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Putin, Erdogan Agree To Boost Economic Ties At Sochi Meeting

By RFE/RL August 05, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed during a meeting on August 5 to boost cooperation in the transport, agriculture, and construction industries.

"Despite the current regional and global challenges, the leaders reaffirmed their common will to further develop Russian-Turkish relations," the Kremlin said in a statement. Putin and Erdogan agreed to ramp up trade and boost economic and energy cooperation, the Kremlin added.

They also stressed the need to ensure the implementation of the Istanbul agreement on the export of grain from Ukraine, including unimpeded exports of Russian grain, TASS reported, citing a joint statement by Putin and Erdogan.

The joint statement also said Putin and Erdogan confirmed their determination to work against terrorist organizations in Syria.

The Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak as saying they also agreed to switch part of payments for Russian gas to rubles.

The meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi lasted about four hours. It was the second between Putin and Erdogan in less than a month.

Ending the war in Ukraine and the prospect of a Turkish incursion in Syria were 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.

With reporting by AFP, TASS, and dpa

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/putin- erdogan-meeting-sochi/31975471.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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