First Published: 2017-09-25

Putin to visit Erdogan this week for Syria, Iraq talks
Leaders set to discuss Syria peace plan, Iraqi-Kurdish referendum during Putin’s one-day working trip to Ankara this Thursday.
Middle East Online

Russia, Turkey on opposite sides of Syria civil war despite warm relations

ANKARA - Russian President Vladimir Putin will this week visit Ankara for talks with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan set to touch on Iraq and Syria, both sides announced on Monday.

Putin will make a one-day working trip to Ankara on Thursday, the Kremlin and the Turkish presidency said, following a telephone call between the two men.

Ankara and Moscow have been on opposing sides of the over six year civil war in Syria, with Russia the key backer of President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing rebels seeking his ouster.

But while Turkey's policy is officially unchanged, it has been working closely with Russia since the end of 2016 to bring peace to Syria and has cooled its attacks on the Damascus regime.

The Kremlin said that Erdogan and Putin emphasised that the implementation of a plan for four "deescalation zones in Syria" would open the way to an end to the civil war and the creation of a political settlement.

Turkish presidential sources said that Erdogan and Putin also discussed Monday's non-binding independence referendum in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region.

They both stressed the importance of preserving the territorial integrity of both Iraq and Syria, the sources said.

Turkey is a leading opponent of the poll in northern Iraq, fearing the vote could stoke separatist aspirations among its own sizeable Kurdish minority.

But Russia has so far not come out explicitly against the referendum, emphasising the importance of preserving Iraq's territorial integrity.

Ankara and Moscow went through their worst crisis in ties since the end of the Cold War when the Turkish air force shot down a Russian war plane over Syria in November 2015.

But relations warmed rapidly following a reconciliation deal in 2016, and Erdogan and Putin have repeatedly met since.

 

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan

Saudi to give Yemen government $2bn bailout

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians

Saudi Arabia intercepts new Yemen rebel missile attack

Syria Kurds vow to cleanse enclave from Turkish 'scourges'

Israeli police find missing Briton’s belongings in desert

Algeria gas plant workers mark five years since jihadist siege

UN says over 5000 children killed or injured in Yemen war

European leaders’ response to Iran protests raises questions

Erdogan to visit Pope Francis next month

Iran slams US-backed 'border security force' in Syria