The close cooperation between Turkey and Russia has played a crucial role in providing stability in the region, particularly on Syria, officials and experts from the two countries said.
Speaking in a panel on Turkish-Russian relations organized in Ankara yesterday, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Aleksei Erkhov said that two countries show great effort to maintain peace in a volatile region, which paved the way for the recent Sochi agreement.
Turkey and Russia reached a memorandum of understanding in Sochi on Oct. 22, 2019. The 10-article deal envisaged the entrance of Russian military police and Syrian border guards into the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, outside the area of Operation Peace Spring, to facilitate the removal of PKK-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorists and their weapons 30 kilometers from the Turkish-Syrian border.
The panel was jointly organized by Russia Research Center (RUSEN), Russia’s Embassy in Ankara and the Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group to commemorate former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who was known with his political approach supporting closer ties with Eurasian countries, including Turkey.
“Primakov would have applauded the Astana talks if he was still alive,” Erkhov stated, mentioning the joint mechanism established between Turkey, Russia and Iran to facilitate a political solution for the Syrian civil war.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Veniamin Popov, who is also the adviser of the director of the Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group, said that with the “colossal agreement” between Turkey and Russia, the political process would be launched in Syria and the constitutional committee will start to work. The committee is to be made of 150 members, with 50 regime delegates, 50 opposition members and 50 civil society members chosen by the U.N. envoy to Syria.
İsmail Safi, a member of the Turkish Presidency's Council of Security and Foreign Policies, said that the bilateral cooperation, which was started west of the Euphrates including Aleppo and Idlib, will continue east of the Euphrates with the recent Sochi agreement. “If we can maintain this cooperation, Turkey and Russia will shape the future of the region together,” he said.