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News > Russia

Putin and Erdogan Discuss Syria and Defense in Moscow

  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 8, 2019

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 8, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 April 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow on Monday in order to discuss military cooperation and how to coordinate their next moves in Syria. 

Putin and Erdogan met on Monday in Moscow for the third time this year in order to develop bilateral talks. 

US: 200 'Peacekeeping' Troops to Remain in Syria

During the meeting, the two presidents discussed a deal aimed to deliver a Russia S-400 defense system to Turkey, a NATO member.

The U.S. recently warned Turkey that they could face possible sanctions if they achieve the deal, as Russia S-400 missile is believed to be incompatible with systems relied upon by the NATO countries.

"We will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East," said Vice President of the United States Mike Pence.

Turkey said the deal was done and deliveries of the S-400s will begin in July. 

"On the issue of the S-400s, we have determined our road map, we have taken steps," Erdogan said. "Those who tell us to give up our plans, those who make recommendations do not know us. If we have made a contract, if we have reached a deal, then this business is finished. This is our sovereign right, this is our decision."

"We may reach agreements on the joint development and production of high-tech weapons," Putin said.

The two leaders said that Russia and Turkey were planning to expand their annual trade, currently at about $25 billion, to $100 billion. 

Erdogan highlighted that the number of Russian tourists who visited Turkey last year reached 6 million people. 

Regarding Syria, Putin said the two countries were making "vigorous concerted efforts" to normalize the Syrian situation. 

Russia and Turkey made an agreement in September in order to create a security zone in the northern province of Idlib. Putin announced Russia and Turkey failed in fully implement the deal.

"We have moved forward, albeit not as quickly as we hoped," Putin said. 

"We have taken the steps we need to take and we will continue to do so," Erdogan said. "There is no turning back."

Erdogan is looking to create a safe zone in the northern region of Syria in order to control a territory he considers as a rear base of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants. Turkey views the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria as a "terrorist group" and an extension of the PKK, which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

"We have said that we will not agree to a structure in Syria’s north that would threaten our security as well as Syria’s territorial integrity," Erdogan said.

Russia, Turkey, and Iran are working together to find a political solution to the Syrian civil war by pushing for the creation of the "Sochi Committee" to draft the country's new constitution. 

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