Monday, March 2 2020 14:21
Ani Mshetsyan

Ruben Safrastyan: Russia and Turkey continue to be geopolitical  opponents, but have a number of common interests

Ruben Safrastyan: Russia and Turkey continue to be geopolitical  opponents, but have a number of common interests

ArmInfo. The situation in Idlib is very tense now and may worsen even more. Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic  of Armenia, Turkologist Ruben Safrastyan stated this at a press  conference.

He noted that Russian aviation no longer provides support to the  Syrian forces, and therefore Turkey went on the offensive. "I think  that such an uncertain situation will continue for several more days.  Until the meeting of the Presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir  Putin and Recep Erdogan on March 5, the parties will not take active  steps in Syria," the Turkologist said.

According to the expert, it was during the meeting of the leaders of  the two countries that the situation will finally become clear.  "Syria has become a country where Russia and Turkey are fighting for  supremacy in the region, trying to strengthen their positions. In  2015, when Turkey shot down a Russian plane, relations between the  two countries grew tense, however, later, amid common interests, the  parties were able to get out of crisis in relations. Thus, the  countries became closer again in 2017-2018. Their common interest is  that Moscow is interested in Ankara to weaken its interaction with  the US and NATO as much as possible. 

Turkey is also inclined to pursue its own policies in the Middle East  and try to strengthen its influence in the region," Safrastyan said.

The Turkologist noted that Russia and Turkey, despite common  interests, nevertheless continue to remain geopolitical opponents. "A  clash of forces occurred in Idlib, as this is the only territory that  the Syrian forces do not control. Turkey hopes that by taking control  of this territory, it will be able to strengthen its position in the  region and increase its influence on Syria. In turn, the Syrian  leadership wants to free its own territories, and its position is  supported by Moscow and Tehran, "he said.

Safrastyan emphasized that the negotiations between Putin and Erdogan  will be very difficult, which was also announced by the press  secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov. "Both of sides, of  course, will try to reduce the passions and make some concessions.  There are already prerequisites for this. They will show restraint,  but at the same time, each of them is trying to maximize their  positions in the upcoming talks," the expert noted.

The Turkologist noted that the agreement was actually violated, which  was reached by the parties in Sochi in 2019. "According to these  agreements, Ankara, which controlled these territories, was supposed  to withdraw the terrorist groups that were there. However, Turkey did  not do this, and the Syrian leadership itself is trying to free them.  Ankara considered this a violation of the agreements in Sochi," the  expert said.

Safrastyan said that after that, Turkey began to blackmail Europe  with an influx of refugees. According to the expert, it is possible  that among those who are sent there today, there are also specially  trained "jihadists" who can play a role in Ankara's calculations.

The director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National  Academy of Sciences emphasized that the concessions may be that  Ankara will withdraw its troops from Syrian Idlib, in turn, after  that, the formation of a joint buffer zone will begin there.

To note, on February 27 in the Syrian Idlib, as a result of the  bombing of the Syrian government forces, 33 Turkish soldiers were  killed, and there are numerous wounded.

In addition, media reported that Turkey, in response to the  aggravation of the situation in Idlib, was considering the  possibility of blocking the Bosphorus and Dardanelles for the passage  of warships, but on Saturday missed a large landing ship (BDK) of the  Black Sea Fleet "Orsk" into the Mediterranean Sea . 

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