Erdoğan keeps Putin waiting in awkward moment ahead of Tehran talks

Russian president was left standing alone as the camera shutters clicked away – a treatment he usually reserves for other world leaders

The Turkish president, Tayyip Erdoğan, meets with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Tehran, Iran, on 19 July.
Vladimir Putin left waiting for Turkish counterpart – video

Samantha Lock

@Samantha__LockWed 20 Jul 2022

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has been left awkwardly standing in a room in front of a throng of reporters while waiting to meet his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Footage taken ahead of the meeting on Tuesday shows Putin fidgeting, shifting his weight and pulling a series of uncomfortable faces in front of cameras for nearly a minute before he is finally greeted by Erdoğan.

It was unfamiliar terrain for the Russian leader who has developed a reputation for keeping world leaders waiting, on purpose, sometimes for hours after scheduled talks were due to begin. Some speculated it may have been payback for a 2020 meeting in Moscow that saw Erdoğan wait so long to enter the meeting room that he took a seat.


Reporters captured the moment Putin strode into the room on Tuesday in the expectation Erdoğan would swiftly follow suit. Instead, he was left standing amid the sound of camera shutters.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by GALAZKA/SIPA/REX Shutterstock (4841935o)
Pope Francis I meets the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in the Private Library of the Apostolic Palace
Papal audience with Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Vatican, Rome, Italy - 10 Jun 2015

With his hands clasped in front of him, the usually stoic Russian leader was seen shuffling his feet and sucking his cheeks during the 50-second wait. Finally, Putin let his hands fall by his sides with a hint of exasperation as Erdoğan casually emerged and the pair shook hands.

“Those 50 seconds that Erdoğan made Putin wait, looking frazzled in front of cameras say plenty of how much has changed after Ukraine,” Joyce Karam, senior correspondent at Middle Eastern media organisation National News, said in a Twitter post.

Karam called the exchange “sweet payback” for Erdoğan after Putin left the Turkish leader waiting for around two minutes before a meeting in 2020. Turkish media reported at the time that Erdoğan and his entourage were left humiliated after they were forced to wait outside in an antechamber in footage shared widely by Russian news outlets.

Vladimir Putin met Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi (centre), and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left), in Tehran.

Erdoğan has been leading efforts to broker a deal to allow thousands of tonnes of grain that is being blockaded by Russia to leave Ukraine’s ports.

Turkey, a Nato member, has a special responsibility under the 1936 Montreux convention for naval traffic entering the Black Sea. It is proposing that Russia allow Ukrainian grain ships to leave Odesa on designated routes so long as checks are made that the vessels are not carrying arms.

Though Putin praised the Turkish leader for mediating talks, saying some progress had been made, he was less impressed with Erdoğan’s ambitions to construct a buffer zone south of the Turkish-Syrian border.

Erdoğan claims the buffer zone would shield Turkey from attacks by Syrian Kurds and maintains it is “not possible to expect Turkey to sit idle and aloof from this problem”.

Some have speculated that Putin’s tardiness when meeting with international leaders is a calibrated psychological policy that goes back to the early days of his presidency. Putin was 14 minutes late for the Queen in 2003, and a year earlier kept parents of children killed in a plane crash waiting at a cemetery for two hours.

Putin showed up an hour late to his meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican in June 2015.

In 2018, then US president Donald Trump was kept waiting for 45 minutes ahead of a scheduled summit in Helsinki with the Russian president.

According to Radio Free Europe, Angela Merkel was left waiting for four hours and 15 minutes for a meeting with Putin in 2014, while Viktor Yanukovych, when he was Ukrainian president, once waited four hours before sitting down with the Russian leader.


Leave a Reply