Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi on September 4, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. Although the specific agenda has not been officially announced, Peskov mentioned earlier in August that the discussion would cover bilateral relations, the conflict in Ukraine, and the Black Sea grain deal.
Erdogan’s office has confirmed that the Turkish leader intends to visit Sochi, but the exact date is yet to be finalized as it is dependent on the president’s decision.
Despite being a member of NATO, Turkey has maintained close ties with Russia and has refused to adhere to Western sanctions against Moscow. Instead, Ankara has acted as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, hosting peace talks between the two sides in March 2022, shortly after the conflict broke out.
The upcoming meeting between Putin and Erdogan will be their first face-to-face encounter since October 13, 2022, in Astana, Kazakhstan, when they agreed to establish a gas infrastructure hub in Turkey.
The personal meeting between the two leaders has been in the works since July, when Russia terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This deal, facilitated by the UN and Turkey, was meant to allow the delivery of Ukrainian grain to global markets and lift the embargo on Russian agricultural products in return.
Moscow suspended the agreement, blaming the West for not fulfilling its obligations. The Russian government stated that it would only consider returning to the deal if the US and EU uphold their commitments and allow the exportation of Russian fertilizer and food products.
Turkey, however, has been pushing for the revival of the treaty and called for it to be expanded. Ankara has urged the West to fulfill its promises and believes that the agreement could serve as the foundation for a truce or even a peace agreement between Moscow and Kiev.
Reports suggest that during their meeting, Erdogan plans to propose himself as a mediator once again and suggest a ceasefire agreement. He also aims to encourage negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to resolve the conflict.
The meeting between Putin and Erdogan comes at a critical time for bilateral relations and the ongoing Ukraine conflict. It provides an opportunity for both leaders to discuss key issues and potentially find a path towards peace and stability in the region.
As more details emerge about the meeting in Sochi, the international community will closely follow the outcomes and any potential developments in Russian-Turkish relations.