“Russia is undermining the unity of NATO.” Scheduled for Tuesday, the visit of Turkish President Erdogan to Russia has caused quite a nerve comments in the Western media. “Despite assurances from the Turkish side, Turkey is not going to turn back to the West and we are talking only about the restoration of relations with Russia, spoiled nine months ago, this would make Turkey’s relations with the West more fragile.”
As explained by the agency, in Turkey they are offended by the fact that “the West was indifferent of the events of the unsuccessful coup but is paying great attention to the repression carried out after it … The relationship with EU is so corrupted that the German foreign minister compared them to an affiliation of inhabitants of two different planets. Erdogan’s visit to Putin is certain signal to the West – we (Turkey) have other strategic opportunities.”– Reuters writes in their comments.
The agency reports that Russian interest in this case is to “undermine NATO’s unity” whose member Turkey is.
Erdogan is definitely not changed since last year, when a Turkish fighter jet shot down Russian plane over Syria. He is still uncontrollable, unpredictable and behaves so provocatively, as he can (in his opinion, as the situation allows). It is worth noting that in late November of 2015 when Lt. Colonel Peshkov was killed, Erdogan has certainly been in a strong position. He just negotiated with the EU on the closure of migrants venues bargaining billions of euros for that cause; he started negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the EU and visa-free regime for Turks. In addition, he did not have this open conflict with the United States. It should also be noted that Turkey, both militarily and economically, is very tightly integrated with the Western countries, and that integration cannot be “re-oriented” simply at the request of the political leadership (in any case, such a reorientation will take decades).
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Another thing – that the West really did everything possible to alienate Turkey, as far as possible. At first it was a long intentional silence during the coup (only at the end of which, when it was clear that the revolt failed, EU leaders and the US squeezed out a “support of the legitimate authority”). Then – the usual humanitarian uproar about antidemocratic cleansing arranged in the wake of the rebellion. In addition, the issue of Fethullah Gulen, the alleged organizer of the mutiny and his extradition to Turkey by the US, which Ankara insists, did not take place and hardly will. Finally, the EU saw the consequences of the rebellion as an excellent opportunity to somehow evade the need to introduce a visa-free regime with the 75-million Turkey by population exceeding almost all EU countries together.
In this situation, Erdogan definitely will start intensely to show-up the beginning of restoration of relations with Russia, like the reopening of the project “Turkish stream” and so on. Though, talking about his motion as a strategic orientation change – no one in Russia, or in the West is going to believe in.
Just think of Syria, where Turkey, though no longer so confidently, requires the removal of Assad’s supporters from power, which is unacceptable for Russia. Another thing is that Turkey as a military force in the aftermath of the coup attempt is quite weakened, at least for a couple of years. And this can make it more acquiescent on Syria.EU Russia