Tilting the balance: What does Erdoğan get by meeting with Putin?
For the first time in nearly a year, Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met face-to-face with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi Monday. The three-hour exchange was held under the pretext of reviving the Black Sea grain deal, which it did not, raising the question:
What does Erdoğan get by meeting with Putin at this point in the Russia-Ukraine war?
The short answer might involve the continuation of Turkey’s unique position as a NATO member that can mediate between Ukraine and Russia. Pushing for the grain deal also gives Erdoğan good publicity.
A longer answer, as detailed by Turkey analysts below, is more about advancing Erdoğan’s domestic agenda at home and broader Turkish interests abroad – neither of which involve tilting between Moscow and Washington DC – though such rhetoric can be useful when extracting concessions.