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The future of the Middle East: reflections after the Sochi summit

The future of the Middle East: reflections after the Sochi summit

On February 14, 2019 the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran met in Sochi to discuss ways of ensuring peace in the Middle East. According to official statements, the main topic of the talks was devoted to the situation in Syria, but Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani debated on other important issues, including ethnic clashes in Iraq and Lebanon.

Jan Niemiec

Komentarz ZBN nr 3 (45) / 2019

23 marca 2019 r.

On February 14, 2019 the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran met in Sochi to discuss ways of ensuring peace in the Middle East. According to official statements, the main topic of the talks was devoted to the situation in Syria, but Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani debated on other important issues, including ethnic clashes in Iraq and Lebanon. The Sochi Summit was also a response to the US-organized Middle East Conference held at the same time in Warsaw. Thus, the talks were to present an alternative vision for ending regional unrest.

However, the meeting did not result in the announcement of any landmark decision. Furthermore, there is a growing tension between Russia and Turkey, which is related to the status of Kurdish territories in northern Syria. Ankara regards the Kurds as the threat to its internal security, while the Kremlin diplomacy attempts to end Syrian civil war as soon as possible. Therefore, negotiations between Russians and Kurds regarding a wide autonomy for Kurdistan are deeply worrisome from Erdogan’s perspective.

There is no doubt that Russia and Turkey have different views on the future of the Middle East. Their further cooperation could be very complicated, especially after the announced withdrawal of the US troops from Syria. The only way for Turkey to implement its strategic interests in the region would be reconciliation with Western allies. As a result, Ankara could conduct a more balanced policy in the Middle East.

In the photo: leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey at the summit meeting in Sochi. Photo credit: Twitter.

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J. Niemiec - Przyszłość Bliskiego Wschodu: refleksje po szczycie w Soczi