Putin and Erdogan warn of rising tension after Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) holding a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin after their meeting at the Presidential Complex.

:: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned against the repercussions of Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel asserting it would be the cause of heightened tension in the Middle East and derail the peace process.

“Russia and Turkey believe that this decision does not help stabilize the situation in the Middle East, but on the contrary, it adds to an already complex situation,” Putin said.

Speaking Monday after a hectic day that took him from a Russian base in Syria to Cairo and Ankara, Putin said the US move “doesn’t help the Mideast settlement and, just the other way round, destabilizes the already difficult situation in the region.”

The Russian leader added that it may “finish prospects for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.”

He added that Moscow believes that the status of Jerusalem should be settled through talks between the Palestinians and Israel in line with United Nations resolutions.

The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Erdogan said an OIC summit would be held in Istanbul on Wednesday and would mark a “turning point” in the move to counter US President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

During the press conference on Monday, Putin stressed as well the strengthening of areas of cooperation between Ankara and Moscow.

Erdogan says officials to meet to ‘finalize’ Russia defense deal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that Turkish and Russian officials would meet in the coming days to finalize the deal for Russia to supply its latest S-400 air-defense system to Ankara.

“Officials will come together in the coming week to finalize the necessary work on the S-400 issue. I wish them success,” Erdogan said during a press conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Ankara. He did not give further details.

“In the course of today’s work we finally agreed a credit agreement which I hope, and I emphasize this, will be signed in the nearest time,” Putin said, but at no point did he mention the S-400 deal directly.

“We see a considerable perspective to widen cooperation in the military technical sphere,” he added during his visit to Ankara.

The purchase of the surface-to-air missile defense batteries, Ankara’s most significant deal with a non-NATO supplier, comes with Turkey in the throes of a crisis in relations with several Western states.

There are also worries in the West, including in the US, over the missile system’s technical compatibility with the alliance’s equipment.

The Pentagon previously said that “generally it’s a good idea” for NATO allies to buy inter-operable equipment.

Putin was in Ankara after a sprint across the Middle East and North Africa region.

He began with a surprise first visit to Syria to meet President Bashar al-Assad at a Russian airbase before meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, two of Ankara’s prime foes in recent years.

Then he arrived in Ankara for talks with Erdogan for the two leaders’ eighth meeting this year, during which they discussed the over six-year Syrian conflict and energy matters.

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