MOSCOW, Aug. 8 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet in St. Petersburg, Russia on Tuesday in Erdogan’s first trip abroad since the failed coup in July.
The leaders are expected to discuss Syria and other subjects in a highly symbolic meeting that will likely make western governments nervous, because it’s a U-turn for two governments who were insulting each other just two months ago.
Turkish relations with the U.S. and European Union countries have suffered in that time as well. Turkey has demanded the U.S. extradite Islamic leader Fethullah Gulen, now living in Pennsylvania, whom the Turks say is responsible for the failed coup.
Erdogan has contended Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would have to resign in order for peace talks to take place, but things have improved and Russian military efforts have strengthened al-Assad’s grip.
Turkey downing a Russian jet that had allegedly strayed into Turkish territory last November only added to tensions. Kurds inside and outside Turkish borders have also squeezed Erdogan into repackaging his government as one that still has friends.
The meeting might produce some results in regards to Syria, but is expected to be mostly for show.