In political science it is known that presidential meetings receive matchless attention in terms of arrangement and implementation steps, as they reflect political messages of no less value than those sent revealed by leaders meetings behind closed doors or in public. These arrangements usually reflect Attitudes that express what cannot be said.
In the last bilateral meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was held in Moscow to discuss the Syrian issues, particularly Idlib, audience all around the world raised a red flag at some sharp scenes, which caused a fuss in the Syrian, Turkish and Russian milieus.
Starting from the leaders’ statements following the private consultations to the statements of the foreign ministers, where the outcomes of the meetings has been read in a hurry as if each party wanted to leave as soon as possible, the Russian President seemed to have deliberately kept the delegation accompanying Erdogan standing as if they were at school and Putin is the principal. “It seems that Putin wanted to show them weak, reversing the headmaster,” some tweets read.
It was notable how Erdogan’s delegation, which included senior state officials, was kept standing without being provided with chairs while listening to the statements.
And before that, the Russian President walked beside the Turkish delegation without even greeting the delegates, he rather walked to his podium as if no one was beside him.
Moreover, the hall chosen by Putin for the meeting revealed other indications that refer to Russia’s pride in defeating the Ottoman Empire, always praised by Erdogan. In the hall, Putin laid statues of Russian soldiers who defeated the Ottoman caliphate in Bulgaria in 1877, and a statue for Empress Catherine, who defeated the Ottomans on Crimea.
Also before the meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry provoked a dispute on Twitter over the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878, a move that tweets interpreted as a recall for history in the context of current tensions.
“The decisive battles of the Russian-Turkish war between 1877 and 1878 took place in Bulgaria. Bulgaria declared a national day, the National Liberation Day, to revive the date of the signing of the San Stefano Agreement, when the country was liberated from Ottoman rule,” the Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted.
The Putin-Erdogan meeting was held to discuss developments in Idlib province, northwestern Syria, after the recent escalation in the region, culminating in the death of 33 Turkish soldiers last week, killed in an airstrike by Assad regime forces in the de-escalation zone.
The two leaders have reached a package of resolutions to reduce tensions in Idlib, including announcing a ceasefire beginning Thursday midnight and establishing a safe corridor in the region. Erdogan also announced signing a joint document on the resolutions, that both parties have agreed upon.
Putin has affirmed his conviction that the pace of combatting terrorism shall not be reduced, and Syria’s sovereignty shall be preserved. Meanwhile, the Turkish President reaffirmed that the main responsibility for the tension in Idlib is the Syrian regime, confirming that the cooperation between Russia and Turkey is unprecedented and they will work to enhance it.
Erdogan announced that he agreed with Putin that a ceasefire will start at midnight Thursday, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out that the two countries agreed on establishing a safe corridor in Idlib.