The postponement of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Turkey, which was planned to take place on February 12, 2024, is symptomatric of a common situation for Ankara in recent years. As it is known, it was announced that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would visit Ankara on July 27, 2023, but Sisi preferred to go to a meeting held in Russia instead of Turkey. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed his visit on July 28 of the same year, and Iranian President Ibrahim Reisi postponed his announced on January 3. Reisi came to Ankara on January 24 after a long break.
The official explanation for the cancellation is that Putin could not come due to the election calendar in Russia. As it is known, such visits are major organizations for which preparations begin a long time ago. It is unthinkable that Putin did not know the election calendar in advance.
Considering that Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said that Putin’s visit would be a good opportunity for the two countries to discuss both bilateral and international issues, it can be argued that Russia, which made the decision to cancel, was not in a hurry on this issue. If Putin had come, the Black Sea grain deal and of course Ukraine War, as well as a number of other bilateral issues would have been discussed.
Obviously, just because the relations between the two countries are good does not mean that they will reach a common point on all these issues. It is known that Ankara wants the formalization of a Russian gas hub in Turkey and another discount on Russian gas would have been discussed.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also said that all nuances of commercial relations with Turkey would be discussed during Putin’s visit. It is known that Russian companies are experiencing serious problems with the payments they make through Turkish banks, and solutions would be found for this issue.
Turkey has maritime borders with both Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea. Therefore, Turkey has been trying to maintain good relations with both countries since Moscow’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine. It provides military support to Kiev and recognizes its territorial integrity, but on the other hand, it opposes sanctions against Russia. Turkey also signed an agreement with Ukraine on Wednesday allowing Turkish construction companies to take part in the reconstruction of Ukrainian infrastructure damaged by the war with Russia.
Putin may visit Turkey at a later date. By then, perhaps he will have conveyed to the Turkish side what needs to be discussed. I guess this wasn’t going to happen on the canceled visit. Issues that are important for Russia rather than a common agenda will be discussed during the future visit.
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