President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met on Friday within the southern Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, for a second face-to-face dialog in lower than three weeks in opposition to a fancy backdrop of dovetailing and competing pursuits.
Earlier than the assembly, aides to the leaders portrayed the talks as a continuation of their discussions in Iran on July 19 — a few of which included Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme chief — masking points like drones, grain shipments, vitality and Syria.
Mr. Erdogan has emerged as an necessary mediator between Ukraine and Russia, which is probing for tactics to interrupt out of the financial and political isolation imposed by the West over its invasion of Ukraine. Turkey, a NATO member and long-frustrated E.U. applicant, proved instrumental in forging an settlement between the 2 warring international locations to restart Ukrainian grain shipments via the Black Sea urgently.
Briefly remarks to the cameras earlier than the leaders’ dialogue started, Mr. Putin thanked Mr. Erdogan for Turkey’s function in mediating a deal to export Ukrainian grain that additionally allowed for shipments of Russian meals and fertilizer exports. There was a heavy emphasis on financial issues, with Mr. Putin expressing hope that the talks would deliver enhanced commerce and financial ties.
On Syria, Mr. Putin stated the 2 would focus on “safety points within the area, primarily the Syrian disaster,” selecting to emphasise efforts to normalize the state of affairs there slightly than specializing in their sharp divisions. Turkey has lengthy threatened an incursion in opposition to Kurdish teams alongside the border, however desires to take action with out risking an armed conflict with Russia of the kind that frayed relations in 2015 after the Turks shot down a Russian fighter.
Our Protection of the Russia-Ukraine Battle
Mr. Erdogan, whereas broaching most of the similar themes, stated that the steps taken on points like vitality, grain, the Black Sea and transportation had been examples of the necessary function that Turkey and Russia play within the area.
Mr. Erdogan is treading a high-quality line to retain the power to speak to each Russia, NATO’s foe, and to Western members of the alliance. Turkey has held to its refusal to affix Western sanctions in opposition to Russia, irking its NATO allies, however Mr. Erdogan additionally, in an important transfer, eased his preliminary objections to Sweden’s and Finland’s becoming a member of the alliance as a bulwark in opposition to Russian aggression.
Russia is a essential provider of vitality to Turkey, offering 1 / 4 of the nation’s crude imports and virtually half of its pure gasoline purchases final 12 months. Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear company, is constructing a nuclear energy plant on the Mediterranean projected to supply 10 p.c of Turkey’s vitality wants after its scheduled completion in 2026.
For its half, Turkey is changing into an necessary transshipment level for items headed to Russia now that many Western freight corporations now not deal with Russia-bound shipments for concern of defying sanctions, the Turkish newspaper Dunya reported on Thursday. The nation additionally stays a well-liked vacation spot for Russian vacationers.
Nonetheless, stark variations stay between the 2 leaders. Their international locations have backed opposing sides within the civil struggle in Syria, Turkey’s neighbor. The Kremlin has expended blood and treasure to shore up President Bashar al-Assad, whereas Turkey, which has absorbed greater than 3.7 million Syrian struggle refugees, helps an opposing insurgent faction and is threatening a brand new navy offensive in Syria’s north. They’ve additionally been concerned on opposing sides within the violently flaring border dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Their relations relating to weapons are additionally advanced. Lately, Turkey defied its NATO companions to purchase Russian antiaircraft missiles. And now, Russia — starved by war-related Western sanctions for know-how like steering methods for missiles and drones — is urgently in search of matériel.
“Navy-technical cooperation between the 2 international locations is completely on the agenda, and the actual fact that our interplay is growing on this delicate sphere reveals that, on the entire, the whole vary of our interrelations is at a really excessive stage,” Dmitri S. Peskov, Russia’s presidential press secretary, advised reporters on Wednesday, in keeping with the Interfax information company.
Safak Timur contributed reporting.