(TASS) Russia has begun exchanging intelligence data with the Turkish Army in order to ensure the success of Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria.
According to Izvestia, the agreement was reached during last week’s talks between the Russian and Turkish Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Experts believe that cooperating with Ankara on Syria may become more beneficial for Russia than cooperation with the US.
First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Defense and Security at the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Franz Klintsevich, said Turkey quietly joined the pool on intelligence sharing created by Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
“We pass on to the Turkish side radio intercept, radar data and imagery intelligence data that may be of interest to them,” the senator said.
“In response, they also share data. The Turks have very efficient special services and a very good network of agents in Syria.”
The current cooperation between the Russian and Turkish armed forces has emerged thanks to Ankara’s decision to revise its foreign policy priorities after this summer’s failed coup, Klintsevich noted.
“Although Turkey is a NATO member-state, it got very offended at the coup attempt that may have been the indirect work of certain Western powers, according to some data,” he explained.
“President Erdogan and Turkey’s leadership understood that they can have deals with Russia.”
Vladimir Avatkov, Director of the Center of the Oriental Studies, International Relations and Public Diplomacy, said the direct dialogue between Moscow and Ankara is very important.
“The Turks may be very useful for us in Syria and that’s why the priority in the Russian-Turkish relations now is establishing cooperation in defense and intelligence.”
“Turkey controls whole regions in northern Syria and has sway on very powerful groups.”
Ankara is showing its readiness to reach a compromise with Moscow in the Syrian issue, the expert said.
However, Ankara is unlikely to be an “easy partner,” but cooperation with it is necessary and beneficial for Russia, he stressed.