The Media Line led over twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Look out for exciting new additions as we enter 2022.

We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.
The Media Line

Non-profit news needs public support.
Please support us with your generous contributions:
Erdoğan To Visit Putin in Sochi Amid Threat of Offensive in Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Tehran, Iran on July 19, 2022. (Sergei Savostyanov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Erdoğan To Visit Putin in Sochi Amid Threat of Offensive in Syria

Turkey is endeavoring to maintain ties with Russia while condemning its aggression

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to be the first NATO leader to visit Russia since it invaded Ukraine when he visits President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Both Russia and Turkey are heavily involved in Syria, with Moscow supporting the Assad regime and Ankara the Sunni Arab rebels. And Erdoğan has spoken recently of launching yet another incursion into Syria, in areas with a Russian military presence.

“What is clear is that the fact that it’s Erdoğan who is going to Sochi means it’s Turkey that wants something from Russia,” said Daria Isachenko, an expert on Turkey and Russia at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

“Most probably it’s about Syria,” she said.

Erdoğan will seek permission to carry out an offensive in Syria and discuss possible details, such as the area and how large it will be, Isachenko told The Media Line.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the two leaders would talk about defense cooperation, the Russian state news agency TASS reported on Wednesday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a television interview in late July that his country does not seek permission for military operations.

Erdoğan has spoken in recent months about launching an incursion, later specifying his country would attack US-allied Kurdish militants in Tel Rifaat and Manbij in northwestern Syria, near the Turkish border.

Ankara says Kurdish forces in Syria are cooperating with the militant group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been engaged in an insurgency in Turkey for decades.

Turkey, the US, and the EU classify the PKK as a terrorist organization.

One obstacle to the Kremlin accepting a Turkish incursion would be Iran, which has taken over some of the space left by Russia’s decreased presence in Syria since its invasion of Ukraine and has expressed opposition to Ankara’s plans.

Isachenko said both Iran and Turkey are important to Russia, which will have to accommodate both.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Turkey has been trying to balance its desire to maintain ties with Russia with its condemnation of the Kremlin’s aggression.

Turkey has exercised its authority under the Montreux Convention, limiting Russian ships’ access to the Black Sea, located south of Ukraine.

While Erdoğan said that Russia’s “military operation” in Ukraine was “not acceptable” soon after it began, he added, “We see both Russia and Ukraine as our close partners.”

Turkey heavily relies on Russia as a source of energy, tourism, and trade.

Timothy Ash, an economist focused on Turkey and Ukraine, said that Erdoğan would want to get commitments from Russia to continue to provide cheap energy and to allow for the export of agricultural products from the country and from Ukraine.

This is “key for Turkey reducing its current account deficit and moderating pressure on [the] lira,” Ash wrote in a message to The Media Line.

A coordination center in Istanbul was opened on Wednesday to oversee the export of food cargo that has been trapped in Ukrainian ports since Russia’s invasion, after a deal was signed by the three countries and the UN on July 22.

The trapped grain led to rising food prices around the world, although skyrocketing inflation was something Turkey had been facing for many months before February.

Last year, Turkey’s lira lost 44% of its value against the US dollar. The currency is down another 25% so far in 2022.

Ash said that in return for such commitments from Russia, Putin would want to ensure Turkey does not impose sanctions on it and would hope Ankara would cut support given to Ukraine.

Erdoğan has been moving closer to Putin for years, including purchasing the S-400 mobile surface-to-air missile defense system from Russia.

However, Turkey and Russia have historically not been allies and analysts warn that Erdoğan will likely still see Moscow as a threat.

With the two countries supporting opposing sides in Syria, Moscow could pose major risks to Turkey’s military and territory.

A Russian-backed attack on Syria’s Idlib region, where millions of internally displaced people now live near the Turkish border, could lead to a new flow of refuge seekers, and increase the domestic pressure that Erdoğan is facing due to intensifying anti-refugee sentiments.

However, the international backlash against Russia, which has seen wide-sweeping sanctions and some of the biggest companies in the world leaving the country, has strengthened the position of Turkey.

Isachenko said that despite some opposition from Moscow, she believes Turkey will go ahead with the offensive in Syria.

“It’s really a question of where Turkey will conduct the operation,” she said.

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.