Sep 27, 2021
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Erdogan will betray again?

Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Zuma / TASS)

Despite the establishment of positive relations with Russia, Turkey will easily agree to possible cooperation with the West, if it sees any advantages in this. Greek political scientist warns about this on the pages of InfoBrics on the eve of talks between Turkish and Russian leaders. Paul Antonopoulos

The expert, in particular, recalls that Turkey had previously offered Russia to create a platform for resolving problems related to the Middle East and Transcaucasia, to which Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Georgia were also invited to join. Such a step, according to the political scientist, does not give any guarantees that Turkey will establish relations with Russia, and not with Europe and the United States, since the rating of the Turkish leader depends on the choice of a partner country.

“Although the proposals Erdogan on the creation of a regional platform for solving problems is a positive step in the right direction, given its consistent insecure behavior and betrayals in the past, Moscow, on the one hand, would be enthusiastic about such a bloc, but it will also be wary, knowing that Turkey often easily turns to West “, – Antonopoulos writes in his article.

Let us remind you that the visit of the Turkish President to Russia will take place on September 29. As the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia told Sergey Lavrov, the leaders of the two countries will discuss the implementation of agreements on combating terrorists in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The Minister stressed that the commitment is being fulfilled slowly by Turkey. Obviously, Moscow will try to forcefully push through its line, while Ankara, which has recently strengthened its military contingent in Idlib, will push its own line. The dialogue, obviously, will not be easy, and even if some agreements are adopted as a result of it, can Erdogan be trusted? And is Antonopoulos right?

Or shouldn’t the opinion of a Greek political scientist be considered objective when it comes to Turkey? Is he trying to drive a wedge between Moscow and Ankara?

– This opinion is objective, and the point is not in the nationality of the political scientist, – I am convinced Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation Gevorg Mirzayan… – The point is the general foreign policy behavior of Erdogan, and of many other countries. The key to a good strategic relationship is not a signed piece of paper, but profit. As soon as the benefit disappears, the relationship disappears. Therefore, if the West offers Erdogan more adequate and acceptable conditions for Turkey, he will come running to the West. There is nothing like that. He is not a friend to us, not a brother or a matchmaker. Doesn’t owe us anything.

“SP”: – Is it possible to speak at all about “betrayal” on the part of Erdogan? It seems that there have already been many such “betrayals”, but the Kremlin’s back is too wide and ready to accept many more scimitars …

– The Kremlin’s back is wide for one single reason: we allow Erdogan to do this on a regular basis. We allow Erdogan not so much to cooperate with other countries to the detriment of us, but also to take not entirely correct actions in relation to Russia, for which nothing comes to him. And this impunity stimulates the Turkish president to take more aggressive and ugly actions.

“SP”: – Turkey is still a member of NATO, that is, by definition, its interests are the interests of the West, and they do not coincide with ours …

– Turkey has one single interest. Your own. And this self-interest does not imply a final choice. Erdogan is trying to balance between Russia and the West. In this balance, he finds his benefit. Quite a logical position.

“SP”: – Antonopoulos recalled that Ankara offered Moscow to create a six-party platform for resolving problems related to the Middle East and Transcaucasia. To what extent is this platform possible under current conditions? And is it in any way contrary to the interests of the West? If the West is against it, will Erdogan continue to develop this topic?

– It completely contradicts the interests of the West, since it generally implies ousting the West from the South Caucasus. This is one of the reasons why Georgia will not enter it. In addition, neither Russia nor even Iran is ready to institutionalize Turkey’s role in the South Caucasus. Both key players view Ankara as a destructive player, which, unlike the West, has enough resources for effective destruction in the region.

“SP”: – According to the Greek political scientist, the rating of the Turkish leader depends on the choice of the partner country. Is it so? How in general is it more profitable for Erdogan to behave in relations with the West and Russia to maintain the rating? What does Turkish society expect from him? With whom do the Turks themselves want to be friends, and with whom do they not?

– Turkish society expects from Erdogan an insane “mix” of pan-Turkism, pan-Islamism and pan-Ottomanism. Recep Erdogan’s rating (if we take the part that is formed by foreign policy) depends only on his actions in this direction, and not on which country he chooses to help in the implementation of this direction.

“SP”: – What to expect from a meeting with Putin. They will discuss Idlib. What else? The fact that the visit was an initiative of the Turkish side and was being prepared urgently suggests that Erdogan is ready for compromises?

– This does not necessarily mean that Erdogan is ready for compromises. Perhaps he is flying to Putin in order to blackmail him, in order to impose some new conditions. Therefore, before the visit, he does everything possible to ensure that the broadest topics are discussed. That is, not only Syria, but also Ukraine and the Caucasus.

– Of course, if relations between Turkey and the United States were less problematic, Moscow would have fewer trump cards in negotiations with Ankara, – believes Leading Analyst of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications (APEC) Mikhail Neyzhmakov… – But, as you know, now the Turkish-American relations remain difficult. Recep Erdogan’s recent phrase on this matter (“I can’t say that we started well with Mr. Biden) is widely known, the meeting of the American and Turkish presidents during the latter’s visit to the UN General Assembly did not take place, and there is no need to talk about a “reset” in relations between Ankara and Washington, which a number of publications and analysts considered a possible scenario. Most likely, in the period before the next presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey in 2023, problematic factors in Turkish-American relations will repeatedly make themselves felt. Against this background, many factors persist that are pushing Russia and Turkey to dialogue.

“SP”: – What is the general sense of arguing that Ankara will turn its face to the West, despite the existence of agreements with Russia? Turkey is a NATO country. Someone initially believed that she would choose Russia if she was faced with such a choice?

– It is unlikely that the Russian leadership now has overestimated expectations about relations with Turkey. Moscow is interested in a pragmatic dialogue with Ankara, but it is clear, for example, that the Turkish side will not recognize Crimea as part of Russia in the foreseeable future. Topics causing mutual distrust continue to influence discussions in the media space of both countries: let us recall at least the resonant article published in the Turkish edition of Türkiye in mid-September 2021 “Russia surrounds Turkey step by step”

The United States clearly expects that against the background of Turkey’s economic problems and as the next national elections in 2023 are approaching in this country, Recep Erdogan will at least have to make serious concessions to Washington. At the same time, we have already seen that in crisis situations the current Turkish president usually increased his foreign policy activity — this may complicate relations between Moscow and Ankara, but it will also push them towards negotiations.

“SP”: – In general, is it really a question of a geopolitical choice now? The Greek political scientist also mentioned that Ankara wants to create a platform for resolving problems related to the Middle East and Transcaucasia. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Georgia were invited to join the platform. Does this somehow contradict the interests of the West? And to what extent is it realizable? While it looks fantastic …

– Obstacles to the creation of such a platform have been repeatedly discussed since the time when Recep Erdogan came up with such an initiative. For example, earlier the representatives of Georgia stated about the impossibility in the existing conditions of participation in joint formats with Russia. And the current problematic moments in relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, on the one hand, and Iran, on the other, of course, were supposed to be discussed within the framework of the announced trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of these states in Tehran. But even if such negotiations are carried out as successfully as possible, the Iranian side will most likely be as cautious as possible with the idea of ​​a “platform of six”.

“SP”: – What other controversial topics will be discussed in Sochi, besides Syria? Are compromises and agreements possible here, and how strong can they be?

– It is assumed that the meeting will be held in a one-on-one format, which rather assumes that the presidents will focus only on key issues. Officials from both sides in connection with the upcoming talks spoke primarily about the situation around Syria. But it cannot be ruled out that the situation in the South Caucasus, as well as the possibility of building a dialogue between the leaderships of Armenia and Turkey, will be touched upon, at least in passing, as representatives of the leaderships of the two states have again begun to declare their readiness in recent weeks.

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