From Turkey’s Daily Sabah.

Expectations and choices for Erdoğan, Putin at Sochi Summit

Although all world capitals, especially Ankara, seem to be focused on the issue of Afghanistan, the lack of a political solution in Syria…will be the most critical issue on the table in Sochi.

Erdoğan will…convey to Putin how important Turkey’s military presence in the region is for maintaining stability….

[The] recent airstrikes by Russian and Syrian aircraft based in Idlib also oblige Ankara to review the existing agreements. This is why, during the Erdoğan-Putin meeting, Ankara will be seeking answers to many questions from Moscow.

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[It] is clear that Russia will continue to recognize Assad, whom it hosted at the Kremlin just last week, as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and back him politically, economically and militarily. However, in the upcoming period, Moscow will need to increase its sanctions and pressure on Assad in order to reach an agreement with Turkey. Although Ankara might conduct backdoor communication in necessary areas with the regime, it is also a fact that it does not recognize the Assad regime as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Whether these contacts will move forward depends on the answers and decision of Moscow, which is the political mentor of Assad.

The Sochi summit, which will take place in the shadow of all these questions, will be much more meaningful for Moscow in terms of the answers it gives to Turkey. It is also highly critical in terms of Russia’s willingness to choose a genuine and reliable partner to find sustainable solutions and maintaining stability in Syria for all parties. When taking into account the new alliances forming in the Indo-Pacific, Anglo-Atlantic, Eurasia, and the Eastern Mediterranean, this Sochi summit takes on an even more important role determined by the choices Putin makes.