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Turkey's Erdogan, Putin 'likely' to meet on Jan. 23

Turkish president also looks ahead to planned trilateral meeting with Russia and Iran

  | 15.01.2019
Turkey's Erdogan, Putin 'likely' to meet on Jan. 23 File Photo

By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that he would "most likely" meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week, on Jan. 23.

"I will hold a one-to-one meeting with Mr. Putin," Erdogan told reporters in parliament.

Erdogan also said they plan to hold a trilateral meeting with Russia and Iran.

Following a meeting last September between Erdogan and Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone -- in which acts of aggression are prohibited -- in Idlib, Syria.

Ankara and Moscow also signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the “stabilization” of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib are to remain in areas where they are already present, while Russia and Turkey conduct joint patrols in the area to prevent renewed fighting.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.​

Erdogan also said that Turkey's housing development administration could help make the planned safe zone in northern Syria livable.

He called on the U.S.-led coalition forces to support Turkey on developing the safe zone, saying the area could help hold back immigration.

In a phone call with Erdogan this week, the U.S. president reaffirmed the American troop pullout from Syria, as well as a 32-kilometer (20-mile) safe zone in Syria to be established by Turkey.

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