Moscow – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to arrive in the Russian city of Sochi on Wednesday where he is due to hold talks with President Valdimir Putin on bilateral ties and regional issues, most notably Syria, announced the Kremlin.
Observers believe that support for Kurdish and radical groups will be a point of contention between the two leaders.
This is the second visit Erdogan pays to Russia in 2017, with the first being on March 10.
An informed source in Moscow noted to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Erdogan-Putin meeting coincides with the launch of a new round of negotiations on Syria in Astana. It said that the two leaders could take advantage of the talks in order to reach understandings over issues that will be present on the negotiations table.
“Should Putin and Erdogan reach understandings on issues addressed at Astana, then they will be confirming the importance of their bilateral ties, which will create the necessary conditions to overcome pending matters between the two countries,” it added.
The source did however rule out the possibility of Ankara and Moscow reaching an understanding over Russia’s support for the Kurds.
Putin and Erdogan will simply listen to each other’s concerns on the issue and pledge to gradually overcome differences over it, it explained.
Ankara will in turn receive from Moscow a final “warning” on Turkey’s alleged backing of radical Islamist groups in Syria, reported Russia’s TASS news agency according to informed Russian foreign ministry sources.
Russia is keen to ask Turkey “whether it was in its interest to keep on backing these groups” and whether Moscow can offer the necessary support for Kurds in their fight against the ISIS terror group.
In addition, Russia will also issue a warning, asking Ankara how much it is prepared for real strategic partnership with Moscow. It should however lift sanctions on the import of Russian wheat before any progress can be made in this regard, said the sources.
Ties between Turkey and Russia deteriorated after the former shot down a Russian plane in Syria in 2015. Erdogan and Putin sought to ease the tensions and they have held several meetings in 2016 and 2017 to than end.