Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Sochi on August 5.
Russian President Vladimir Putin opened talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on August 5, the second meeting between the two leaders in less than a month.
Ending the war in Ukraine and the prospect of a Turkish incursion in Syria are expected to dominate talks, with Erdogan arriving after his diplomatic success in helping orchestrate a UN-brokered deal to resume Ukrainian grain shipments across the Black Sea.
In remarks at the start of the meeting, Putin told Erdogan that he was expecting to sign an agreement to boost trade and economic ties. "I hope that today we will be able to sign a relevant memorandum on the development of our trade and economic ties," Putin said as the two leaders sat down for talks. The Turkish leader, who has tried to use his warm relations with both Ukraine and Russia to play a role in ending the war launched by the Kremlin on February 24, told his host that he was hoping the two of them would open "a different page" in bilateral ties. Ankara's planned military incursion to attack a Kurdish militia in northern Syria is due to be one of the main topics of discussion as well, according to Turkish state broadcaster TRT. Moscow, which has been backing President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, had recently advised against such an offensive. Ankara considers the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia the People's Defense Units (YPG) to be a terrorist group and suspects it is linked to domestic insurgents. A Turkish offensive in Syria's north has been on hold since 2019 following two cease-fire deals brokered by Washington and Russia. According to the Kremlin, the potential sale of unmanned combat drones from NATO member Turkey to Russia is also on the agenda. Putin has recently suggested that Russia cooperate with Turkey's Baykar drone producer, local broadcaster CNN Türk had quoted Erdogan as saying last month. The Ukrainian Army has been using Baykar's Bayraktar TB2 drones against Russian forces since start of the invasion in February.