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Ending the struggle in Ukraine and beginning a brand new one in Syria are anticipated to dominate talks on Friday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan will probably be driving excessive from the diplomatic success of serving to orchestrate the resumption of Ukrainian grain shipments throughout the Black Sea when he visits Sochi for his second talks with Putin in simply over two weeks.

However there are tensions. The Turkish chief was informed by Putin in Tehran final month that Russia stays against any new offensive that Turkey could be planning towards Kurdish militants in northern Syria.

Analysts imagine these strains type a part of the “competitive cooperation” that has outlined the 2 leaders’ relation over the previous 20 years.

“Russia’s war on Ukraine has restored Turkey’s self image as a key geopolitical player and given Erdogan more visibility than at any time in the last few years,” European Council of Overseas Relations fellow Asli Aydintasbas wrote in a report final week.

“Most Turks support their country’s balancing act and quasi-neutral position between the West and Russia.”

– Truce talks –

Makes an attempt by NATO member Turkey to stay impartial within the face of Moscow’s historic standoff with the West over Ukraine are beginning to repay.

Months of Turkish efforts noticed Moscow and Kyiv signal a UN-backed settlement in Istanbul final month to renew grain deliveries from Ukrainian ports.

The primary ship from Ukraine crossed Istanbul on Wednesday. Three extra are anticipated to to set sail Friday below a landmark deal designed to alleviate a world meals disaster attributable to the struggle.

Turkey desires to translate this success into truce talks in Istanbul between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We discussed if the grain agreement could be an occasion for a sustainable ceasefire,” Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu mentioned after talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Asia on Wednesday.

Complicating these efforts are repeated threats by Erdogan to launch a brand new navy operation in Syria — a rustic the place Russian and Turkish pursuits conflict.

Russia’s military helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad survive a decade-long rebel by teams backed by Turkey.

However Erdogan is threatening to invade northern Syria to ascertain a buffer zone that pushes out Kurdish teams he hyperlinks to “terrorists” waging an insurgency towards the Turkish state.

Putin informed Russian media in Tehran he nonetheless has “certain disagreements, obviously” with Erdogan about Syria.

“In most likelihood, (Friday’s) meeting has something do with a possible incursion into Syria, for which Turkey did not get a green light from Russia — or from Iran, for that matter,” mentioned international affairs analyst Soli Ozel of Istanbul’s Has College.

“Russia would have to get something in return,” Ozel added.

– Ready sport –

Some Turkish media speculate that what Putin actually desires is drones.

Turkey has been supplying Kyiv with deadly Bayraktar aerial automobiles which have proved efficient in destroying Russian armoured columns throughout the Ukrainian struggle zone.

US officers say a Russian group has visited Iran to scope out the acquisition of a whole lot of drones for its personal forces in Ukraine.

Erdogan has added to the intrigue by telling his cupboard that Putin requested him in Tehran to start out promoting the Bayraktars to Russia.

A senior Turkish official later mentioned that Erdogan interpreted the suggestion as a joke.

However Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to lend credence to the thought.

“Military and technological cooperation are always on the two countries’ agenda,” Peskov informed reporters.

One unlikely supply of pressure is how the 2 leaders — famend for being chronically late — will really meet.

Erdogan made Putin stand in place for almost 50 seconds earlier than strolling out to greet him in Tehran.

A Turkish state information company digital camera zeroed in on Putin’s fidgeting face the whole time.

Many interpreted this as payback for the time Putin made Erdogan look ahead to almost two minutes at a gathering in 2020.

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