Russian President Putin meets Turkish counterpart Erdogan for talks on Syria

President Vladimir Putin held talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which sources said focused on the situation in Syria. After a meeting of more than four hours, President Putin announced, in a joint press conference, that the two leaders had agreed to focus on a political solution to the conflict. Putin said, “Naturally we discussed the problems of Syrian settlement. Taking into consideration the success we achieved in our fight against terrorists, me and Mr. President (Erdogan) share the same opinion that we need to increase efforts to attain long-term normalization…” “First of all in promoting the process of political settlement and assisting Syrians in post-conflict recovery,” Putin said. The Russian leader further noted that he informed his Turkish counterpart regarding the understandings reached with Washington on the way to approach the situation in Syria.

President Erdogan, on his part, praised the establishment of de-escalation zones across Syria, that were established under an agreement reached between Russia, Turkey and Iran, which Erdogan declared as the key ingredient that has alleviated the situation on the ground, and resulted in the required foundation to reigniting a political process. The Turkish President said, “The Astana talks and the agreement on de-escalation zones have provided important contribution to de-escalation of violence in the field. (Pauses for translation) At this point, we both agree that there is a ground to focus on a political solution (in Syria),” he revealed.

The Turkish leader also took the opportunity to underline the importance of establishing closer and stronger cooperation between Moscow and Ankara, primarily to advance “joint steps” that will be taken in the defense industry.