Putin Meets Erdogan as Russia Pursues Syria Diplomacy Blitz

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Ilya Arkhipov – May 3, 2017) Russian President Vladimir Putin continued his diplomatic push for a plan to establish safe zones in Syria backed by peacekeepers as he began talks with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday. Russia and Turkey can “change the destiny of the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Sergei Lavrov, Sergei Naryshkin and Alexander Bortnikov

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(Kremlin.ru – December 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin and Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Tragic news has arrived from Turkey, where Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was brutally murdered. First of all, I would like to […]

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RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST 2015-2016: PUSHING ON AN OPEN DOOR

Middle East Map

(Robert O. Freedman, Johns Hopkins University – 31 October 2016) There is no question but that Russia has been very active in the Middle East over the last year, especially in Syria. There is a question however as to whether Moscow has been able to transform this activity into actual influence in the region. I would argue that the answer […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Discuss Syria Cooperation Plan. Officials see hope of reducing violence and creating atmosphere for political transition” – Wall Street Journal

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… Kerry and … Lavrov are meeting … in a bid to complete a deal on increased cooperation in Syria that officials hope could help create the calm necessary for talks on a political transition. … The Pentagon is concerned about more closely cooperating with Russia, which backs … al-Assad’s regime. * * * Kerry’s efforts are opposed by some […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH/ Kommersant: “Six reasons Russia and Turkey will struggle to become strategic partners.”

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The Russian-Turkish rapprochement obtained during the Aug. 9 summit in St. Petersburg must not engender unrealistic expectations and excessive illusions. There are still many problems and serious contradictions in relations between Moscow and Ankara for there to be, as some commentators are already saying, a ‘strategic alliance’ between Russia and Turkey.

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin/ Erdogan] News conference following talks with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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(Kremlin.ru – August 9, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, We have just completed the main part of the talks with President Erdogan. Naturally, this meeting is very important for the future of Russian-Turkish relations. We had a meaningful and, I would like to emphasise, constructive conversation on the entire range of bilateral issues and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Turkey’s Erdogan Patches Up Relations With Putin” – Wall Street Journal

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… Putin and … Erdogan mended fences in a high-profile meeting Tuesday, bolstering their governments’ ties as both face strained relations with the West. … Erdogan’s first trip abroad since the Turkish coup attempt … signals his willingness to look to Moscow, traditionally the counterweight to Western influence in the Middle East. But Western leaders say Turkey … crucial to […]

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Coup talk in Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The war in the east, the rise of paramilitaries and polarised public opinion are feeding fears of a violent seizure of power in Kyiv. Could Ukraine follow in Turkey’s footsteps? (opendemocracy.net – Denys Gorbach – August 2, 2016) Denys Gorbach is a leftist activist and researcher working on the Ukrainian labour movement. Once again, Ukrainians are discussing the possibility of […]

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How will the attempted coup in Turkey affect Moscow-Ankara relations?

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Experts are divided on the significance of the failure to overthrow the Turkish government by members of the country’s armed forces for Russia-Turkey relations. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA CHULKOVSKAYA, RBTH – July 17, 2016) Late in the evening of July 15, a military coup was attempted in Turkey. In Ankara, rebel faction of the armed forces […]

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Turkey Signals Cooperation With Russia Against Islamic State

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Selcan Hacaoglu, Firat Kozok – July 4, 2016) Turkey may cooperate with Russia in fighting Islamic State, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday, just days after the countries agreed to work to repair strained ties. Cavusoglu denied signaling in an interview Sunday that Turkey may let Russia use southern Incirlik air base for operations in Syria. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

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(Kremlin.ru – June 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss priority areas for 2017. The President also instructed the Government to begin work on normalising relations with Turkey. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. I would like to inform you that after receiving a letter from the Turkish President, we have decided to start work […]

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RBTH: Why Erdogan apologized to Putin

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 bomber in the skies over Syria, the president’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said. According to experts, Erdogan took such a step due to the deterioration in relations with the EU over refugees and the economic consequences of the breakdown in […]

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What’s behind Ankara’s conciliatory overtures to Moscow?

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Amidst the almost frozen interaction between Turkey and Russia, top government officials in Ankara are sending signals to Moscow of their readiness to mend the ruptured relationship. Can these suggestions be taken at face value and what are the chances of a reconciliation? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 2, 2016) The […]

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Russians Not Ready to Forgive Turkey for Downed Plane – Poll

File Photo of Russian SU-24 Military Jet Harassing U.S. Navy Vessel in Black Sea, Adapted from U.S. Military Video

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 1, 2016) The majority of Russians are not ready to restore relations with Turkey after it downed a Russian warplane in November 2015, a survey by the state-run VTsIOM pollster published Monday revealed. Some 63 percent of respondents think the Kremlin should not lift the anti-Turkish sanctions that were imposed by Moscow following the […]

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NEWSLINK: “How likely is a Turkish invasion of Syria? As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops move closer to taking the strategic northern city of Aleppo, Russian observers believe that a Turkish invasion of Syria is becoming ever more likely given Ankara’s opposition to Assad’s regime and the Syrian Kurds.” – RBTH/Gazeta.ru

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NEWSWATCH: “In Syria, Russia Protects Its Interests From Above and Below” – Stratfor

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Stratfor reports on the buildup of Russian air defenses in Syria in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft. With such an extensive presence, Russia will be able to obstruct the war efforts of those opposed to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The United States and its allies can still fly airstrikes against the Islamic State, but […]

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How likely is an armed conflict between Russia and Turkey?

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

As relations between Russia and Turkey deteriorate, the question of a possible armed conflict between the two countries is being discussed more frequently. RBTH asked Russian and Turkish military experts to comment on how likely this outcome would be and asked them to lay out the possible scenarios. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA CHULKOVSKAYA, RBTH – February […]

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Putin vs. Erdogan – This Time It’s Personal

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 4, 2016) On Feb. 2, Turkish President Recep Erdogan urgently sought an audience with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Turkish ambassador in Moscow relayed the message, but has, it seems, yet to receive a response. It was the second time Erdogan has been rebuffed by Putin following Turkey’s downing of […]

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Expert skeptical on prospects of getting information from Su-24 black box

File Photo of Russian SU-24 Military Jet Harassing U.S. Navy Vessel in Black Sea, Adapted from U.S. Military Video

(Interfax – December 22, 2015) The chances of obtaining information from the black box of the Russian bomber Sukhoi Su-24, which was downed by the Turkish Air Force, are extremely low because of the severe damage to the recording device, says Oleg Smirnov, a prominent Soviet pilot and chairman of the civil aviation commission of the Public Council at Russia’s […]

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The Year Of The Troll

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 10, 2015) For much of the year, Russian bombers, warships, and submarines played chicken with NATO with provocative incursions into member states’ sea and airspace. And as the year drew to a close, Moscow finally got burned when Turkey’s air force shot down a Su-24 warplane. The incident, which has led to […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “Kremlin’s beef with Turkey hits Russians at home – and on holiday”

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

The acrimony between Moscow and Ankara over the downing of a Russian bomber in Syria has cut Russians off from Turkish produce, and reduced their vacation options to boot.

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Interfax: Truthfulness of evidence of oil smuggled to Turkey from terrorists-controlled areas raises no doubt – senator Ozerov

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) – Russia has no doubt about the credibility of the evidence it showed of oil supplies to Turkey from ISIL-controlled areas, said Viktor Ozerov, head of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee. “These are objective documents. With the system of capabilities that the U.S. and other NATO states have, joking and serving – to put […]

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Russians Find New Holiday Spots After Egypt, Turkey Bans

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Joanna Kozlowska – December 4, 2015) Russian tour operators have seen increasing demand for tours to India, Thailand, and the UAE following restrictions on travel to Egypt and Turkey – Russians’ two preferred destinations in the first half of 2015, Russian media reported on Friday. At the same time, officials’ attempts to revive interest in […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Mark Galeotti: “Moscow Must Avoid Shadow War With Ankara”

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Writing in The Moscow Times, Mark Galeotti considers Russia’s potential reactions to Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft. Moscow is sanctioning Turkish goods and holidays, something that will have a distinct impact on an economy which earns $6.5 billion a year from Russian tourists, but is this enough to assuage President Vladimir Putin’s evident fury at the shooting down […]

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Putin talks tough on Turkey but holds back on anti-West rhetoric

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Analyzing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual speech to the Federal Assembly, Russian observers interviewed by RBTH underlined the contrast between Putin’s harsh stance toward Turkey and his apparent readiness to cooperate with the West, though they said the address was lacking in groundbreaking ideas. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – December 4, 2015) Against the […]

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RBTH: ‘Change of regime’ needed for Moscow and Ankara to start talking

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to meet at the UN climate summit in Paris, but made a number of harsh statements, which, Russian commentators say, have left the two leaders with no chance of reconciliation. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – December 2, 2015) The UN climate conference in […]

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Interfax: Putin regrets deterioration of relations with Turkey

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Interfax – December 1, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has regretted the exacerbation of relations between Russia and Turkey and said that Moscow has repeatedly raised the question of terrorists coming from that country in its contacts with Turkey. “I think all of us regret this, and I personally regret this because I personally have been doing a lot for […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “NATO Ministers Discuss Measures to Defend Turkish Airspace. Meeting of NATO foreign ministers follows last week’s shooting down of Russian jet.”

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

The Wall Street Journal covers NATO plans to bolster allied support of Turkish air defense, with heightened focus after the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft. Allies have been discussing how to help Turkey defend its airspace for years, but the talks gained new urgency after the downing of the Russian plane that NATO says briefly entered Turkish airspace. […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Obama urges Turkey to reduce tensions with Russia”

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Reuters covers U.S.-Turkish relations in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft. U.S. President Barack Obama urged Turkey on Tuesday to reduce tensions with Moscow after the downing of a Russian warplane and to seal its border with Syria to choke off the supply of money and fighters to Islamic State militants. * * * Obama stressed […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: “Discord Between Turkey and Russia Is Fueled by Leaders’ Similarities”

The New York Times considers Turkish-Russian relations in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft, in the light of the two nation’s leaders, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both men are often described as combative, uncompromising, nationalistic and authoritarian. Mr. Putin changed jobs to keep running his country, switching between the post of prime minister and […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “Russians Seeking Winter Retreat Are Stopped Cold. Moscow’s travel bans to Egypt, Turkey amid diplomatic crises force tens of thousands to adjust or cancel vacations”

The Wall Street Journal covers disruptions to Russian travel plans, amidst travel bans imposed by the Kremlin following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet and a suspected terrorist downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. Turkey and Egypt were popular destinations, offering hotels and services far better than Russian equivalents at a reasonable price. Six million Russians visited Turkey […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Kevin Ryan: “Turkish Shootdown Shows Importance of NATO-Russia Dialogue”

NATO Meeting file photo

In the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft, Retired Brigadier General Kevin Ryan addresses the need for greater dialogue between NATO and Russia. It is important to recognize how serious the situation has become between Russia and NATO over the last two years. In response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its activities in Ukraine, almost all operational communications between the militaries of NATO and Russia have been suspended. […]

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Moscow and Ankara facing test of political nerve

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Bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia have been seriously damaged by the shooting down of a Russian bomber near the Syrian border by the Turkish air force. However, despite a history of uneasy partnership, both sides will realize that it is not in their interests to allow tensions to spiral over the incident. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “Russia Takes Aim at Turkish Economy Amid Fighter-Jet Spat. Turkish officials reject Vladimir Putin’s call for an apology.”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal covers Russia’s response to Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet. Russia has reacted with fury to the incident and vowed to retaliate by clamping down on trade and business ties. … Turkish President … Erdogan dismissed Mr. Putin’s demands that Ankara apologize or offer compensation …. Turkey has provided evidence that it gave repeated warnings […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: “How Turkey confounded Putin’s favorite narratives”

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

The Washington Post covers Russian rhetoric in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet. On Monday, two Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian plane which Turkey said had crossed into its airspace. Various interpretations could in theory be placed upon this event. Depending on one’s point of view, it could be described as an act of self-defense […]

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NEWSWATCH The National Interest/Nikolas K. Gvosdev: “Russian Jet Down in Turkey: Misstep or Game-Changer?”

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Writing for The National Interest, Nikolas K. Gvosdev comments upon possible repercussions from Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russia military jet. In the immediate aftermath, whatever progress Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan achieved on the sidelines of the Antalya G-20 summit is now completely lost. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s trip to Turkey, which was designed to get the Turkish-Russian […]

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Russia-Turkey crisis: What do ordinary citizens think?

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The shooting down of a Russian jet by Turkey’s air force has left many Russians indignant and confused, while in Turkey the crisis in relations between Moscow and Ankara has also become the hottest talking point. RBTH looks at social trends and speaks to ordinary citizens to gauge opinion in the two countries. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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Downing of Russian Sukhoi Bomber Was Predictable

File Photo of Russian SU-24 Military Jet Harassing U.S. Navy Vessel in Black Sea, Adapted from U.S. Military Video

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – November 26, 2015) The downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Syrian border by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on Tuesday marks the first serious clash between Russian forces and an external coalition involved in Syria’s civil war – but it was a predictable event. Turkey has been supporting rebel forces […]

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Russian Tour Agencies Cancel Turkey Trips Amid Fury Over Downed Warplane

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 26, 2015) Turkey is a hugely popular vacation spot for Russians, almost 3.3 million of whom holidayed there in 2014, according to official figures. Russian tour agencies have canceled flights to Turkey and suspended sales of new tours a day after the downing of a Russian fighter-bomber by the Turkish military, Russian media reported […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: “Russian provocations led to the downing of its fighter jet by Turkey”

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The Washington Post comments on Turkey’s downing of a Russian military jet, laying the blame squarely upon the Kremlin. Following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet Tuesday, Western leaders rightly addressed themselves to heading off an escalation between Moscow and a NATO member. In the process, they were not as clear as they could have been about where responsibility […]

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