Prof. Dr. Salih Yılmaz: Syria, northern Iraq expected to top agenda of Erdoğan, Putin meeting
Syria, northern Iraq expected to top agenda of Erdoğan, Putin meeting
President Erdoğan said last week that Turkey will deploy troops in Syria’s Idlib as part of a cease-fire agreement brokered by Turkey, Russia and Iran last month.
“The de-escalation zone agreement was a promising idea [. …] under which the Russians are maintaining security outside of Idlib and Turkey is maintaining security inside the Idlib region,” Erdoğan said.
Speaking to Daily Sabah on the issue, Professor Salih Yılmaz, Chairman of the Russian Research Institute at Yıldırım Beyazıt University, contended that the Assad regime and Russia are focused on convincing rebel groups in Idlib through Turkey just as they did in Aleppo to end the conflict. “The [Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham] HTS’s insistence over resuming the fight has started to dissipate as a result of Turkey’s firm stance on the issue. On a different note, Ankara also objects to the bombing of civilian areas in Idlib. I think Putin wants to see Turkey on the ground, creating checkpoints in the war-torn city as soon as possible,” he said, adding that outstanding issues of the Astana talks, such as the exchanging of prisoners of war (POWs), will likely be discussed in the meeting as well.
Yılmaz, on the other hand, said Turkey could bring the post-referendum activities of Russian energy companies in northern Iraq to the agenda in the meeting, as well.
Russian energy giant Rosneft and the KRG reportedly agreed on a deal regarding Rosneft’s funding of a natural gas pipeline in northern Iraq, an investment that would be worth more than $1 billion.
In addition to recent cooperation on political issues, a convergence has evolved between the two countries militarily, since the agreement on the S-400 missile procurement deal which envisages Ankara’s purchase of two Russian missiles from Moscow over the next two years.
Yılmaz said that while the first delivery made in the scope of the procurement deal will come from previously manufactured missiles, a consensus has been reached on potential joint production of the missile system, with the second delivery possibly coming from a jointly produced system. “In addition to the S-400s, Russia has additional offers for Turkey for the joint manufacturing of some other arms used in the defense industry. Military experts on both sides are working on areas for further cooperation between the two countries,” he said.
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