Sochi has hosted a meeting between Russian President and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Russia’s Head of State expressed gratitude for Erdoğan’s visit. “Today we have a very good chance to discuss both our relations in the bilateral format and we could also consider regional issues”, said Putin, highlighting a gradual improvement in the two countries’ relations.
The Syrian conflict emerged as a major item on the agenda. In this context, Turkey’s President expressed confidence about the potential of joint efforts to positively influence the situation. As Erdoğan put it, “We have very serious work on our shoulders, very big responsibility. And I am sure that the steps we take together will change the destiny of the whole region”.
At the same time, pundits emphasize some remaining differences, which prevent Russia and Turkey from reaching new heights.
Orientalist Alexander Sotnichenko considered the Sochi meeting from a broader perspective, taking into account the Russian-Turkish relations on the whole. The political scientist’s comment to the Rethinking Russia think tank runs as follows.
The parties to the talks failed to achieve any major breakthrough. Unfortunately, the bilateral relations have not evidently been restored to the pre-crisis level as of now, and the parties have not reconciled with each other after the incident with Turkey’s downing of the Russian attack aircraft.
First, the bilateral sanctions were not lifted in full. What is more, Ankara imposed additional restrictions in the agricultural sector.
Secondly, the two countries still fall short of unlocking the full potential of their economic interaction.
Certain progress is naturally apparent, but the parties are still confronted with some problems, predominantly the ones linked to the Syrian issue. The Astana talks continue, albeit with certain difficulties, which are caused to some extent by the lack of understanding between Russia and Turkey.
Photo: RIA, Alexey Nikolskiy