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Turkey is restructuring its relations with Russia in the region
Material posted: Publication date: 02-12-2013

Turkey and Russia were political differences in the past. It mostly was noticeable on the example of Syria, where the two countries support opposing civil war faction. Ankara and Moscow have even gotten to that accused each other – albeit tactfully – to prolong the suffering in Syria.

However, the already wide and still growing economic cooperation between the two countries, estimated at tens of billions of dollars and covering such strategic sectors as nuclear energy – has become a guarantee of the positive nature of their relationship regardless of political differences.

This circumstance again made itself felt during the visit of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on November 21-22 in St. Petersburg, where he held talks with President Vladimir Putin on Syria and Iran, and many other issues of mutual interest.

As regards the economic aspect, the two countries promised to increase by 2020 the volume of bilateral trade to 100 billion dollars. This indicator has reached in 2012 the level of 35 billion dollars. In addition, the two countries finalise a $20 billion Russian investments in the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Turkey.

Meanwhile, dozens of Turkish contractors are doing business in Russia, estimated at billions of dollars, and millions of Russian tourists visit Turkey annually. Despite sverhemotsionalnye tasks and the vicissitudes of economic life, affecting an annual trade performance, economic aspect of Turkish-Russian relations, apparently, will continue to evolve, and none of the parties does not detect the desire to put it at risk.

And in the political arena, Erdogan's visit comes at a time when the course of events in the middle East is accelerating rapidly, providing for cooperation and coordination between Ankara and Moscow on regional issues more than in former times.

The contribution of Turkey to the situation in the middle East, where she was in isolation because of a number of political errors made by the Erdogan government, at the moment is insignificant. The last event that creates a risk of further isolation Turkey, was a decision by Cairo to downgrade diplomatic relations with Ankara after his angry remarks by Erdogan in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

This spat between Turkey and Egypt has come at a time when Russia establishes contacts with Egypt. Recently Moscow has sent to Cairo by foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, where he courted brought to power the military the new government. Unlike Turkey, Russia in the middle East is currently influential and proactive player, and, apparently, successful in their efforts.

This circumstance was clearly demonstrated by the deal with Iran reached regarding its nuclear program. They say that Moscow's role in these negotiations was crucial. Russia was also a Central player in efforts to end the Syrian war, and is currently working on convening a conference Geneva-2.

The novelty in all this is that Russia now acts together with the United States. This happens after two major powers, which are the members of the UN Security Council, apparently, agreed on how it should be resolved the basic crisis in the middle East.

Many analysts argue that Moscow had saved Washington, when offered a solution to the issue of Syrian chemical weapons, freeing US from the burden of the air war against the forces of Assad and oputyvanie in a new middle East adventure contrary to the sentiments of American society. All this also raises the status of Moscow in the Turkish eyes.

When viewed from the Russian perspective, Moscow has kept the constancy of his position on Iran and Syria. Many Russian analysts pay attention today on what to do with what others have started to agree just now, called all this time it was Russia. This is definitely true in the case of Turkey, which now agrees (although still reluctantly) that the only remaining Syrian option is reached as the result of settlement negotiations.

Ankara initially rejected this path because of the legitimacy which it should in this case would be to award the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad and his government. Instead, she sought the military support for the Syrian opposition that could take over from Assad. In addition, Erdogan expressed his dissatisfaction reached through Russian mediation deal regarding Syria's chemical weapons, arguing that it would allow Assad to get out.

Turkey continues to hold great from the Russian point of view on the question of who bears the responsibility for the bloody events in Syria.

It was obvious during the press conference in St. Petersburg, where Erdogan broke his usual tirade against the Assad regime. Moscow for its part continues to accuse the government of war with the radical elements.

Despite the different approaches to this problem, Erdogan under the weight of circumstances was forced to support the conference Geneva-2, on which insists Washington and Moscow, which now scheduled for January 22.

Putin said that Russia had fulfilled its obligations by convincing the Assad government to go to Geneva, and in the remark, obviously addressed to Erdogan, has hinted that it is now up to others to convince the intractable Syrian opposition to go to Geneva and to contribute to the achievement of a negotiated settlement.

In St. Petersburg, Erdogan also made it clear that Ankara still wants Russia to use its influence on Turkey adopted at the Shanghai cooperation organization (SCO). It was taken as a sign that he is still looking for an alternative to relations with the European Union, mostly staying in hibernation.

Earlier this year, Erdogan admitted that he had told Putin that if Turkey is allowed into the SCO, it will be ready to withdraw its application for EU membership. His words were at first taken as a joke, but subsequent statements by Erdogan showed that he was not joking.

In St. Petersburg, Erdogan mentioned it at least one time expressed the view that membership in the SCO will remove the burden from the shoulders of the EU Turkey. "50 years of experience (with the EU) is not just. Take us into the Shanghai cooperation organization and relieve us from this trouble", – quotes Mr. Erdogan Putin.

Entry into such an Alliance with Ankara, but looks like too strong a step for Moscow and the other members of the group who only gave Turkey the status of "dialogue partner". Many analysts believe that because of Turkey's membership in NATO, Erdogan's proposal does not make any sense.

Despite the fact that Turkey is considered a "partner in dialogue", she wasn't invited to the September summit of the SCO in Bishkek. But was invited to Iran that have a higher SCO "observer" status. Apparently, of Iran's ties with Russia is strong as always.

On November 23, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani as a sign of warm relations between Moscow and Tehran was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister for defense and space industry Dmitry Rogozin and reiterated that the two countries "have common interests and objectives in the sensitive middle East region."

In a situation where the middle East is gaining pace this diplomatic activity and the prospect of a new international cooperation on regional issues, Ankara is hardly can afford to remain a spectator.

Increasing political cooperation with Moscow, in addition to cooperation with Washington, not to mention Tehran and Baghdad will undoubtedly improve the prospects of Turkey in this respect, helping it to move towards the front, rather than observing the events from behind the scenes. It seems that the revaluation, which happens in the foreign policy of Ankara – regardless of the crisis in relations with Egypt is directed on it.


Source translation for MixedNews - josser


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