TOP STORIES Putin and Erdogan will talk in Sochi.

Putin and Erdogan will talk in Sochi.


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Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are scheduled to meet Friday in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi in southern Russia for a second face-to-face meeting in less than three weeks in a challenging environment. overlapping and competing interests.

Aides to the leaders portrayed the Sochi talks as a continuation of their July 19 talks in Iran, which included Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and covered everything from drones to grain and energy supplies to Syria.

Mr. Erdogan has become an important intermediary between Ukraine and Russia, which is looking for ways to break out of the economic and political isolation imposed by the West due to its invasion of Ukraine. Turkey, a member of NATO and a long-lost bidder for EU membership, played a major role in brokering an agreement between the two warring countries to urgently resume supplies of Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea.

The deal is currently being tested, with the first ship leaving the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Monday heading for Lebanon, and three more ships clearing customs to leave Ukrainian ports on Friday with grain cargoes badly needed to address growing global food shortages.

Mr. Erdogan is walking a fine line in order to retain the ability to negotiate with both Russia, NATO’s adversary, and Western members of the alliance. Turkey has insisted on its refusal to join Western sanctions against Russia, irritating its NATO allies, but Mr. Erdogan has also taken the plunge to ease his initial objections to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance as a bulwark against Russian aggression.

Russia is an important energy supplier to Turkey, providing a quarter of the country’s crude oil imports and almost half of its natural gas purchases last year. Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear corporation, is building a nuclear power plant in the Mediterranean that is projected to supply 10 percent of Turkey’s energy needs when it is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

For its part, Turkey is becoming an important transshipment point for goods bound for Russia as many Western freight companies no longer ship goods to Russia for fear of violating sanctions, Turkish newspaper Dunya reported on Thursday. And the country remains a popular destination for Russian tourists, with 1.4 million visitors this year, according to Interfax.

However, sharp differences remain between the two leaders. Their countries supported the opposing sides in the civil war in Syria, neighboring Turkey. The Kremlin has shed blood and money to support President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey, which has taken in more than 3.7 million Syrian military refugees, is backing an opposing rebel group and threatening a new military offensive in northern Syria. They have also been involved on opposing sides in the burgeoning border dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Their relationship regarding weapons is also complex. In recent years, Turkey has denied its NATO partners the purchase of Russian anti-aircraft missiles. And now Russia, jaded by war-related Western sanctions on technologies such as guidance systems for missiles and drones, is urgently looking for materiel, a topic promised to be discussed in talks on Friday.

“Military-technical cooperation between the two countries is constantly on the agenda, and the very fact of the development of our interaction in this sensitive area indicates that, in general, the whole range of our relations is at a very high level,” Dmitry said. This was announced to journalists on Wednesday by the press secretary of the President of Russia S. Peskov, the Interfax agency reports.

East Safak made a report.

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