Putin and Erdogan meet in Sochi, Ankara shifting to Moscow?


Forest fires, gas pipelines, nuclear power plants and conflicts in Syria and the Caucasus were among the topics discussed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi on Wednesday.

The summit was hotly anticipated as Russia and Turkey appeared at odds over the current situation in Syria’s Idlib province, and following Erdogan’s speech at last week’s UN General Assembly calling Crimea a part of Ukraine “whose annexation we do not recognize.”

However, the Turkish leader also added spice when he expressed frustration at talks with his NATO ally, US President Joe Biden, and announced that he would instead try to build closer ties with Russia. Erdogan felt that the discussions in New York went badly. The fact Ankara is a key member of the US-led NATO military bloc, of course, means the summit could have geopolitical ramifications. 

Its results, however, remain veiled in mystery as the two presidents did not address the media after their talks. Erdogan tweeted on Wednesday evening that he left Sochi “after a fruitful meeting” with Putin.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin posted a photo with the two presidents smiling and shaking hands, along with a transcript of their opening remarks ahead of the encounter. 

According to the transcript, Putin was “delighted that our relations continue to develop and are progressing in a positive manner” and said Russia and Turkey were “cooperating quite successfully on the international stage, including on Syria” and Libya.


Putin pointed out that Russo-Turkish trade has recovered from the drop early on in the Covid-19 pandemic and “surged ahead” by 30% since, and thanked Erdogan on his “consistent stand” regarding the TurkStream gas pipeline.