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Turkish foreign minister confirms imminent Putin visit

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Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Hakan Fidan on Sunday confirmed an imminent visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, without announcing an exact date, Agence France-Presse reported.

“This visit will provide us the opportunity to discuss numerous issues,” the minister told state television station TRT Haber.

Local media have mentioned February 12 as a likely date, but the office of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hasn’t confirmed it.

Turkey, which would be the first NATO member that Putin visits since the February 2022 start of his invasion of Ukraine, last month finally approved Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic alliance.

Erdoğan has managed to maintain trade and political relations with both Ukraine and Russia, allowing Russia to avoid Western sanctions while selling weapons to Ukraine.

The last meeting between Putin and Erdoğan was in September 2023 in Sochi, but they frequently talk by phone.

Fidan said energy, the war in Gaza, Black Sea trade routes and Syria will be on the agenda.

The two countries are on opposite sides in Syria, with disagreements over the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in north-east Syria.

PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

Ankara and Moscow reached an accord in 2019 to stop a Turkish offensive in exchange for creating a 30-kilometre buffer zone between Turkish and PKK militants. Turkey accuses Russia of not respecting the pact.

 

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