Putin has Erdoğan where he wants him as Turkey-U.S. relations fray - WaPo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s quiet departure from Sochi last week is indicative of the leader’s disappointment in fomenting ties with Russia as he drifts his nation away from the United States and NATO, the Washington Post said on Monday.

Wednesday’s summit between Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “was meant to represent the next step in Turkey’s uncoupling from a fraying alliance with the U.S. and toward a deepening relationship with Russia,’’ according to WP.

While ''nothing of substance was achieved at the meeting,’’ it said, citing diplomatic sources, Erdoğan during the flight home told reporters of his interest to buy more Russian military hardware, including ships, warplanes and submarines, as well as two nuclear power plants, while noting that he remains committed to acquiring a second S-400 missile defence system.

Turkey’s purchase of Russian weapons against warnings from the United States led to sanctions against its defence industrial sector in December 2020. Ankara has condemned the move and has tried in vain to convince Washington to lift the sanctions without surrendering the S-400. 

Erdoğan, for his part, failed to get anything out of the Russian president on two Turkey’s most pressing anxieties - Moscow’s manoeuvring in Syria, where the countries back opposing sides, and the price of gas - the Washington Post said.

Turkey has complained about repeated violations of a March 2020 truce with Russia in Syria’s Idlib province.

The country remains highly dependent on Russia for natural gas, with the latter meeting over 50 percent of its needs annually.

“As he burns his bridges with the U.S., Erdogan was hoping for more than mere blandishments from Putin,’’ the Washington Post said. “But their summit showed that the Russian president has his Turkish counterpart where he wants him. No wonder Erdogan skulked out of Sochi.”

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