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Putin treats Erdogan to ice cream in Moscow as Idlib is discussed (Video)

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the Moscow meeting between Putin and Erdogan.

The Presidents of Russia and Turkey agreed to “normalize” the situation in Idlib, Syria, but the details as to how this would happened were not shared with the press and media, leaving many to wonder what this means for Turkey and its relationship with the US and NATO.

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Via Al Jazeera…

Turkey and Russia have agreed to “normalise” the situation in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

However, despite the presidents’ conciliatory language on Tuesday after a visit to a military airshow outside Moscow, there was little detail on any compromise between the main backers of opposing sides in Syria’s long-running war.

In a joint news conference, the leaders talked about cooperation in Idlib, where the Russian-backed Syrian military has advanced against opposition fighters supported by Turkey.

Putin said they had “outlined additional joint steps to neutralise the terrorists’ nests in Idlib and normalise the situation there” while Erdogan called for an end to the offensive, which the United Nations says has killed more than 500 civilians since it began in late April.

It was unacceptable that Syrian forces were “raining death on civilians from the air and land under the pretence of battling terrorism”, the Turkish president said.

Ali Bakeer, an Ankara-based political analyst and consultant, said the meeting had produced no sign of a meaningful breakthrough on Syria.

“There are no detailed measures about how they will move on from this point,” he told Al Jazeera. “Russia showed some understanding towards Turkey’s sensitivities on national security threats but that does not mean Russia will stop [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad from moving forward.”

Syrian government forces have stepped up their assault on Idlib in recent weeks, as they try to secure two key roads to the northern city of Aleppo.

Russia has insisted that many of the fighters supported by Ankara leave the region, while Turkey, which is home to 3.6 million Syrian refugees, is concerned about more refugees fleeing towards its border.

The offensive – carried out despite a deal struck between Moscow and Ankara last September to de-escalate tensions in the province – has threatened Turkish troops stationed at a dozen observation points in the area.

A Turkish base at Morek, to the south of the town of Khan Sheikhoun, is now encircled by Syrian troops and last week a Turkish convoy heading for the outpost was targeted by an air raid.

“Erdogan’s trip to Moscow was preplanned rather than directly linked to the Idlib crisis,” said Kamal Alam, a London-based military analyst specialising in Syria and Turkey.

“Turkey is more or less cornered in Idlib and there is no way out for them militarily or diplomatically. At the same time, their tactic of controlling or influencing various militants hasn’t borne fruit.”

He also suggested that the resignation of five Turkish generals at the weekend, including the commander and deputy commander of operations in Idlib, could be linked to Ankara’s faltering policy in Syria.

“There is clear discontent in the Turkish military,” Alam said.

Bakeer said Russia would likely slow the military onslaught before a meeting in Ankara next month between Erdogan, Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – the three leaders who launched the Astana peace process for Syria in 2017.

“There is a pattern that I think will be followed until Russia achieves the goal of uniting all Syrian territory under al-Assad,” he said.

“They are doing this in patches. Every couple of months they launch an attack, saying it is a response to a breach of the Astana process. Then Turkey complains to Russia and the attacks slow or end altogether but months later another attack is launched.

“Turkey can’t totally stop this game but it can slow it down to almost zero.”

Unwillingness to negotiate 

Nihat Ali Ozcan, a security policy analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, said Putin and Assad had demonstrated their unwillingness to negotiate with Turkish-backed fighters in Idlib

“The Russian approach is very clear: all the militias in Idlib are terrorists and neither Putin nor Assad will talk with them,” he said.

“However, Putin does not want to lose Erdogan, whose position is not very good at the moment.”

Next month’s Ankara meeting could see Turkey pressed into withdrawing its troops from Idlib, he added.

According to Alam, Erdogan “clearly sees Russia as his best option” due to friction with the US and domestic pressure over the continued presence of millions of Syrian refugees and the “useless Syria adventure”.

“Turkey has no option but to withdraw and talk to Assad,” he added. Such talks would focus on the security of Turkey’s southern border, where Kurdish forces linked to fighters who have waged a four-decade armed campaign against Ankara hold a swath of territory.

Turkey and the US, which has used the Kurdish militia to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), recently set up plans for a secure zone between its border and the Kurdish-controlled territory.

During a tour of the airshow, Putin and Erdogan inspected Russia’s latest fighter jets, the Su-35 and the next generation Su-57 stealth plane.

It came as Turkey took further delivery of parts for the Russian S-400 air defence system. The missile deal has seen the US begin to remove Turkey from the F-35 stealth fighter project and introduced the threat of US sanctions.

Erdogan said he wanted to continue defence industry cooperation with Moscow. He has previously said that Turkey would look elsewhere for new fighter jets if it is kicked off the F-35 programme completely.

Putin, who many observers say has used the S-400 issue to drive a wedge between Turkey and its NATO allies, raised the prospects of joint production of military hardware.

Bakeer said that despite such overtures, Turkey would be unwilling to buy Russian planes while it still has a toehold in the F-35 project.

“Only if it is totally removed from the F-35 and US sanctions are imposed will Turkey consider buying the Su-35 or Su-57,” he said.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

What do you think?

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September 2, 2019

If Turkey works more closely with Russia, including the Akkuyu nuclear plant (if you want to talk about technology transfer, you cannot ignore that … it is also a minimum $20B project), and more importantly military hardware, they will either get out of NATO or NATO has no meaning at all. Right now, NATO is primarily, if not exclusively, an anti-Russia military alliance. So, how can they have a ‘member’ that is cooperating militarily with Russia? Of course at a higher level the US has no military enemies. NATO and the whole MIC exist only to provide careers and money… Read more »

Penny Smirlis
Penny Smirlis
Reply to  SteveK9
September 2, 2019

Erdogan is crazy. If Russia supports him for too long, she will have problems with other entities like the European Union. Already Erdogan has issued a map where half the Greek islands and the Aegean are Turkish. So Russia as a great power of the region should act like one and if she does that in a fair way she will open the way to collaboration with a “future EU army” . She needs to see into the future- NATO is dying- she does not need to destroyit further

Reply to  Penny Smirlis
September 2, 2019

Too bad. The EU followed US orders and blocked Bulgaria’s bid on South Stream. As soon as the EU shows its not a lapdog to the US, maybe your ‘future EU army’ has more than a snowball’s chance in hell. BTW: Why exactly does it need an army? Just to make mischief outside its borders independent of NATO?

PS: Yes, Erdogan is a bit loopy. I agree. But it’s only Putin who can rein him in somewhat, to keep him from making really stupid moves. NATO surely can’t. They only compound the problems.

Reply to  Boring
September 3, 2019

Because NATO is not good in protecting is members against eachother and againsy those who violate international treaties . The EU army can do that. Greece has no reason to be in NATO if her enemy Turkey is allowed to do whatever it wants in NATO without NATO placing itself. Today Erdogan presented a map with half the Aegean sea and the Greek islands as Turkish- no talk from NATO on that.

The reason for an EU army is beacuse Europe wants to distance itself from USA

Reply to  Boring
September 3, 2019

Nobody can rule Turkish government without applying force. Turkish foreign policy is based on blackmailing (She blackmailes others), from the Ottoman times. So now Trump has an apoointment with Trump in September, after seeing Putin. Also Russia needs to see the possibility of Erdogan losing power and in my opinion she has to take fast decisions on who to support and who to leave in the Greco-Turkish war coming. Because it is coming. In my opinion it is a bright opportunity for Russia to show that Europe needs her

September 2, 2019

The final nail into the NATO coffin is not very far off and the sooner the better IMHO.It has become,or maybe always was,the tool of the MIC to enrich the elite class on wall street.
There longer is any need for this archaic beast of war .Turkey might just be the key to it’s dissolution and let the dominoes start falling .

Golpe de Estado
Golpe de Estado
September 3, 2019

By the time Putin’s term is up, he’ll probably have saved the lives of half the elected leaders in the world from a US coup.

Thomas Busse
September 4, 2019

Ahh: to decode a psyop: this is a symbolic references to US Military Bases being “self-licking ice cream cones.”

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