The presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran, the three guarantor countries of the de-escalation zones in Syria, are set to meet in a trilateral summit in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments in the Syrian crisis and the future steps needed to be taken.
According to a statement from the Turkish presidency, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani will conduct a bilateral meeting during the summit.
The first of the trilateral summits was held last year in Russia's Black Sea city Sochi on Nov. 22. In the second trilateral summit that will be held at the presidential complex in Ankara, the recent developments in Afrin following Turkey's operation, the latest situation of the de-escalation zones in Idlib, the political transition period in Syria and the incidents in Eastern Ghouta will be on the agenda of the Turkish and Iranian presidents as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As Turkey, Russia and Iran launched a Syrian peace process in Astana, the three countries held a series of summits in Russia's Black Sea city of Sochi to bring together the conflicting parties in Syria.
Within the framework of these efforts, Turkey, Iran and Russia agreed in Astana to establish de-escalation zones in the northern province of Idlib and parts of neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo. Under the Astana agreement, Turkey is to gradually establish 12 observation points from Idlib's north to south to monitor and sustain the current cease-fire agreement for the de-escalation zones, deliver humanitarian aid and ensure the secure return of displaced people.
The leaders of the three countries have been stressing that the de-escalation zones deal has been successful in ending clashes in various locations, however, a countrywide cease-fire to end the armed conflicts has not been achieved so far.
Prior to the trilateral summit on Syria, President Putin will arrive in Ankara on April 3 to attend the seventh Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council (ÜDİK) meeting with the participation of ministers from both countries. The meeting will be co-chaired by Presidents Erdoğan and Putin. In the meeting, the issues of energy, defense, agriculture and visa liberalization will be discussed in detail.
The meeting between the two leaders will be the ninth one since their last meeting on Dec. 11 last year.
Putin, who was re-elected as president on March 18, will pay his first visit to Turkey after the elections. The Russian president will have a busy agenda on his two-day Turkey trip covering significant economic and political topics.
The Russian president is expected to attend the official ground breaking ceremony of Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Mersin.
The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant will be constructed by Russia's state atomic energy corporation Rosatom and its Turkish partners, the Cengiz-Kolin-Kalyon (CKK) consortium. Turkish firms bought a 49 percent stake in the project in June 2017. The project is estimated to cost around $20 billion.
The first unit of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, which will have four reactors, will be launched in 2023, while the other units will be commissioned one by one in the following years. Accordingly, the plant will reach full capacity in 2026.
Turkey's energy imports amount to roughly $55 billion annually and its energy demand is among the fastest-growing in Europe. Ankara aims for at least 10 percent of its power generation to come from nuclear energy in less than a decade to cut dependency on natural gas.