Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan met to talk in Moscow while they seek common ground in deadly fighting in northwestern Syria. They also discussed defense cooperation.
The leaders of Russia and Turkey said Tuesday that they shared deep concerns about the fighting in northwestern Syria.
After meeting to talk near Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they hoped to work together to ease tensions in Idlib province.
Russia-backed regime forces launched a ground offensive this month against Idlib, one of the last major areas of Syria controlled by the opposition.
"It is unacceptable for the regime to spread death both by land and by air under the pretext of combating terrorism," Erdogan said.
He said Turkey can fulfill its responsibility under the Sochi agreement "if the regime ends the attacks" there.
Erdogan said Turkey is ready to cooperate within the Astana format to ensure "tranquility" in Idlib.
"Our goal is to stop the bloodshed and get our neighboring Syria to have a peaceful environment that has been yearning for eight years," he added.
Turkish President Erdogan says the Syrian regime's attacks on Idlib in Syria interrupted the calm in the region established by Turkey and Russiapic.twitter.com/Jr9iD7tJcf
– TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) August 27, 2019
On the recent attacks in Idlib province in northwestern Syria, Erdogan said the region is facing a "humanitarian crisis", as more than 500 civilians were killed and more than 1,200 were injured since May in the regime's attacks.
Putin also shared Turkey's concerns.
"The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone is a matter of great concern to us and our Turkish partners," Putin said.
He said Turkey had "legitimate interests" to protect at its southern borders and supported the creation of a safe area in the area.
Putin said he and Erdogan had agreed to "additional joint steps" to "normalize" the situation in Idlib, but did not provide details.
Turkey and Russia agreed last September to convert the southern border of Idlib into a demilitarized zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
However, the Syrian regime and its allies have consistently breached the ceasefire terms, launching frequent attacks within the area.
The de-escalation zone currently houses about four million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces across the country tired of the war.
Erdogan and Putin agreed to hold a summit on Syria that will see the two leaders united by the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, in Ankara on September 16.
Defense Cooperation with Russia
Erdogan said Turkey wants to continue the defense industry's cooperation with Russia, even in fighter jets.
Erdogan spoke after leaders visited an air show outside the Russian capital where Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter jets made demonstration flights and the Turkish leader inspected planes.
Meanwhile, Turkey received a second batch of S-400 Russian air defense equipment on Tuesday.
"We are taking positive steps in the defense industry sector with the start of the delivery of the S-400 systems," Erdogan said at a press conference with Putin.
"With that, in our meetings today we had the opportunity to discuss what steps we could take in various fields within the defense industry and what we could do," he added.
Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Putin discuss the sale of SU-57 fighter jets to Ankarapic.twitter.com/kTkQHMsNM9
– TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) August 27, 2019
The initial delivery of parts of the S-400, which Washington says is not compatible with the defense team of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), arrived in Ankara in July despite warnings about possible US sanctions for the purchase.
Washington has not yet acted on the threat, but it did begin last month to eliminate Turkey from its F-35 aircraft manufacturing program, which Turkey also planned to buy.
In response, Erdogan said Turkey would look for airplanes to meet their needs.
Putin said he and Erdogan discussed cooperation on Russia's Su-35 plane and possible joint work on their new Su-57.
"In my opinion, much attracted the interest of our Turkish partners, not only from the point of view of purchase but also of joint production," Putin said at the joint briefing.
Turkish President #Erdogan he is the first foreign leader who has the opportunity to take a look inside the cockpit of the new fifth-generation SU-57 fighter plane, president #Putin welcomed you in # MAKS19 With this "gift." #Russia pic.twitter.com/cdiVOJFqnd
– Enrico Ivanov ☦ (@Russ_Warrior) August 27, 2019
Erdogan opens air show in Russia
Erdogan and Putin attended the inauguration ceremony of MAKS-2019, one of the main world events in their field.
Erdogan was Putin's guest of honor at the opening of the aviation show at the International Aviation and Space Exhibition (MAKS) outside Moscow and was even able to take a look inside the cockpit of Russia's newest fighter jet, the Su- 57, which was presented at the show.
During the tour, the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) offered Erdogan to send a Turkish astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS).
In December 2018, the official gazette of Turkey published a presidential decree announcing the establishment of the country's space agency with the aim of preparing and carrying out the National Space Program in accordance with the policies determined by the president of Turkey.
President Vladimir Putin has inaugurated the International Aviation and Space Exhibition # MAKS2019 on Tuesday. The opening ceremony was also attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoganhttps: //t.co/VyS2cuKb6B
📸 the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter plane and the MC-21 passenger plane pic.twitter.com/q7Myn6Gd0m
– Russia in the US UU. 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) August 27, 2019
The Turkish president thanked Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos.
"We will participate in your esteemed work. I thank you on behalf of our country, thank you for the work you have done," Erdogan said.
The ISS stationed in low Earth orbit, serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory for scientists to conduct experiments in various fields.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies