Erdoğan expects Putin to take 'different approach' in Syria ahead of Sochi meeting

Signaling that his upcoming meeting with Putin in Sochi would determine the future of Turkish-Russian relations, Erdoğan said on Sept. 24 he expects Russia to adopt a “different approach” with regards to its Syria policy.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 24 that the Syrian regime poses a threat to Turkey on the southern border and that he expects Russia to change its approach to Syria.

Erdoğan made the remarks ahead of his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Sept. 29. During his meeting with Putin, Erdoğan is expected to talk about the violence in northwestern Syria, where Moscow and Ankara back opposing sides.

“Unfortunately the regime in Syria poses a threat for Turkey's southern border. And there is not many [forces] of the U.S. there. There is [forces] of Iran, Russia and us. And for here to turn into a basin of peace, I have very different expectations from Mr. Putin, to be more exact Russia,” Erdoğan told reporters.

“I expect from Mr. Putin, or to be more exact Russia, more different approaches as a necessity of our solidarity. We need to run this struggle together in the south,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey supports fighters who sought to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Russia has helped shore up Assad after a decade of conflict.

Both sides have complained about violations of a truce they agreed 18 months ago in the northwestern Idlib region, the last rebel bastion left in Syria. 

Erdogan’s planned two-day visit to Sochi follows his trip to the UN General Assembly in New York City. 

A day earlier, Erdoğan had also touched upon his relations with U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, saying he and Biden had "not gotten off to a good start."

Erdoğan had said on Sept. 23 in New York City that he had “worked well” with previous U.S. presidents, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump but “I cannot say things have gotten off to a good start with Mr. Biden.”

In similar remarks on Sept. 24, Erdoğan again expressed his anger with Biden, saying: “We had never experienced this situation with other U.S. leaders.”

“The contact with Biden is not at the desired point...As two NATO countries, we need to be at a different position right now,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan further said that the United States was “supporting terrorist organizations, beyond expectations,” most likely referring to the U.S.' support to the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. 

Turkey deems the YPG a terrorist organization due to the group's links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It has carried out military offensives in northern Syria in the previous years against the group.