ISTANBUL: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey on Monday for talks with his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Syria and the United States’ recognition of Occupied Jerusalem as the Israeli regime’s capital, the Turkish presidency said on Friday.
Putin will visit Ankara “at the invitation of” Erdogan, the presidency said in a statement, adding that the talks would focus on the latest developments on Occupied Jerusalem and the situation in Syria.
The Kremlin confirmed the visit, saying the two men planned to “discuss current questions of bilateral cooperation and above all the progress of joint projects in energy.”
This appeared to be a reference to the TurkStream pipeline that is being built under the Black Sea to pump Russian natural gas to Turkey, and also to the Akkuyu nuclear power plant Moscow is building in southern Turkey.
It added that talks are also scheduled “on key international problems, including the situation in the Middle East and finding a solution in Syria.”
The latest encounter between the two leaders comes at a time of intense diplomacy between Turkey and Russia, especially over Syria.
It will be their eighth face-to-face meeting this year.
Russia, along with Iran, is the key backer of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, and Moscow’s military intervention inside Syria is widely seen as having tipped the balance in the conflict.
Turkey, however, has backed the rebels seeking Al Assad’s ouster in a conflict that has left more than 330,000 dead.
But Russia and Turkey have been working together since a 2016 reconciliation deal ended a crisis caused by the shooting down of a Russian warplane over Syria.
In recent months, Turkey has markedly toned down its criticism of the Al Assad regime and focused on opposing a Syrian Kurdish militia seen by Ankara as a terror group.
Their last meeting was on November 22 in the Russian resort of Sochi, when they were joined by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for a three way summit on Syria.
Both Turkey and Russia have expressed alarm at the US move to recognise Occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Putin said he was “deeply concerned” while Erdogan has taken a strong line against the move and called an emergency summit meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on December 13 in Istanbul.