Ahead of the meeting between Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 5th, there appears to be division in Turkey.
When a member of #Turkey’s Parliament, #Engin_Özkoç bravely criticised #Erdoğan’s operation & involvement in #Syria, members of the #AKP took offence & launched a fist fight in Parliament against him & other CHP members. https://t.co/mnSwrxERsg
— Hala Jaber (@HalaJaber) March 4, 2020
The meeting was initially supposed to take place in Ankara, as per Erdogan’s words, but it turned out that it would be in Moscow.
Erdogan is accompanied by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusolglu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, among other high-profile government representatives.
The two leaders are set to discuss the recent developments in Syria, including cease-fire violations in the Idlib de-escalation zone, “a stronghold of opposition forces” in Syria since 2011.
“This is a tension that harbors the risk of coming to a faceoff. The previous meetings between the two leaders always played a role that facilitated situations, yet now everyone is trying to gain territory as the meeting draws near and both sides know that their performance on the field will affect the negotiating table,” said Oytun Orhan, of the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), in an interview with Daily Sabah.
In addition, according to other pro-Turkish experts, the two sides are testing each other, but it is primarily Ankara testing how far it can go in denying that terrorists even exist in Idlib and supporting them, in addition to continuously accusing Russia of various misconduct on the ground in Syria.
“The two sides are testing each other’s limits on the Idlib ground,” Hüseyin Alptekin, a researcher at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), told Daily Sabah. “The meeting will not be similar to previous meetings as Sochi or Astana.”
Turkey aims to reach a peaceful political solution in Idlib at a meeting with Russia on Thursday, said the Turkish defense minister on March 4th.
“Turkey’s military activities in Syria continue as planned, and our soldiers are fulfilling their duties with heroism,” Hulusi Akar said.
Akar added that Turkey’s expectation from Russia as a guarantor country is to influence the regime to fulfill its commitments, stop its attacks and comply with the Sochi agreement.
Moscow expects that negotiations between the heads of state will minimize the risk of confrontation.
“The solution to the problem is the full implementation of the agreements of the presidents of Russia and Turkey reached in September 2018 on the de-escalation zone in Idlib. Unfortunately, they are not yet being implemented. I hope the upcoming meeting will allow this situation to change and begin to move towards implementation what we are striving for,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out.
Anticipating a personal meeting, in late February, leaders discussed the situation by telephone.
“The conversation took place in detail and was dedicated to the need to do everything to fulfill the initial agreement on the Idlib de-escalation zone,” explained Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the following:
“The meeting will be to discuss the problems of the Syrian government, taking into account the current aggravation of the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone,” Peskov said, the day before. Moscow’s position in the negotiations remains consistent and unchanged: to assist the Syrian Arab Republic in the fight against terrorists and maintain its territorial integrity.
The main reason for the aggravation, according to Moscow is that Turkey has failed to carry out any of its responsibilities under the Sochi Agreements.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Syrian Troops Recapture Sheikh Aqil From Turkish-backed Al-Qaeda Militants (Map Update)
- Closer Look At Schools And Hospitals Destroyed By ‘Bloody Regime And Co.’ In Idlib
- Turkish-Backed Militants Advance Further In Northern Aleppo, Capture Hilltop