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Aug 31, 2021
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What is the threat to Russia of the “Union of Turkic States” created by Ankara?

Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: imago images / Xinhua / TASS)

The growing activity of Turkey, led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leads to the creation of a new geopolitical reality. Already in the fall, the “Union of Turkic States” may appear. Such a promising name will be given to the international organization Turkic Council at the 8th summit in Istanbul in November.

Thus, the coordinating body will turn into something more, politically significant. Earlier Erdogan stated that “His dream is the emergence of six states and one nation”… In addition to Turkey, they talked about Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, as well as Turkmenistan as an observer (Ashgabat avoids participation in unions, observing neutrality).

The consolidation of the post-Soviet republics cannot but worry Moscow, since we are talking about Russia’s allies in the EAEU and the CSTO. The military assistance that Turkey rendered to Kyrgyzstan after the conflict with Tajikistan, the declaration of Turkestan as the spiritual capital of the Turkic world, Kazakhstan’s intention to modernize the Turkic civilization are signs of a future conflict of interests.

An even more obvious attack on the interests of the country – Russia’s ally happened in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Kremlin was forced to acknowledge the success of Baku, behind which Ankara stood. The appearance of a Turkish military base there is a matter of time. The Shusha Declaration, signed by the winning countries, laid the foundations for future expansion. By the way, the Turkic Council was created in Nakhichevan.

In the case of Crimea, Turkey’s position is directly hostile to Moscow. Premier’s participation Mevlut Cavusoglu in the Kiev summit “Crimean Platform”, the declaration of the Ukrainian identity of the peninsula (with an eye to its otrachivanie) speaks of the fundamental nature of the contradictions between the two countries. At the same time, Russia does not even think about curtailing trade with the Turks, as the “SP” wrote about.

– With the creation of the “Union of Turkic States”, which was announced by Turkey, Ankara seeks to reorient the republics of the former USSR to itself, – says political scientist, expert of the Institute of National Strategy Rais Suleymanov… – All this fits into the doctrine of Pan-Turkism: many states – one Turkic nation.

For Russia, the emergence of such an association has two consequences: firstly, Turkey penetrates and strengthens its positions in the countries of the sphere of Russian interests, and, secondly, it cannot be ruled out that Turkey will in the future begin to involve national republics in the activities of the Union of Turkic States. with the compact residence of the Turkic peoples within Russia, finding some kind of loophole for this.

“SP”: – Is there such a loophole?

– For example, due to the fact that nominally, according to the Constitution of Russia, these republics are considered states (see article 5).

By the way, Ankara can take a cunning move: for example, offer Russia to join this STG as an observer country, not a full-fledged member (Russia has been in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in this status since 2005), which will also open up an opportunity for Turkey to interact in the future. with the Turkic republics of the Volga region and the North Caucasus (and possibly the Crimea).

It is important for Moscow to remember that the Union of Turkic States is not just an economic or cultural association, but a clearly political one.

According to Head of the Department of Central Asia and Kazakhstan of the Institute of CIS Countries Andrei GrozinRussia should continue to develop its soft power in potentially disputed regions:

– The Turks are quite persistent in climbing into the regions. This is a medical fact. However, there is no need for special alarmism from Russia. The Central Asians have already passed the period when they could be “fooled” about friendship, internationalism, and Turkic unity. This is all slag, which even stupid “Natsiks” in Asia are already trying not to reproduce.

Yes, there are groups of people in the elites who would like to change the pro-Russian orientation, which still remains, to a pro-Turkish one. But these are people of the third, fourth echelon, who hope to break into the second echelon, and if they are lucky, even the first. But they are opposed by those who already sit at the very top, and they do not need competitors.

“SP”: – Time and civilizational proximity of the Turkic peoples, similar languages ​​work for them …

– The similarity of languages ​​will not go far. For the majority of the population in Asia, pan-Turkic aspirations are not very clear. The same Kyrgyz or Kazakhs still have a poor idea of ​​the image of the future Turkey. After all, when they began to orient themselves towards it at the beginning of the 2000s – before Erdogan came to power, it was a secular country. And now?

Everyone loves money, but money from Turkey is not very big. There is a competition of resources: Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Turkish, Pakistani, Indian. For example, Pakistan now has a resource that will outweigh all Turkish resources. The countries of Central Asia are flirting with the Turks, but no one is going to build Great Turan.

It is another matter that in the dialogue with Russia these countries are trying to use the Turkish factor to the fullest. They say, we will soon buy “Bayraktars”, let Moscow also offer something, and even pay extra for it. An ordinary Asian bazaar.

“SP”: – Still, there is an impression that Moscow underestimates the geopolitical scope of Erdogan. We trade with him, a helmet for tourists, and he encroaches on our Crimea, and on the Transcaucasus and Central Asia in addition …

– Our authorities do not particularly react, because they understand that Turkey does not have a serious resource to offer to Central Asia. You need either a power resource, or an economic one, or a resource of soft power. In the last component, we should compete with the Turks. There are Turkish lyceums, institutes, quotas are given. There are attempts to recruit elites through cultural and scientific programs. They have chosen this direction correctly, realizing that they cannot compete with Russia in the economy, in large projects. And culture does not require large expenditures, unlike energy, metallurgy, mechanical engineering. In this part, this approach “fires”. Not that Russia is lagging behind in this, but the Turks are moving faster.

“SP”: – They say that after Karabakh, Ankara’s shares went up sharply …

– It’s not at all obvious. Turkish pressure frightens many. The way Ankara builds relations with the West – Paris, Washington, worries many. Attempts to put pressure on partners are carefully recorded. And those who just yesterday wanted to do “like in Turkey” are now thinking whether they need to argue with everyone around?

Plus there is the China factor. Beijing has put all the countries in the region on its own financial needle. Someone owes him a lot, someone less, but the economic and logistical prospects of the region are all connected with China. Nobody talks about Washington or Moscow. Everyone hopes for Chinese money. And Beijing has a wary attitude to false Turkish ideas.

Developing economic projects with Turkey, the Chinese fear that the consolidation of Turkic unity will create problems for them in Xinjiang. And this opinion (as well as the Russian one) is heeded in Central Asia. Nobody wants to become the younger brother of Ankara, which instead of money talks about the unity of culture and talks about the Ottoman Empire. This is a story for “suckers”.

By the way, we must not forget that the countries of Central Asia have always been outside the Turkish oecumene, outside the Ottoman ports. They never entered it, had nothing to do with it, and even fought with it. Let us recall the history of the Baburov dynasty on the territory of modern Uzbekistan … So Erdogan has a desire for expansion, but, as they say in Russia: if you walk wide, you will tear your pants.

“SP”: – I must admit that Erdogan chose the right moment for expansion. The old world order is crumbling …

– Now there is a geopolitical war for the restructuring of the world space, for the seizure of the maximum possible spheres of influence both in the West and in the East. Russians, Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Persians and Turks are trying to take part in this. Another question is who has the capacity to control these scattered networks.

Turkey is scattered too widely. At the same time, he is waging a war in Libya, trying to get into Yemen, getting bogged down in Syria, having claims to what is happening around Kabul, and even in post-Soviet Central Asia, in the Transcaucasus and, probably, in the Russian Volga republics … There will not be enough resources. I am sure Turkey will overstrain as soon as the name of their leader changes.

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