Turkey to deepen defense industry cooperation with Russia: Turkish President
Despite the announcements of greater bilateral cooperation between Ankara and Moscow, disagreements remain over the situation in Syria's Idlib
By News Desk - September 30 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Sochi. 29 September, 2021. (Photo credit: kremlin.ru)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has provided details of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the two nations agreed to deepen defense industry cooperation during their first face-to-face talks in 18 months.

“We had the opportunity to discuss what steps we could take on jet engines, warplanes,” the Turkish leader told reporters upon his return to Ankara on 30 September, adding that “another area where we can take several steps together with is on building warships. We will, inshallah, even take joint steps on submarines.”

Erdogan also said he discussed with Putin the possibility of building a “second and third nuclear reactor.” In 2018, construction began on the Akkuyu nuclear reactor in southern Turkey as part of a joint venture between the Turkish and Russian energy industries.

The Turkish President also said he will not change plans to purchase a second round of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, despite the threat of sanctions by the White House.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, the Kremlin announced the two leaders “confirmed their commitment” to an agreement that calls for terror groups to be driven out of Syria’s Idlib governorate.

The 2020 ceasefire deal signed by Ankara and Moscow called for Idlib to become a “de-escalation zone.”

In regard to this topic, Erdogan told reporters: “We focused on the need to take steps together on the issue… [and finding a] permanent, final and sustainable solution [for Idlib].”

However, a Turkish official reportedly told Middle East Eye following the bilateral meeting that “there is no change in Idlib. We will preserve the status quo there.”

Over recent weeks, Russian warplanes have intensified their bombardment of Turkish-backed rebel groups holed up in northern Syria, while Ankara recently deployed reinforcements to the region.

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