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Kremlin: Turkey Has Legitimate Security Concerns over Syria

Kremlin: Turkey Has Legitimate Security Concerns over Syria

Friday, 5 August, 2022 - 10:30
The barrel of a Turkish cannon is pictured at a military position in the town of Marea in the northern Aleppo governorate, facing the Kurdish-controlled areas of Tal Rifaat, on August 2, 2022. (AFP)

The Kremlin said on Friday that Turkey has legitimate security concerns over Syria and that it will take them into account ahead of a meeting between Russian President Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters it was important to avoid actions that could "jeopardize Syria's territorial and political integrity".

Ankara has carried out multiple operations in northern Syria since 2016, seizing hundreds of kilometers of land and targeting the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), despite opposition from Moscow.

Meanwhile, a top aide to the Turkish president said on Friday the international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Moscow.

The meeting, less than three weeks since they held talks in Tehran, comes after Turkey helped broker a deal to resume Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports which were blocked by Russia's invasion.

Turkish presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun said the agreement attested to the success of NATO member Turkey's efforts and the direct diplomacy between the two leaders, while criticizing the role played by other countries.

"The truth is that some of our friends do not want the war to end. They are shedding crocodile tears," Altun told Reuters, saying some were actively trying to undermine Turkey's efforts without specifying who.

"The international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Russia. Diplomacy and peace must prevail," he said.

Erdogan was scheduled to meet Putin on Friday afternoon before a meeting between delegations of the two countries.

Turkey has relatively good relations with both Ukraine and Russia. But while it has criticized the invasion and provided Ukraine with arms, it has broken with Western allies by not imposing sanctions on Russia.

"We are looking to harness Turkey's relationships with Russia and Ukraine to work toward a mutually acceptable solution," Altun said

While there is close cooperation with Russia on energy supplies, there has also been military competition between them in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan.

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