Nov 3, 2021
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Biden beckons with a finger, Erdogan will again forget Putin’s “dear friend”

Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

In the photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Mikhail Metzel / TASS)

Turkey has always defended only its national interests and everywhere “crap” Russia, said the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky… The State Duma deputy pointed to mistrust of Turkey, which “hides a dagger behind its back in order to stick it in the back of the Russian Federation.” According to him, Russia should prepare for an unexpected blow, which Turkey can deliver at any moment.

“I have been dealing with Turkey for 50 years. They constantly betray everyone. And they are at war with everyone, they argue with everyone and they spoil us everywhere – Libya, Crimea, Karabakh, and Azerbaijan. And now they are supplying their drones, from which they shoot Russian citizens in Donbass, ”he said.

Zhirinovsky also expressed the opinion that the situation will deteriorate further, expressing the hope that Russia will be able to stop Turkey.

We will remind, last week, the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the first time used the Turkish Bayraktar drone in hostilities in the Donbass. Despite the fact that there were no human casualties, this event caused a huge resonance.

Well, and of course, everything that Zhirinovsky said: Syria, Libya, Transcaucasia, Central Asia, Crimea – in all these regions our interests with the Turks, to put it mildly, do not converge …

However, all these contradictions were somehow chatted out. But the use of Bayraktar against Donbass is already a kind of red line. Where is the guarantee that tomorrow it will not be used against Crimea, and the Turks will shrug their shoulders again and say: we have nothing to do with it?

And then what? Or is the Kremlin’s back wide enough to receive a couple dozen more scimitars?

– Russia and Turkey are not military-political allies, so it is strange to talk about betrayal, – I am sure Head of the Expert Council of the Strategic Development Fund Igor Shatrov

– Partial coincidence of our interests in Syria does not extend to other areas. Let’s not forget that Turkey is a NATO member and Erdogan does not hide his position on Crimea, whose reunification with Russia does not recognize. Turkey also makes it clear that it will develop relations with Ukraine to the same extent as with Russia. It’s just that Erdogan is playing his geopolitical game on several boards at the same time.

Turkish multi-vector nature is not accidental. This is a consequence of the growing ambitions of Ankara, caused by the interest of major actors in it, primarily Moscow and Washington. Turkey intends to use multi-vector as a tool for manipulation.

SP: It seems that the status of a “respected partner” does not allow Moscow to ask Erdogan a number of uncomfortable questions. For example, for what purpose were the drones sold to Ukraine and are you planning to supply one more batch? Or to what extent does Ankara plan to get into the Transcaucasus and Central Asia? Well, there are many questions about Syria …

– These are rhetorical questions, the answers to them are well known. Turkey is not a significant sponsor of the war in Donbass. “Bayraktars” are, of course, a dangerous weapon, but in the general list of threats, their importance is not so great. More serious questions arise for Ukraine – not for Turkey. And therefore, Moscow will tolerate Ankara’s antics until they become a serious obstacle to the realization of Russia’s own interests.

“SP”: – Is Zhirinovsky just voicing his opinion now? Does this mean that this is not only his opinion, that the Kremlin is ready to reconsider relations with Erdogan?

– At least not now. Reckless multi-vector approach will sooner or later put Ankara with a choice. Much depends on who will be near and support Turkey at that moment. Russia and Turkey are in the same region. For this reason alone, Russia has more chances to win in the multi-move.

“SP”: – How important are these relations for us in general? What are we willing to sacrifice, how long should we endure his obviously unfriendly actions? Is there a red line here? Many believe that the use of Bayraktar in Donbass was the red line …

– As I said, the fact of deliberate obstruction of the realization of Russian interests can become a red line. Erdogan understands this very well. That is why, after any careless approach to the red line, he is looking for words to explain his position to Putin. And, admittedly, he finds it. This was the case after the destruction of the Russian Su-24, and after the assassination of the Russian ambassador, and after a whole series of other distressing acts.

As long as the Turkish leader manages to achieve results, Moscow accepts his excuses. I do not think that the use of Bayraktar by Ukraine is a more serious reason for the deterioration of Russian-Turkish relations than Erdogan’s earlier aforementioned “mistakes”.

Russia is both economically and geopolitically interested in good relations with Turkey. This allows Moscow itself to be above the scramble in a region where many states claim to be the leader and thus warm the soil for incessant regional conflicts.

Russia is the only great power that has equal relations with all the leading regional players – Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia. Moreover, in the Greater Middle East region, everyone recognizes that only Russia is capable of being an independent mediator in any regional conflict, be it Palestinian-Israeli, Turkish-Kurdish, Cypriot, Syrian, Afghan or Armenian-Azerbaijani. This is an undeniable geopolitical advantage. And therefore, Russia will not spoil relations with Turkey without serious reasons.

“SP”: – How important are relations with Russia to Erdogan? He so curled around Biden at the G20 summit, talked about the possibility of agreeing on airplanes and about the termination of the US support for the Kurds. If Washington beckons him with a finger tomorrow, offering something weighty in exchange for ending cooperation with Russia, will he not refuse?

– Erdogan is an experienced politician. He will not abandon his equally advantageous geopolitical position, in which he has the opportunity (or believes that he has the opportunity) to manipulate Russia and the United States in his own interests.

Erdogan’s strength lies precisely in the fact that on the international agenda he acts as a damper between Russia and the United States. As soon as Turkey goes over to one of the sides, it will immediately lose this important advantage.

– It is clear that military-technical cooperation between Ankara and Kiev is contrary to the interests of Moscow, – says Leading Analyst of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications Mikhail Neyzhmakov

– At the same time, such supplies of Turkish military products are unlikely to fundamentally affect the balance of power between Russia and Ukraine. Therefore, Moscow also limited itself to very restrained statements on this matter. You can recall, for example, the remark Sergey Lavrov in April 2021 with an appeal to “all responsible countries” not to fuel “militaristic sentiments” in Kiev.

“SP”: – According to Zhirinovsky, Turkey “constantly betrays everyone.” Do they have a scimitar on duty behind their backs prepared? Or not?

– In recent years, Turkey has gained additional opportunities to strengthen its foreign policy influence – among other things, and taking into account the development of its own military-industrial complex. However, this does not negate additional problems for Ankara. As a result, the Turkish leadership is a difficult partner for both Russia and the United States.

“SP”: – Let’s go back to the Bayraktar in Donbass. What reaction did Erdogan expect from Moscow? Or was it done on purpose in spite of Russia? To blackmail her?

– Recep Erdogan, building relations with other states, indeed often proceeds from the principle “disloyalty is valued more than loyalty”.

We can recall the statement made by the Turkish president in October about the possibility of declaring the ambassadors of 10 states as persons of non grata – however, as a result, such a scenario was not realized.

But with the military-technical cooperation between Turkey and Ukraine, most likely, everything is easier – Ankara is set on the broadest possible promotion of the products of its military-industrial complex, while the Turkish side has quite positive relations with Kiev. Moreover, a number of Turkish experts consider such contacts with Ukraine (including in the military-technical sphere) as another factor that can be used to confirm their influence on the situation in Eastern Europe and to strengthen their own negotiating positions, for example, in dialogue with the USA.

“SP”: – By the way, there is no real reaction from Moscow. And it should be noted that this is not the first unpleasant question for the “respected partner”. Recently it became known that they had their eyes on control over the Black Sea, in Transcaucasia they are stepping on our heels, they are climbing into Central Asia, they are helping Ukraine, in Syria they are interfering. What’s next? How long will Moscow tolerate this?

– For many years, the periodic challenges for interaction between Moscow and Ankara have been related to the situation around Syria. Plots related to Ukraine are unlikely to carry comparable threats to these relations in the near future. If reasons for sufficiently protracted crises in Russian-Turkish relations appear in the near future, they will most likely be associated with the Syrian problem.

“SP”: – Erdogan at the G20 summit spoke about the US readiness for a dialogue on the F-35 and the end of support for the Kurds. What if they make up? Turkey to become NATO’s eastern strike fist again? Will refuse the S-400? The end of our fragile peace in Syria? Will they begin to massively arm Ukraine?

– The United States and Turkey are probing the ground for easing differences – this is evidenced by the official reports following the talks between the presidents of these states on the sidelines of the G20 summit. However, noticeable expectations were also associated with their meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in June. No wonder the US President’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan then he spoke about the “broad and comprehensive agenda” of negotiations between the two leaders. Therefore, for now, one can speak with great caution about the prospects for a thaw in relations between Ankara and Washington.

Also, let’s not forget that Turkey is becoming an increasingly ambitious player, so Turkish-American relations will periodically go through crises.

In addition, it is likely that Washington’s pressure on Recep Erdogan will increase as the presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey in 2023 approach. That is, in the short term, the Turkish leader has incentives not to burn bridges in relations with Moscow.

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