President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Recep Erdogan on March 4 that a face-to-face meeting was necessary amid the escalation in Idlib, Syria.
“We always have something to talk about, but now the situation in the Idlib zone has escalated so much that this requires our face-to-face conversation,” the Russian leader said opening the Russian-Turkish talks.
According to Russia’s President, the situation in Idlib must be discussed in a key that it does not ruin Russian-Turkish relations.
“We must definitely discuss everything, the entire situation we have today, so that similar things […] never happen again and so that […] it does not destroy the Russian-Turkish relations, which we — and I know that you too — treat carefully and prize highly,” Putin underlined.
Putin reiterated his condolences over the death of Turkish troops in Syria to Erdogan, underlining that the Syrian Army had been unaware of the Turkish forces’ location.
“I would like to reiterate my deepest condolences over the death of your troops in Syria,” Putin said to Erdogan. The Russian president added that “the loss of human life is always a tragedy.”
“Unfortunately, as I told you before in a phone call, no one, including the Syrian troops, was aware of their location,” Putin said. He added that Syrian troops had likewise sustained losses recently.
Putin thanked Erdogan for finding the opportinity to travel to Moscow to hold the meeting. He noted that the conversation would begin “confidentially“, as the Turkish leader had asked, and later, if necessary, the two countries’ delegations would join it.