Turkey's Erdogan to meet Putin in Moscow next week


The presidents of Turkey and Russia will meet in Moscow next week and discuss the U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, the Turkish presidential spokesman said on Tuesday.

Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make a one-day visit to Moscow to meet Russia's Vladimir Putin on 23 January, Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in Ankara.

Putin, who backs Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in the conflict and has previously called the U.S. presence illegitimate, said Washington was "correct" in its decision to withdraw its troops.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria in December, saying then that the years-long, hard-fought battle against Islamic State was over.

Erdogan said on Tuesday that he and Trump discussed Turkey's establishing a "safe zone" along its border with northern Syria, to provide security and stem the flow of migrants, during a phone call on Monday.  

Russia and Turkey, which support opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, reached a deal in September to create a demilitarised buffer zone in the rebel stronghold of Idlib, staving off an assault by Syrian government forces.

The Turkish and Russian leaders will also discuss issues related to trade and energy, Kalin said. In November, Putin and Erdogan met in Istanbul for a ceremony to mark the completion of an offshore section of TurkStream, a new natural gas pipeline from Russia that is expected to be operational in 2019.    (dpa)

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