has its own national interests, which it will not give up even under pressure from the United States.

“The Turks are not satisfied with the fact that the Kurds are not seizing their lands, eroding the specific ethnic composition that had formed in this region as early as the 20th century. The Turkish army will not leave without certain guarantees: Sunni Arabs should be able to return to the places of their traditional residence occupied by Kurds, ”Yuri Mavashev, director of the Center for the Study of New Turkey, explained in an interview with RT.

Russian context

On October 18, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he considers the upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin as a new stage in the implementation of steps regarding the Syrian issue. The Kremlin also noted that the situation in Syria will become the central topic of negotiations between the two leaders, as the operation "Source of Peace" has led to increased tension in the region.

  • RIA News
  • © Alexey Nikolsky

“The situation in the north-east of Syria is tense in connection with this operation (“ Source of Peace. ”- RT ). And this will be a very important topic on the agenda of talks on Tuesday in Sochi between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, ”said Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president.

As noted by Yuri Mavashev, Russia constantly performs the role of mediator between all parties to the conflict.

“If Moscow could have seated Ankara and Damascus at the negotiating table, then by signing a number of documents with the mediation and guarantees of Russia it would be possible to beautifully end this war,” Mavashev believes.

The proven Astana format can become the basis for resolving the current situation, the expert says.

“The Astana format is the basis for resolving this situation. A kind of foundation. But the walls and the roof should be the Constitutional Committee of Syria. Only this body can have the authority to resolve the problem politically. It is impossible to solve everything without revising the Constitution, ”the political scientist noted.

In turn, a senior researcher at the Center for Post-Soviet Studies, IMEMO RAS EAT. Primakov Vladimir Avatkov in a conversation with RT noted that, despite the agreements reached, Turkey now has very complicated relations with the United States.

“The Americans are in no hurry to fulfill their obligations; accordingly, Ankara’s need for dialogue with Moscow is growing even more. Turkey today is a more independent regional, even supra-regional player, which is pursuing an active foreign policy line, ”the expert said.

In the current realities, Ankara is trying to find common ground not only with large regional players, but also with Russia, Avatkov noted.

“The upcoming meeting and the strengthening of dialogue among the regional powers with the mediation of Russia may contribute to the transformation of Turkish offensive energy into creative energy. Moscow will be able to strengthen its actions to form a security system in this region. She will turn out to be a player to which all parties will listen, so the dialogue between Putin and Erdogan is important. It is worth remembering that no one invited Turkey to the territory of the SAR, it is not there at the call of the Syrian government or within the framework of the UN Security Council program, so clearly one of the key issues now is the confirmation by Ankara of the territorial integrity of Syria and, accordingly, the need to respect this fact now and in the future, ”the expert concluded.