President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had been assembly on Friday within the southern Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, for a second face-to-face dialog in lower than three weeks towards a posh backdrop of dovetailing and competing pursuits.
Aides to the leaders portrayed the talks in Sochi 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 methods 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 nations to restart Ukrainian grain shipments by way of the Black Sea urgently.
In short remarks to the cameras earlier than the leaders’ dialogue started, Mr. Putin thanked Mr. Erdogan for Turkey’s position 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 mentioned the 2 would focus on “safety points within the area, primarily the Syrian disaster,” selecting to emphasise efforts to normalize the scenario there fairly than specializing in their sharp divisions. Turkey has lengthy threatened an incursion towards Kurdish teams alongside the border, however needs to take action with out risking an armed conflict with Russia of the sort that frayed relations in 2015 after the Turks shot down a Russian fighter.
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Mr. Erdogan, whereas broaching lots of the similar themes, mentioned that the steps taken on points like vitality, grain, the Black Sea and transportation had been examples of the necessary position that Turkey and Russia play within the area.
Mr. Erdogan is treading a advantageous line to retain the flexibility to speak to each Russia, NATO’s foe, and to Western members of the alliance. Turkey has held to its refusal to hitch Western sanctions towards Russia, irking its NATO allies, however Mr. Erdogan additionally, in a vital transfer, eased his preliminary objections to Sweden’s and Finland’s becoming a member of the alliance as a bulwark towards Russian aggression.
Russia is a important provider of vitality to Turkey, offering 1 / 4 of the nation’s crude imports and virtually half of its pure fuel purchases final 12 months. Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear company, is constructing a nuclear energy plant on the Mediterranean projected to offer 10 p.c of Turkey’s vitality wants after its scheduled completion in 2026.
For its half, Turkey is turning into an necessary transshipment level for items headed to Russia now that many Western freight firms 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.
Nevertheless, stark variations stay between the 2 leaders. Their nations have backed opposing sides within the civil battle 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 battle refugees, helps an opposing insurgent faction and is threatening a brand new army 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 expertise like steering programs for missiles and drones — is urgently in search of matériel.
“Army-technical cooperation between the 2 nations is completely on the agenda, and the actual fact that our interplay is creating on this delicate sphere exhibits that, on the entire, your complete vary of our interrelations is at a really excessive stage,” Dmitri S. Peskov, Russia’s presidential press secretary, informed reporters on Wednesday, in line with the Interfax information company.
Safak Timur contributed reporting.