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In Russia, Turkey's Erdogan seeks better ties with Putin, but distrust lingers

The Turkish president wants to enhance his prestige by brokering a new grain deal but faces an uphill battle, with increasing distrust from Moscow over Ankara's ties with Ukraine, and posture inside NATO.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) during a meeting in Sochi, on August 5, 2022. (Photo by Vyacheslav Prokofyev and Vyacheslav PROKOFYEV / POOL / AFP) (Photo by VYACHESLAV PROKOFYEV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

On his visit to Sochi on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a primary goal in mind to improve his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has seen open cracks in the last few months. 

Various steps by Ankara, including bilateral visits with Ukraine and paving the way for NATO's expansion, have heightened Russian distrust of Erdogan, analysts say.

Erdogan is now angling for an international success story by restoring the agreement with Moscow that enabled Ukraine to ship its grain to world markets through the Black Sea.

Moscow terminated the deal on July 17. The agreement Erdogan brokered with the UN last year had gained him international kudos, and restoring it would put him in the limelight again when he attends the UN General Assembly later this month.

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