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Kremlin unveils Putin-Erdogan talks agenda

Syria is expected to be the main topic of the discussion

SOCHI/ANKARA, May 3. /TASS/. Presidents of Russia and Turkey - Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan - are to meet in Sochi today, the Kremlin press service announced.

The two leaders will discuss the situation in Syria, joint fight against terrorism, as well as the issue of bilateral cooperation. The Turkish leader will be in Sochi on a working visit at the Russian president's invitation.

"The leaders will exchange views on the entire range of Russian-Turkish relations, in particular in the context of the agreements reached at the sixth meeting of the Cooperation Council of the highest level that was held in Moscow on March 10. It is also planned to consider current regional and international problems, first of all those related to fighting against terrorism and the settlement of the Syrian crisis," the press service said.

The previous meeting between Putin and Erdogan took place in March in Moscow, since the beginning of the year the leaders also spoke on the phone five times.

Syria crisis

Syria will be the main topic on the agenda, and it may even push back the most pressing issues of trade and economic cooperation.

Erdogan's visit to Russia was not planned in advance. The recent announcement of such a visit was quite unexpected. This indicates that there can be something about the situation with the Syrian conflict, the two presidents need to discuss immediately.

The talks between Putin and Erdogan will be held before Erdogan's meeting with Donald Tramp on May 16-17, the NATO summit in Brussels and the international economic forum in China on May 14-15.

On April 16, Turkey held a referendum on amendments to the constitution introducing presidential form of government, at which 51.4% of the population supported legislative changes. Despite the fact that the supporters of the amendments won with a slim majority, Erdogan's political positions became stronger.

Erdogan’s visit to Sochi can be regarded as his first foreign trip after the referendum, when special attention is paid to where the leader goes first. This is an important sign that Ankara wants to discuss the complex Syrian issue with Moscow first and only then adjust its position for Washington and other world capitals.

It is likely that Erdogan and Putin may discuss the ceasefire in Syria and joint monitoring of its implementation, as well as analyze the prospects of the Astana and Geneva talks, the political transition in Syria.

Bilateral cooperation

As for bilateral cooperation the two leaders will focus on the current disagreements in trade. Russia still does not admit a number of Turkish agricultural products to its market. In response Turkey restricts purchases of Russian grain by imposing import duties.

Despite several rounds of interdepartmental talks the situation is yet to be resolved.

The two Presidents will also touch upon oil and gas cooperation and the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. Recently, there have been no extraordinary breakthroughs, so the presidents are expected to only confirm their mutual determination to implement all these projects effectively.

Special attention will be paid to the purchase of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems by Turkey. Negotiations on this topic have been on since last winter, but nothing concrete has been declared yet.