Russian presidential aide says Putin, Erdogan to discuss “sensitive issues” during one-on-one meeting
The delivery of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia to Turkey may be on the agenda in a meeting between the two countries’ leaders, a Russian presidential aide said on Friday.
A planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria will also be a possible issue of discussion during Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s and Vladimir Putin’s meeting slated for April 8, Yury Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.
“U.S. plans regarding a partial withdrawal of its troops from Syria will be discussed. The next issue is the implementation of a very high-profile project, a contract for the supply of the latest Russian S-400 air defense systems to the Turkish Armed Forces,” he said.
Ushakov added that the two presidents would hold full-fledged talks, with meetings of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council, as well as with Turkish businesses operating in Russia.
He noted that one-on-one meetings between Erdogan and Putin would also take place to “discuss the most sensitive issues.”
The two presidents will later take part in an opening ceremony of the Turkey-Russia cross-cultural year in the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success.
The U.S. announced Monday that it would be suspending all “deliveries and activities” related to Turkey’s procurement of a jointly-developed stealth fighter jet over Ankara’s plans to purchase the Russian system.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday that he expected Ankara and Washington would be able to smooth out the dispute.
Turkey first joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program in 2002 and has invested more than $1.25 billion. It also manufactures various aircraft parts for all F-35 variants and customers.
The two F-35s delivered to Turkey are currently at Luke Air Force Base, where Turkish pilots are being trained to use them. The jets are scheduled to be transferred to Turkey in November this year.