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Saturday, 01 October 2022
Sochi Summit: Sharing interests between old enemies
 Zara Saleh1

In 2015, the escalation between Moscow and Ankara reached a peak and their relationship was at its lowest level after the Turkish military forces shot down a Russian warplane in the Syrian territories. As a result, the Russian response in the economic sphere has been expressed in banning tourism and stopping the imports of vegetables and fruits from Ankara.

However, Russia launched a diplomatic process of negotiation in Astana-Sochi on the Syria conflict in 2017 with the participation of Turkey and Iran as a part of Putin's strategy to regain control over the Syrian territories in Assad's regime's interest. Besides that, the controversial cooperation and mutual interests of the friendship of enemies between Moscow and Ankara were over the Syrian conflict. While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has backed the Syrian opposition and its jihadi militias, Russian President Putin was on the opposite side and supported Assad's regime with Iranian assistance and its Shii-affiliated groups and Hizbullah.

Friday's meeting in Sochi between Putin and Erdogan which took around four hours has been described, from both sides, in a diplomatic way as they "underlined" the importance of their "cooperation and coordination to fight against all terrorist organisations" and hoping to bring stability in the region. Despite the importance of the trade and economical agreement that had been reached in Sochi, Erdogan's main aim during the summit still focuses on having a green light from Putin regarding a new launching military operation and invasion against Syrian Kurds. At the last summit in Tehran in July 2022 between Erdogan, Putin, and Iranian President Raisi, the Turkish President failed to convince its counterparts to further occupation of Kurdish areas in northeast Syria.  Erdogan has cited the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and was seeking to launch a military operation in Tel Rifat and Manbij in north and north-west Syria where there is a presence of Russian and Iranian militia.

On the other hand, Turkey's complex and controversial relations as a member of NATO have backed Ukraine by providing them with Drones but, at the same time, Ankara didn't join the sanctions against Russia. Simultaneously, Turkey in last month has played a mediation role between Russia and Ukraine with the direct presence of the UN regarding the delivery of Ukraine's grain from Ukrainian Black Sea ports which has become a global food crisis. Moreover, the common interests between Moscow and Ankara and they were mainly behind their trade agreement in Sochi's meeting and before that when both countries reached an agreement on the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project. Such economic agreements, of course, are inevitable for Turkey and Russia as they are facing a hard-economic situation due to the sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, and Turkey is facing extremely high inflation and an economic crisis. In other words, Sochi's Summit between Erdogan and Putin could be seen, from Turkey's point of view, as another failure of Erdogan's "Kurdish Phobia" to launch a new occupation operation against the Syrian Kurd, and he will return back to Ankara with empty-hands.


BY: Zara Saleh