Economist: For Turkey, the role of mediator in the war in Ukraine is a cover for closer relations with Russia
The Turkish president’s foreign policy is moving him further and further away from the West, and his role as a mediator in the war in Ukraine is a cover for intensive trade and closer relations with Russia, the British weekly Economist estimates. Galip Dalay, an expert at the British think tank Chatham House, believes that many people around Recep Tayyip Erdogan believe that the decline of the West is coming and a new international order is beginning to take shape.
Political scientists and diplomats accuse Turkey about leaving the West. In Ankara itself, a view has emerged that the “new Turkey” is strong enough to ignore old alliances such as NATO, forge new ones and act with full autonomy, writes the British weekly Economist.
“We don’t have to ask anyone’s permission … and we won’t explain ourselves to anyone,” Erdogan announced in November, announcing a new offensive in Syria. Many people around the Turkish president believe that the West is in decline and a new international order is beginning to take shape. Such views are now the foundation of Turkish foreign policy, says Galip Dalay, an expert at the British think tank Chatham House.
A good example of such a school of thought is Ankara’s love affair with Moscow. This relationship is now closer than ever in the history of the Turkish republic.
Erdogan benefits from being friends with Putin
The government in Ankara is trying to convince the international community that its good relations with Russia allow it to act as a mediator in the Ukrainian conflict. But this is a smoke screen to hide close economic relations with the Russian partner and to divert attention from the fact that Turkey has not joined Western sanctions against Moscow.
Russian tourists bring billions of dollars in revenue to Ankara, and Russia supplies more than 40 percent of Turkey’s GDP. gas it consumes. Good relations with Moscow are also particularly important to Erdogan given the situation in Syria, where he set up a buffer zone on the border thanks to Russia’s approval.
First of all, Erdogan now reaps great benefits from being a friend Vladimir Putin – in 2022, exports to Russia reached the value of USD 7.6 billion. and increased by 45%. compared to 2021, according to the “Economist”.
Turkey is often a problem for NATO
Western leaders are very concerned that Erdogan’s attitude towards the Kremlin has not changed since the beginning war in Ukraine. “We do not see Russia as a threat,” said Ibrahim Kalin, an adviser to the Turkish president.
“The fact that we are a member of NATO does not prevent us from having good relations (with Moscow),” adds Kalin. “I don’t think anyone in NATO, with the exception of Viktor Orban, (Prime Minister) of Hungary, agrees with this view,” comments the Economist.
Turkey is often a problem for the Alliance. It threatens to block the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO and a military operation against Greece. Erdogan even mentioned that he could attack Athens with missiles.
Ankara disagrees with the US and the EU on a wide range of fundamental issues, from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict in Syria, sanctions on Iran, relations with China, human rights and freedom of the press to terrorism, enumerates the weekly.
“The White House view is” that if you work with Erdogan on something, “it ends in drama,” says Soner Cagaptay, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank.
Proponents of a “new Turkey” foreign policy tend to “turn to the East”, but trying to orient themselves to Russia and China is difficult because it is European Union is Ankara’s largest trading partner, and the US is its main arms supplier, reminds the weekly.
Erdogan’s plan to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which – under the leadership of Russia and China – deals with security issues in Asia, is a misguided alternative to good relations with the West, the Economist concludes.
Main photo source: VYACHESLAV PROKOFYEV/PAP/EPA
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