Leave the tomatoes and pay attention to Syria

The agenda of the talks, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, may 3 very rich.

On the negotiating table at the Turkish-Russian summit in Sochi on the Black sea coast, lie a number of issues from trade to politics and energy. Due to the fact that Moscow has shown no inclination to restrictions applied to Turkish products, primarily tomatoes, Turkey abolished the exemption from customs duties on the import of wheat from Russia. Russian, sharply reacted to the decision, threatened with a possible suspension of Charter flights to Turkey.

The crisis period that began November 24, 2015 with the destruction of the Russian plane and lasted eight months, was not left fully behind, despite the handshake of the parties at the highest level. Problems in trading one should add and severe restrictions applied by Russia against Turkish citizens especially construction companies, which Putin has not cancelled, despite promises made at the March summit.

Thus, it seems that there is a “diplomatic arm wrestling”.

In fact, one gets the contradictory situation.

On the one hand, of the “airplane incident” lessons were learned, parties see that the tension causes economic damage to both Turkey and Russia.

But on the other hand, they are constantly spread on the table new trump card to force each other to do what they want.

In fact, given the size of the economies of Turkey and Russia, the struggle going from one to two billion dollars, which are the subject of bargaining in trade, amazing.

But “trade war” is only the visible part of the iceberg.

First of all, Russia, using economic embargo against Turkey, seeking to gain political advantage. And by “political benefits” means the Syrian issue.

The Syrian problem, exactly who grew up the wall in front of Turkish-Russian relations since the civil war began in 2011, is the main cause of the fight.

Moscow is trying to take advantage of a complex process experienced by Turkey in political and economic terms, as well as the escalation of tensions in its relations with the West. When the “airplane crisis” is behind us, Russia is first of all expected that Turkey will make such adjustments in its Syrian policy, which will bring it to the Russian lines. Precisely because of this expectation, Russia has lit the “green light” operation “shield of the Euphrates”. But every promotion of Turkey and supported the Free Syrian army deep into Syria eyes of Moscow revealed more and more.

Turkey and Russia share similar views on one very important issue in Syria: preserving the territorial integrity of the country. In this regard, Moscow (although it plays on the nerves of Turkey, being in close contact with the Kurds), apparently, as Ankara opposes the U.S. plans to create a Kurdish state in Syria (and the region). But the fact that Turkey, albeit not as often as before, loudly expresses demanding the departure of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad from power, not like the Russian. On the other hand, the fact that Turkey’s supports all the latest US operation in Syria, also angry Russian. In other words, Moscow has so far failed to receive expected support from Turkey in the Syrian issue to the extent expected. Thus, Russia, laying the table, shopping, Kurdish, Charter trump by pressure is trying to force Turkey to change its policy in Syria.

In addition, among those that are expected to be discussed in Sochi, there is cooperation in energy and defense spheres.

Long-continued bargaining associated with missile systems s-400 to Turkey is considering to buy from Russia. Judging by the statements of Turkish officials, it came to the last stage. But I’ll do the Turkey this critical step that can create a new problem in relations with the West — a question the answer to which is still unknown. In 2000-ies Russia participated in the Turkish tender for the purchase of attack helicopters, even the helicopter gave the name “Erdogan”, but did not win. Turkey is faced with a difficult dilemma: the escalation of tensions in relations with the West, if she agrees to buy the s-400, Russia’s negative reaction, if she at the last moment refuses.