Russian President Vladimir Putin is fast pursuing diplomatic approach simultaneously with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Syria. While Putin held a telephonic conversation with the U.S. President Donald Trump .
Turkey with whom the relations of Russia had been on a flip-flop mode has now acquired a special status .Putin and Erdogan publicly reaffirmed to resolve the Syrian crisis by establishing safe zones backed by peacekeepeers. Trump has also welcomed the proposal by Putin as this will minimize the breeding ground for Islamist militant groups.
Russia has earmarked four buffer zones consisting of north-western Idlib province, Homs province in the west, the East Ghouta of Damascus and southern Syria and two days talks between Russia, Turkey and Iran are underway in the Kazakh capital, Astana, where US diplomat is also attending the summit .
Both Erdogan and Putin discussed bilateral relations, regional issues including Syria’s ceasefire where as recently, Turkish warplanes have bombed Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria last week.
Putin is confident that “safe zones” in Syria’s rebel held areas would deliver a stable ceasefire .
But NATO and United States are concerned about the growing closeness of Putin and Erdogan ties . Meanwhile, Turkey is in engaged in final negotiations for procuring Russia-made S400 air defence system instead of purchasing the same from the U.S./.NATO.
China is also seeking S-400, which is considered as one of the most advanced air defence system in the world capable of shooting down both aircraft and ballistic missiles.
Turkey’s relations with the U.S. during Obama regime were at a low level but Erdogan is now eyeing good ties with Trump administration , demanding a strong stance on the Kurdish Peoples’ protection units and the extradition of U.S. based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen,who has been held responsible for 2016 failed coup against Erdogan.
Thus,Erdogan is busy stabilizing his position in Turkey and expanding Turkey’s sphere of influence.