The leaders are on different sides in Syria’s civil war but share an interest in getting past the 2015 shoot-down crisis
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared a stage with Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Istanbul on Monday in a display of improved relations not 11 months after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane along the border with Syria, triggeringmonths of hostility between the two states that both leaders appeared intent on trying to put behind them.
In his first visit to Turkey since the shoot-down, Putin spoke at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, addressing a vast, darkened auditorium full of dignitaries. The Russian President offered a mostly dry speech on the state of world oil prices, pipelines and “boosting energy transport capacity.” He did not mention the immediate crisis in neighboring Syria, where Russia supports the embattled government of President Bashar Assad while Turkey supports rebels fighting him.
Climbing the stage immediately afterward, Erdogan moved from energy to the war. Standing in front of a glittering, floor-to-ceiling video screen, he raised the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where Russian and regime forces are engaged in an escalating campaign against the rebel-held section of the city.
“Today in Aleppo when kids look out on the horizon, they see helicopters and warplanes that bomb them,” Erdogan said, referring to the embattled city where Russian and regime forces are bombing residential neighborhoods held by rebels. Putin sat perhaps 10 feet away but showed no discomfort. Moments later, the two Presidents stood shoulder to shoulder alongside more than a dozen other leaders for what the M.C. described as a “family photo.” Later the same day, the pair signed a long-anticipated agreement to build a 560-mile natural gas pipeline linking Turkey and Russia across the Black Sea.
Categories: Middle East, Russia, The Muslim Times, Turkey
Leave a Reply