News / Europe

Putin's Turkey Visit Could Smooth Syria Relations

Russia's President Vladimir Putin looks on during a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, November 8, 2012.  Russia's President Vladimir Putin looks on during a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, November 8, 2012.
x
Russia's President Vladimir Putin looks on during a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, November 8, 2012.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin looks on during a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, November 8, 2012.
Dorian Jones
— Russian President Vladmir Putin is scheduled to visit Turkey on December 3.  The visit comes as the two countries remain at odds over Syria, with Moscow supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Ankara the Syrian rebels.  Despite such differences, trade is continuing to grow between the two countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be hosted by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul for his one-day visit.  According to diplomatic columnist Semih Idiz for the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, the two leaders have built up a strong personal relationship.  But Idiz warns deep differences exist over Syria, with Erdogan taking an increasingly tough stance against Moscow.

"[Erdogan's] party congress accused Iran and Russia, saying who supports the oppressors in Syria will pay the price in the future," Idiz noted.  "It's clear the two countries have a very different attitude toward Syria and this is going to land to them in confrontational situations in the future."

Relations were dealt a further blow in October, when Turkish fighter jets forced the landing of a Syrian-bound passenger jet flying from Moscow last October.  Ankara claimed it was carrying weapons for the Syrian government, but has so far failed to provide any evidence.  Moscow denied the allegations.

Moscow has also strongly criticized Ankara's request that NATO deploy patriot missiles to protect it against any possible strike by Syria.

But this week Prime Minister Erdogan appeared to soften his stance, claiming Moscow could play a key role to resolving the Syrian crisis.

Sinan Ulgen is head of the Istanbul-based research institute Edam.

"They [Turkey] also realize that if Russia does not change its position, the dynamics on the ground are not likely to change," Ulgen said.  "If Russia continues to support the Assad regime, Assad will continue to hold on to power."

While Turkish observers don't expect Moscow to immediately end its support for the Syrian regime, there is increasing speculation that the Russians are starting to distance themselves from Damascus.

A Turkish official said Ankara is looking to Moscow to soften its outright opposition to future Syrian humanitarian interventions or sanctions at the United Nations Security Council.  As a permanent member, Russia has used its veto power three times to prevent tough action against the government of Syrian President Assad.

While differences remain between Russia and Turkey over Syria, bilateral trade has been largely unaffected.  International Relations expert Soli Ozel, at Istanbul's Kadir Has University, says trade will be an important part of President Putin's visit.

"The Russians are building the first nuclear reactor," Ozel explained.  "They want to build the second nuclear reactor.  There are a lot energy issues between the two, so there is plenty that the two countries can discuss."

According to a Turkish official, during President Putin's visit to Istanbul at least 12 bilateral agreements will be signed, most of which will be related to trade.  Diplomatic columnist Idiz says Putin's visit indicates the strength of bilateral ties.

"It signifies that it's an ongoing relationship, and that relationship is obviously trying to a bolster trade relationship even more," Idiz added.  "So the prospects don't look all that bad, except the situation has to be managed, because clearly Russia is backing Syria, and Turkey is at odds over that."

The ability of the two countries to compartmentalize their differences over Syria is being seen by analysts as an indication of the underlying resilience of bilateral ties.  President Putin's visit to Istanbul is expected to continue building on that relationship.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid