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May 14, 2022
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Sultan’s “double game”: How long will Turkey support Ukraine without imposing sanctions against Russia?

Pictured: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (center) during Russian-Ukrainian talks at Dolmabahce Palace

Pictured: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (center) during Russian-Ukrainian talks at the Dolmabahce Palace (Photo: Sergei Karpukhin/TASS)

Turkey cannot refuse cooperation with Russia due to close trade relations, gas supplies and the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, writes the American National Interest. According to a magazine reviewer Robert EllisAnkara will not sacrifice close relations with Moscow in favor of following the NATO line in condemning the Russian special operation in Ukraine.

“Turkey depends on Russia for trade, gas, and also for the construction of a nuclear power plant,” Ellis notes.

In addition, he believes that Ankara hopes for a record tourist season based on the influx of Russian tourists. As an example, Ellis cites the fact that Turkish Airlines has allocated one and a half million seats for Russians.

Nevertheless, Turkey condemns the special operation and supplies weapons to Ukraine. But he does not impose sanctions. Double game?

Why should Turkey enter into anti-Russian sanctions if the current situation brings it only pluses? — notes coordinator of the unregistered party “Other Russia E. V. Limonova” * Andrey Dmitriev.

– There is a possibility of a game or bargaining between different centers of power. Economic ties with Russia are indeed significant and it is unprofitable to break them. At the same time, Ankara increased the export of arms by as much as 40% in the first half of the year, including the same Bayraktars for Kyiv.

But the main thing: the position of a cautious approach Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the situation of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine is justified by the fact that he, as the eastern leader of conservative views, respects force in the first place. He shot down a Russian plane at one time, saw a negative reaction, confirmed by the actions of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria, began to apologize and negotiate. And vice versa. I realized that Armenia is weak and no one is particularly ready to fit in for Karabakh, and helped Azerbaijan to overcome it by military means… Strength and bargaining are the foundations of politics in the East.

And now, when Russia has so robustly shown strength, it is in no hurry to oppose it. And it is on how much he will show it further that his position will depend. There will be a successful offensive of our army – it will remain more or less loyal. And if the collective West begins to gain the upper hand, it will immediately remember the Great Turan, Central Asia, Transcaucasia and the Turkic regions of the Russian Federation (he did not forget about them). By the way, during the last visit of the President of Kazakhstan Kasima-Jomart Tokayeva to Turkey, the parties noted the unity of positions in defense of the “territorial integrity of Ukraine”, and also agreed to jointly assemble drones.

“Firstly, the dependence is really quite large,” believes Associate Professor of the Faculty of International Relations, Political Science and Foreign Regional Studies of the RSUH Vadim Trukhachev.

– Secondly, Turkey needs to show its independence from the West. And there is simply no better way to do this now than to refrain from directly supporting anti-Russian sanctions.

“SP”: – At the same time, Erdogan condemns the special operation and provides assistance to Ukraine. And in Libya and Syria, we still have disagreements on the verge of clashes.

– Despite the desire to show independence from the West, Turkey remains a member of NATO and a candidate for joining the European Union. And relations with the EU and the US are still more important for the Turks than relations with Russia. And that is why they indicate their support for Ukraine in this form. Counting on the fact that the Turks will follow in the wake of Russia in Syria and Libya is simply pointless. Our interests there objectively diverge.

“SP”: – Ellis argues that Ankara will not sacrifice close relations with Moscow in favor of following the NATO line. Shouldn’t she?

– It does not follow enough, but it still follows – albeit with reservations. And it cannot be otherwise. There are too many objective contradictions between Russia and Turkey. And the Turks will not completely spoil relations with the EU and the USA because of Russia.

“SP”: – Is there a certain “red line” that Turkey will not cross? Why are we not ready to forgive her?

– Our “red line” in relations with Turkey is the support of separatism in the Russian regions and an attempt to oust Russia from the Transcaucasus and Central Asia. Now also joining the anti-Russian sanctions.

“SP”: – What, in your opinion, are the Americans ready to go to reduce our mutual dependence with Turkey?

Ready for almost anything. For example, to rearm Turkey with American weapons. Turkey’s accession to Western energy projects. The Turks are ready to give the green light in terms of strengthening influence in Central Asia and the full involvement of Azerbaijan in its orbit of influence. But still, the West will not fully take into account all the desires of Turkey in the Transcaucasus, the Middle East and the Balkans.

According to political scientist Vladimir MozhegovEllis is right about a lot of things, but he misses a lot.

– There are many factors. Erdogan generally plays his own game and feels extremely independent. Let’s not forget that the Ottoman Empire for many centuries remained a powerful world center of power. And it was destroyed only in the First World War along with other European empires. And the same revolutionary forces. Turkey has many ambitions and many claims. To America and Europe – not least. You have to come from this. Russia for Erdogan is rather a tactical ally. But the real goal of Turkey is to restore, as far as possible, its imperial power. And it will proceed solely from its own interests.

“SP”: – Is there really “red lines” for Turkey, for which it will not allow itself to be drawn into the West? Rejection of the S-400? Imposition of sanctions? Forcing tension in Karabakh? What else?

– Erdogan will play on the confrontation between Russia and the West, proceeding, I repeat, solely from his own interests. But Russia’s complimentary to Erdogan is more important. However, as well as the fear of falling under the distribution of sanctions and too much pressure from the United States. But still, Erdogan does not love America more.

“SP”: – And what about the reciprocal dependence? In what way does Russia depend on Turkey, and does it have such “red lines” that it will not go beyond so as not to irritate its partner?

– Such an ally as Turkey is of course important for Russia. This is a serious geopolitical player. This is the most powerful army in Europe, in fact. We have a clash of interests with Turkey in Azerbaijan and Syria. But they don’t seem insurmountable to me. Kurds? Karabakh? These are all pawns of geopolitical chess that don’t bother us much. So far, our geopolitical interests do not seriously clash. But in the event of strengthening our presence in Central Asia, building an alliance with Iran, India, everything, of course, can change.

“SP”: – Judging by the words of Alice, the United States is concerned about this “dependence” of Turkey on Russia. Is it so? What are they willing to do to reduce it?

— What only the United States is not ready to go? Probably only for a direct clash with Russia, threatening a nuclear war. For everything else – especially with regard to the proxy war with Russia – with great pleasure. But Turkey is a very paradoxical world. Considering that this is a NATO member country with the strongest army, a very autonomous position, and, moreover, an implicit, but not too secret enemy of the United States. From strong pressure on Turkey, the entire NATO military machine may crumble. In the US, this is well understood. In Ankara too.


* The organization is not registered by the Ministry of Justice of Russia.

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