The Trilateral Approach: a New System for Syria’s Future

The trilateral summit of the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey, which took place on April 4 in Ankara, is extremely important, believes Vladimir Avatkov, Senior Lecturer at Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The fact that the first visit of Vladimir Putin since his election was paid to Turkey shows that Russia great values the relationship with this country and demonstrates how it plans to build its priorities, the expert said in an interview with

A New System of the Future

The creation of a new security architecture in the Middle East and the establishment of peace and stability is one of Russia’s priorities. This security system should be based on an inclusive process.

Russia (which is undoubtedly a great success) has managed to assemble at one negotiating table Iran and Turkey – two countries, which were irreconcilable opponents historically. Given that they have different interests and positions on a variety of issues, this is one of the key formulas to guarantee security: if they manage to work out common approaches, it will be a breakthrough. So the most significant point there is a consensus on the construction of a new system of the future, a new political system in Syria.

The main result of the April 4 talks is that, despite all the existing disagreements of the three countries regarding the future of the Syrian regime, they are trying to work out a unified approach to the definition of terrorist groups, to fighting terrorism in general and to the future constitutional structure in Syria.

The three leaders confirmed that they assume that Syria must preserve its territorial integrity of Syria and that a new humanitarian environment must be shaped for the creation of a new infrastructure.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Syrians in the liberated territories will be provided with the conditions to make their lives more dignified, so that the refugees now living in Turkey could return home. If the three powers, which are essentially the guarantors of the peace process, continue to work together to restore infrastructure, it will be possible to talk on returning home of refugees living in other countries. Thus the three players – Russia and the two regional powers, Turkey and Iran, – will help to stabilize the situation not in Syria only, but also in other countries which now suffer from migrant-related problems.

Moscow and Ankara: joint projects

As for the Russia-Turkey cooperation, the latter, unlike many other countries, did not follow the UK appeals to impose sanctions on Russia and expel diplomats. Thus, Turkey has again avoided falling into a trap of the British, who have repeatedly confronted Moscow and Ankara throughout history. This time Turkey has proven it is guided by common sense, which is in many regards influenced by the recent history of relations. Russia and Turkey have excellent economic relations. We have some large joint projects, including TurkStream, and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. It is also important that we try to develop projects in other spheres: for example, after the crisis with the downed Russia plane, we moved to cooperation in the security sphere. Therefore, that tragic incident allowed the countries to form the trilateral union for Syrian settlement.

In addition, Turkey largely focuses on Russia in building an internal security system, purchasing and requesting to speed up the delivery of S-400 Triumf missile systems. It needs to protect its own borders and understands that despite numerous requests, Western countries do not intend to help it in building security. Therefore, it proceeds from the realities. This is very important, and the Turkish foreign minister said that Turkey will not be pro-Western, it will be pro-Turkish and will only interact with those who focus on actions, not on words.

Geopolitics and Neo-Ottomanism

At the current stage, Russia and Turkey can converge for major economic projects and cooperation in the security field. But we need to move forward and develop relations in the humanitarian sphere, to solve long-standing problems, to overcome stereotypes and to interact more closely in the geopolitical dimension, in the field of ideas.

The ideology in Turkey acquires an increasingly national-oriented character, while striving to influence the former Ottoman territories (the so-called “Neo-Ottomanism”) and in the “Turkic world” (the Turkish term, which is the pinnacle of the advancement of neo-pan-Turkism).

Our interests are somewhat overlapping here, and a substantive dialogue is needed so that in the future the fields of geopolitics, ideas and values do not give rise to a new round of confrontation between the two countries.o that in future the fields of geopolitics, ideas and values does not base the foundation for a new round of confrontation between the two countries. 
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.