Russian-Turkish joint group on strategic planning to meet

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Turkey today to participate in the fifth meeting of the Russia-Turkish joint group

Russia Turkey

Photo: Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Turkey today to participate in the fifth meeting of the Russia-Turkish joint group on strategic planning.

During his visit, Lavrov will discuss regional issues with his Turkish counterpart. Although Ankara moved strategically closer to Moscow after purchasing the Russian S-400 defense system, they have contrasting interests in both Syria and Ukraine. Their relations deteriorated in late October after Ukraine used Turkish-made drones to strike a position held by Russian-backed separatists in southeastern Ukraine.

In today’s meeting, Russian and Turkish delegates will hold talks to find means of arbitration in several issues. It is highly unlikely that Ankara and Moscow will reach an agreement on developments in Ukraine, as Ankara’s offer to mediate the situation will be fruitless. This is due to Ankara’s increasing ties with the Kiev government and Moscow’s resoluteness in providing further support to the pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region.

However, expect Ankara and Moscow to gain ground on talks regarding Syria’s northern border. Moscow will likely approve of Ankara’s prospective military operation against Kurdish forces near the Turkish border. In turn, Ankara will provide concessions allowing Moscow to exert further control over the M4 highway in the medium-term.

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