The coronavirus pandemic established, however, that we, as fellow humans, have a middle ground and certain shared responsibilities beyond self-interest and fear. No country can afford to isolate itself from the outside world. That path only leads to more poverty, conflict and bloodshed. What was simply a Chinese problem just weeks ago is now a truly global issue.
International focus has been on the Middle East for decades and particularly on Iran, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Libya over the past several years. However, whatever is written about the Middle East, Russia is always part of the equation.
The March 5 agreement between Turkey and Russia put an end to the military confrontation in Idlib, Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, shook hands on that deal to de-escalate what had become serious bilateral tensions. The 2018 Sochi agreement has thus been updated.
Turkey has been the main supporter of the Syrian opposition fighting the Bashar Assad regime. Ankara has also diligently protected innocent Syrian civilians living in the Idlib region. It has stood against the atrocities, the Assad regime attacks and the regime's main backers Russia and Iran. On one hand, Turkey has mobilized its deterrent military power in the region against the regime’s future attacks; on the other hand, Turkish officials and civil institutions initiated a campaign to provide food and shelter for civilians. Western countries have been reluctant to get involved in the humanitarian tragedy and security problem in the region.
After a six-hour meeting between leaders and technical committees, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart announced a cease-fire for Syria's Idlib. During the meeting at the Kremlin, the presidents gave short speeches. The whole world followed the process as the decisions could trigger an escalation in violence while intensifying the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria. Turkey and Russia both wanted to end the civil war but were unwilling to concede their positions. For both Turkey and Russia, bilateral relations were at stake as well.