In Erdoğan, Israel, Netanyahu, Putin, Russia, Turkey / Türkiye

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 8 April 2019. Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via REUTERS – RC1D77CA39C0

As Netanyahu seeks Putin’s personal boost for the Israeli political campaign, Erdoğan eyes ways to ensure that Ankara’s relationship with Moscow enables Turkey to grow the regional muscle it has long desired while working not to let ongoing crises with the West to undermine his standing at home.

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Published on Al Monitor, Apr 10, 2019
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in Moscow on Monday to meet with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, arriving just days after a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If there’s one Middle Eastern leader who meets with Putin more frequently than Netanyahu, it’s the Turkish president. In 2018 alone Erdoğan had 13 meetings and eight phone conversations with his Russian counterpart. Netanyahu, meanwhile, had his 13th encounter with Putin since December 2015 Thursday. Last week’s visit was Netanyahu’s second trip to Russia this year, whereas for Erdoğan this visit was already his third.

The timing and use of the visits are also remarkable. While the Israeli prime minister paid a snap visit before the critical domestic parliamentary election to address the most urgent matters, the Turkish leader went after no less critical local elections on a long-scheduled trip to plan a variety of strategic initiatives. As Netanyahu seeks Putin’s personal boost for the Israeli political campaign, Erdoğan eyes ways to ensure that Ankara’s relationship with Moscow enables Turkey to grow the regional muscle it has long desired while working not to let ongoing crises with the West to undermine his standing at home.

Against the background of previous contacts that in the last few months have evolved primarily around Syria, this time the visit focused heavily on the bilateral relationship and was comprised of three main parts: reenergizing practical cooperation on various tracks; developing business and trade relations; and cementing humanitarian contacts via the launch of the Russian-Turkish Cross Year of Culture and Tourism.

Putin and Erdoğan both praised the current dynamics in bilateral relations, pointing to the 15% increase in mutual trade that is now estimated at $25 billion and setting a high bar for the volume to grow to $100 billion.

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