Putin says Russia, Turkey agree on 'key' issues in Syria
As far as Syria is concerned, there are many issues on which we agree with Turkey, Putin told the executives of the world's leading news agencies at a meeting at the Constantine Palace
Moscow and Ankara agree on many key issues regarding Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
"As far as Syria is concerned, there are many issues on which we agree with Turkey," Putin told the executives of the world's leading news agencies at a meeting at the Constantine Palace on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Putin was answering a question posed by Anadolu Agency's deputy director-general and editor-in-chief, Metin Mutanoğlu.
"If we did not agree on the key issues, neither a cease-fire nor de-escalation zones could have been achieved in Syria," Putin said.
On May 4, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a deal in the Kazakh capital, Astana, to establish de-escalation zones in the war-torn country.
Putin reiterated his warning against the de-escalation zones turning into a model threatening Syria's territorial integrity.
"These zones should not become a prototype for the future territorial division in Syria," he said. "On the contrary, these zones should set an example for protecting Syria's territorial integrity and for a political dialogue in the future."
RUSSIA CARES ABOUT TURKEY'S CONCERNS OVER PKK/PYD IN SYRIA
Putin said Russia was aware of Turkey's concerns about the terrorist organization PKK/PYD and added: "We are careful to carry out a constructive work in this matter."
Turkey's National Security Council, the country's top security body, warned Wednesday against supporting PKK/YPG/PYD saying it went contrary to the notions of friendship and alliance.
"It has been stressed that a policy of supporting the PKK/PYD/YPG terror organization -- which is acting under the guise of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) -- does not suit [the principles of] friendship and alliance," it said.
Turkey has long warned against enlisting the "help" of the terrorist group to fight against Daesh in Syria.
S-400 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM
Asked if Putin had discussed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the issue of joint production of Russia's S-400 air defense system, the Russian president said this issue had come up, and although it was not "impossible," required "great preparation".
"However, we have not produced this system outside the country yet," Putin said, adding he would meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Thursday and discuss how and in what terms they would produce it.
"The process requires great preparation in terms of technology and training staff. But nothing is impossible," he said.
Back in April, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık had said that Turkey was nearing a decision whether to purchase air defense systems from Russia.
"Turkey urgently needs an air defense system," Işık said. "We are at the final stages of deciding on this [purchase]. Ultimately the decision will be made by the president and the prime minister."
The S-400 is Russia's next-generation air defense system. It can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets including ballistic and cruise missiles.
It can track and engage up to 300 targets at the same time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers (17 miles).