Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet in Istanbul on March 5.
“President Putin has no plans for such a meeting on March 5 so far,” TASS cited Peskov telling told reporters on Feb. 27.
Peskov added that there was no trip to Istanbul in the president’s schedule for March 5.
“No, President Putin has other work plans for March 5,” he said.
The Kremlin spokesman noted though that Russia and Turkey continued to communicate at the expert and working levels, “first and foremost, to discuss the Idlib crisis.”
On Feb. 26, Erdoğan told Turkish reporters that his meeting with Putin was likely to take place in Istanbul on March 5. He also reiterated that the Turkish army’s presence in Syria’s Idlib was legitimate. According to Erdoğan, this is envisaged by the Adana agreement.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik commented on Kremlin’s remarks, saying that a date that would suit both leaders can be worked on.
“However, Turkey drew the line here. The meeting needs to be held soon and the steps need to be taken afterwards need to be finalized,” Çelik told reporters on Feb. 27.
Turkey, Russia in talks about airspace
Later in the day, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Russia and Turkey are discussing opening Russian-controlled air space in Idlib for armed and unarmed drones, adding that problems over the issue persisted.
Speaking to reporters in parliament, Akar said Ankara was “hopeful” about ongoing talks between Turkish and Russian officials in Ankara.
“The results will be announced any day now. Accordingly, we will reveal our stance,” he said, adding that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) “strive for peace in Idlib as soon as possible.”
Akar also said he would speak with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper by telephone later on Feb. 27.