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Russia and Turkey focus on Syria in talks at Sochi

Leaders President Putin and Erdogan push for closer ties as they consider a political solution for Syria

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Russia and Turkey focus on Syria in talks at Sochi

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Turkey and Russia have agreed to focus on Syria’s political future despite having supported opposite sides in the seven year conflict.

After several hours of talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed a basis had been formed for a political solution and favourable conditions created for the next round of Syria talks in Geneva backed by the UN.

“Given the achievements in the fight against the terrorists, the President of Turkey and I agree that it is necessary to augment efforts to assure long-term normalization (in Syria),” said President Putin after the talks.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later referred to last week’s affirmation by Presidents Trump and Putin of de-escalation zones in Syria which have helped reduce the fighting.

“We appreciate the joint statement that was made in Vietnam by Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. And I am pleased to see that at the same time the relations between Turkey and Russia have reached a new, strong level.
(…)
I especially care about the bilateral steps that Russia and Turkey have taken in area of our defence industries.”

Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile system is both a diplomatic and military move.
Relations had soured in 2015 by Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane but things appear to have improved.