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Q&A: Erdogan and Putin’s Summit in Sochi, Russia

On Wednesday, 29/9/2021, a summit was held between Erdogan and Putin in Sochi, Russia. The Turkish president was at the head of a delegation that included the head of the intelligence service, Hakan Fidan, and the head of the presidential communications department, Fahrettin Altun, and the presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, without any of his ministers!

[“It was remarkable that the meeting, which lasted for 3 hours, took place behind closed doors, and the two presidents did not hold a joint press conference at the end, contrary to the protocols followed by the Kremlin on similar visits. Also, the two presidents did not issue a final statement.” (Asharq Al-Awsat 30/9/2021)] What are the reasons for this visit? And what are its objectives?

In order to answer the above questions, we need to review the following matters:

1- From observing America’s current interests, it is clear that it is concentrating its efforts towards China; it plans to withdraw from the Middle East to free itself to China, it will entrust its agents in the region to play the role it wants. This policy was followed just before the arrival of the Trump administration, as there was a change in American policy. America was mobilizing its political and military forces around China, so it resorted to greater use of its subordinate countries such as Turkey. It was from that policy that the Trump administration gave a role to Turkey in Syria, in Libya, in the eastern Mediterranean, and other regions. With this new role for Turkey, America has practically removed itself from the deliberations of the Syrian crisis and made it between Turkey and Russia, and the Turkish-Russian talks in Astana and Geneva emerged, and the Turkish army entered northern Syria…

2- Later, this role eased with the beginning of the Biden era due to political considerations adopted by the Democrats. The first phone call between US President Biden and Turkish Erdogan was late on 23/4/2021, i.e. three months after Biden assumed the presidency in Washington. During the call, it was agreed to hold a session between them on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels on 14/6/2021, and in a clear indication of the differences between them, the US President announced, one day after the contact between them, that what he called the Armenian massacres in Turkey is a genocide. Biden told Erdogan his intention to announce this during the call between them, as a result Turkey and Erdogan were in a frenzy, but all this noise remained within the media fanfare, and when the closed meeting between them took place on the sidelines of the NATO summit on 14/6/2021 in Brussels, their agreement on Afghanistan emerged, and Erdogan cheered about this task, [Erdogan indicated that he discussed with Biden the situation in Afghanistan, and he said, “We are ready, we cannot neglect the Taliban in Afghanistan, we are ready to deal with them if we get the support of the United States as well as other countries…” (CNN Arabia, 14/6/2021)], but it seems that what was more important is the issue of withdrawal from Syria, especially Turkey’s role in talks with Russia about withdrawal…

3- The most complex withdrawal for America at the moment is Syria, because the issue is not related to it alone. It includes Iran, the Iranian party, Turkey, and most of all, Russia, which was brought into Syria at the behest of America on 29/9/2015 during Obama’s meeting with Putin. All of these things need certain measures so that America ensures the complete withdrawal of others, especially Russia, before it withdraws its forces, especially since it has created reassurance among the Kurds that it supports them and will not abandon them as it did in Afghanistan, [the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazloum Abdi, stated that US President Joe Biden promised that the United States would not abandon its Kurdish allies in Syria after it withdrew from Afghanistan last month… Abdi from his headquarter near Al-Hasakah told ‘The Times’, “They assured us that this is not Afghanistan. They said that the ‘American’ policy here is completely different.” (RT, 28/9/2021)]

4- America does not want to withdraw while Russia remains, especially since Russia has begun to get frustrated of America’s policy and focus on China at a time when Russia is getting closer to China in more than one position, so it is likely that America during the meeting of the presidents, US Biden and Russian Putin in Geneva on 16/6/2021 was pressuring Russia to move away from China and come closer to the American position… Although America was planning to withdraw from Syria and delegate its agents to manage matters on its behalf. Despite the fact that Russia’s withdrawal is an important matter for America before it withdraws its forces from Syria permanently and entrusts its agents to fill the void and devote itself to China, at the same time it does not want to make Russia a counterpart to it, so it did not directly discuss with it the issue of withdrawal from Syria, but instructed Erdogan to discuss this issue with it on the grounds that Russia is inferior to America to discuss directly with it the project of withdrawing from Syria, especially after America is reassured that its agent Bashar has improved his relations with the countries of the region after talks to deliver Egyptian gas through Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, and America can rely on him until it finds a suitable alternative to him…

Thus, America assigned Erdogan to discuss with Russia the issue of Russia’s withdrawal from Syria… [Erdogan stated that he will meet with Putin on September 29th, to discuss bilateral relations and the latest developments in the Syrian province of Idlib. In a press statement Erdogan said: “My meeting with Putin will be bilateral without the presence of a third person, and it will not be limited to the situation in Idlib, but we will discuss the general situation in Syria, the steps we will take in this country, and bilateral relations as well.” Erdogan indicated that Turkey and Russia are pivotal countries in the region, and pointed out that Putin is a statesman, and he showed this in resolving the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict (Al-Jazeera Net, 28/9/2021)]. Erdogan, who was accompanied by Hakan Fidan, head of the National Intelligence Service, said before his meeting with President Putin in the Russian city of Sochi: [Peace in Syria is linked to the relations between Turkey and Russia, and the steps that the two countries take together are of great importance. (Anadolu Agency, 29/9/2021)].

5- Russia has realized this and considered it an insult to it that Erdogan discusses with it the issue of withdrawal from Syria instead of America directly discussing this matter with it, especially since it was the one who introduced it into Syria, so how now it does not discuss with it the issue of withdrawal directly, but rather entrusted Erdogan with that?! Accordingly, it considered this an insult to it, especially as Putin wants to emulate America as a major influential country in the world! Therefore, Russia took a stance towards Erdogan to be a lesson for Turkey and at the same time a message to America that it might come back and agree to discuss this issue, that is, to withdraw, directly with it, and that was through:

a- [Russian President Vladimir Putin ignored the arrival of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his country on Wednesday, and instead of receiving him at the airport, Sochi’s Mayor Alexei Kobaygorodsky, and Deputy Governor of the Krasnodar Territory Alexander Rabaul were sent to meet him… The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Igor Bogdashev, the Turkish ambassador to Moscow, Mehmet Semsar, the Consul General of Novorossiysk, Firat Bayar, and the employees of the Turkish Embassy received Erdogan in the Airport. (Turkey Now 29/9/2021)].

b- Putin also instructed Pravda Newspaper to direct insults at Erdogan, describing him as a poor man! It is known that Pravda is a Russian newspaper that was one of the largest newspapers in the world in circulation during the Soviet period, and it is now one of the leading newspapers close to the Kremlin Palace: [The Russian newspaper Pravda, which is close to the Kremlin, attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, describing him as poor, in an article containing  condemning words, prior to his visit to Sochi, and in an article published in the newspaper Pravda, the Russian journalist, Alexander Strom, said, “The poor man has no chance of being re-elected”… (Turkey Now 29/9/2021)].

6- Therefore, the meeting between Putin and Erdogan carried its failure from beginning to end, and even before it began! It seems that Erdogan was expecting this, and that is why he made sure that attendance at the meeting would be very limited, i.e., between him and Putin, and the circle of those familiar with the failure would not expand, and this was what happened… Thus, no positive result was achieved from that meeting, and he left with nothing, even the protocol press conference that usually takes place after each meeting has not taken place! [The meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan is concluded in the Russian city of Sochi today, Wednesday, without holding a press conference. After a three-hour meeting, the two sides did not announce results or understandings, except for diplomatic statements without any information on the content of the meeting. For his part, political analyst Darwish Khalifa said in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the failure to announce any outcomes from the meeting indicates that there is no agreement between the two parties and there are differences, this is why, no press conference took place. Khalifa added that the Syrian file is the basis of the meeting and not as is promoted by some, about Ukraine or Libya… (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed 30/9/2021)].

7- As for Erdogan’s scheduled meeting with Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit at the end of October, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold a bilateral meeting with his American counterpart Joe Biden during the G-20 leaders’ summit scheduled for next October… The sources added that Erdogan will meet his American counterpart Biden on the sidelines of the summit. (Anadolu Agency, 28/9/2021)]. It seems that he is about the next step after the failure of Erdogan’s meeting with Putin!

It is expected that if America can dominate Russia’s position towards China, that is, make Russia get closer to it against China, then America will not give any consideration to Erdogan, but will leave his failure surrounding him alone! And it may return to the agreement with Russia if it guarantees that it will move away from China… These colonial countries do not care about respecting their agents or those in their orbit if they see that this is in their interest!

8- The conclusion includes the following points:

a- America is preparing to withdraw from the Middle East and entrust matters to its agents and those who revolve in its orbit, and it wants to focus on China, even if it is not a hot conflict but a cold war, as America was accused of this by the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, commenting on the alliance of America, Britain and Australia by saying: [These countries should not form exclusionary blocs that target or harm the interests of other parties, and the most important thing they should do is get rid of the Cold War mentality and ideological bias… (Al Jazeera Net 16/9/2021)].

b- The Ottoman State, which troubled Russia, no longer exists, so Russia and the enemies breathed a sigh of relief, and now the rulers of Turkey, from Russia’s point of view, are too weak and have no value, they give them no weight in any matter!

c- There is a positive point in everything that happened, which is that the colonial kaffir countries are almost packing their bags and leaving the Muslim countries, and it is an appropriate opportunity for those who carry the call and everyone who wants to follow the truth to rejoice in the nearness of the high status of Islam and its people, and the deterioration of the status of kuffr and its people:

[إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَذِكْرَى لِمَنْ كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أَوْ أَلْقَى السَّمْعَ وَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ]

“Indeed, in that is a reminder for whoever has a heart or who listens while he is present [in mind]” [Qaf: 37]

29 Safar 1443 AH – 6/10/2021 CE