DIPLOMACY While Ankara is on the offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria
Demanding to negotiate with Donald Trump in person, Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence. In the meantime, the Turkish President will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the Turkish Presidency announced on Wednesday
In a positive response to his invitation, Erdogan will visit Russia on 22 October, while Ankara is in the middle of a military operation against the Kurds in northern Syria.
The meeting will take place in the seaside resort of Sochi, the presidency said in a statement, adding that Erdogan would make the round trip later today.
Russian troops have been sent to certain areas: according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an NGO, Russian troops accompanied on Wednesday the Syrian regime’s soldiers who entered the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane. And since Tuesday, members of the Russian military police have been patrolling the Minbej area, from where Turkey wants to dislodge Kurdish fighters. On Wednesday, Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that Turkey would not accept Kurdish forces remaining in Minbej under Russian protection.
Turkey and Russia have divergent interests in Syria, with Ankara supporting rebel groups that oppose Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But the two countries, whose presidents meet and talk regularly, have increased their cooperation on Syrian issues over the past few years.