Turkey has been skillful enough to play both Russia and the United States to extract the best possible deals for Ankara’s own interests. The stress test of the downed Russian jet in late 2015, however, made Erdogan more cautious not to overplay his cards with Putin. Moscow and Ankara have since been more prudent when walking on each other’s terrain. The current state of affairs in Syria makes this experience particularly helpful. Russia shows empathy for Turkey’s fundamental security concern about the YPG and other Kurdish forces. Turkey, in turn, has to side with the Russian agenda on preserving Syrian territorial integrity and on Assad as being ruler of the country.
Trump’s “handing over” of Syria to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is largely seen in Moscow as a reflection of this intent. So are the likely sale of the Patriot air-defense system and the lifting of sanctions against Turkey.
Russia’s Agriculture Ministry announced it is considering doubling the quota for tomato imports from Turkey to 100,000 tons a year.