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Turan: In the war between Israel and Hamas, Russia hopes that Western countries will be able to help Ukraine less. However, the West, especially the United States and NATO, said that there would be no reduction in aid to Ukraine. What is your view on this issue?

Fatih CeylanCeylan: As long as the invasion and attacks of Russia continue, high-ranking officials confirm that the Western world will continue to provide military, material, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. On October 20, US President Biden asked Congress to approve a $62 billion aid package to Ukraine. The European Union and NATO member countries continue to provide military and material assistance to Ukraine. For example, EU High Commissioner Borrell said at an informal meeting of the Union's foreign ministers held in Kyiv on October 2 that they would provide $5.25 billion in financial aid to Ukraine in 2024. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, EU countries have provided more than 82 billion euros of aid to date. Furthermore, the EU is working on a new package of sanctions to be applied against Russia. The North Atlantic Alliance continues its military assistance to Ukraine through the NATO-Ukraine Defense Contact Group. In this group of 54 countries, there are also 23 countries that are not members of NATO. Despite the fact that sometimes disputes have arisen on the issue of aid to Ukraine, this situation does not mean that the Western countries will reduce or stop this aid. On the contrary, the phrase "as long as necessary", which is always said and written, indicates that they will stick to their commitments as long as the Russian occupation continues or until peace terms appear on terms that Ukraine will accept. In this regard, Russia's expectation that Western rulers will reduce aid and support to Ukraine due to the war in Gaza is not realistic. A more realistic view is that Ukraine’s resistance to attacks and moves to protect its territorial integrity will continue for the foreseeable future, along with aid from the West.

Turan: After the rejection of the draft resolution submitted by Russia to the UN Security Council to achieve a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, there are reports that the BRICS countries are preparing to submit a new resolution to the Security Council. Russia is trying to promote it as the first major cooperation of the "Global South". Within the framework of the same plan, a draft resolution on the massive departure of Armenians from Azerbaijan is expected to be brought to the UN Security Council. What would you like to say about this, dear ambassador?

Ceylan: After the start of the tragic fighting in Gaza, we see an increase in attempts to reach an agreement on a ceasefire and to give a "humanitarian break" to the fighting. In this regard, the search and efforts of the UN Secretary-General and many member countries are still ongoing. We are witnessing the approaches of the United States, Britain, and some European countries that do not wish for a ceasefire. On the other hand, as the death of civilians as a result of Israeli attacks increases, the Western community increases the pressure on their countries to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and thereby end the human tragedies. Recent events in Gaza have mobilized various international actors. The current situation forces the players of the global competition to take positions against each other, crossing the borders of Gaza. Russia, which has attracted China to its side during the transition to a multi-actor/divisional global system, the lines of which are not yet defined, seems to want to find other partners, either within the large-scale Western world or in the countries belonging to the "Global South" side (the concept is still incomplete). It will be necessary to observe how far Russia can mobilize BRICS or the "Global South" to demonstrate its position against the West as the conflicts in Gaza continue, showing revisionist behavior based on using frozen conflicts and tensions between neighboring countries in its competition with other forces. In this context, it can be predicted that after the 44-day war ended with Azerbaijan's victory, Russia, which has been an observer in favor of Armenia for many years, will secure its interests in the region. In this process, it will not be a surprise that he will try to keep the Western countries away from the balances in the South Caucasus. In the face of these facts, it is important to make statements that will not leave any room for doubt in guaranteeing the rights of citizens without any discrimination for the Armenians who prefer to stay there and not to go to ethnic cleansing in Karabakh of Azerbaijan, and to take steps in this direction. The stability and prosperity of the region also require it. Of course, the most important issue in light of today's realities is the signing of a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia as soon as possible. The eternal peace agreement will ensure stability in Karabakh without the need to submit any draft resolution anywhere.

Turan: The fact that Abu Marzuk, a member of the Hamas Political Bureau, went to Moscow on October 27 to meet with the Russian President's special representative for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov, angered Israel; however, Jerusalem does not hide its concern about the strengthening of anti-Semitism in its relations with Russia. Is anti-Semitism growing stronger, and if it is growing stronger, is the main reason for this the ongoing Israeli-Hamas war?

Ceylan: As with the PYD/YPG, which is a threat to Turkey's security, Russia continues its relations with Hamas, which many Arab countries see as a threat to itself, for its own regional interests. After Abu Marzuk went to Moscow, everyone could see that the relations between Russia and Israel had become strained. One should not think that Russia will end its relations with Hamas as a result of this tension. It is not a correct approach to put all the criticism of the international community, including the Israeli society itself, into the "package of anti-Semitism". In this context, it is unfair to expect every country and society to support the policy of the radical right-wing authorities in Israel against Palestine. Attributing criticism and protests to anti-Semitism is a cheap excuse used by Israeli radical right-wing politicians. It is a common observation that anti-Semitism continues to exist in the United States, Europe, and other regions and periodically gains strength depending on the processes taking place in the region. It cannot be ignored that the recent events in Gaza have caused anti-Semitism to surface again and strongly. On the other hand, taking refuge in anti-Semitism in the face of every series of bitterness and brutality, putting aside the pressure and repression applied against the Palestinian people for years, is an unconvincing position.

Turan: On October 28, Turkey took perhaps the strongest position against Jerusalem since its recognition of Israel on March 26, 1949. How can you interpret this?

Ceylan: The preference for a harsh policy against Israel appeared after the "one-minute" reaction in Davos on January 29, 2009. After the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara ship on May 31, 2010, this tendency became stronger. With the arrival of the President of Israel to Turkey in March 2022, we witnessed the beginning of a new stage for the normalization of bilateral relations. After the events in Gaza, we see that Turkish administrators have taken a very sharp position as a result of pressure from the public. That is why there are signs that relations with Israel will be terminated in the near future. Considering the trend in Turkey, it seems impossible to be optimistic about the future of relations.

Turan: Despite the fact that the forty-four-day war ended largely with the victory of Azerbaijan, we see that the initiative in the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia has passed to Russia and Iran. What would you like to say about this coming stage?

Ceylan: The liberation of Karabakh and surrounding districts from occupation changed the balance in favor of Azerbaijan. In this context, Russia also took advantage of the situation and sent additional soldiers to the South Caucasus. Armenia, in particular, is taking steps to create a balance in the situation that may be against Iran, the relations of which with Karabakh are damaged, in the future. On the other hand, in the current tableau, it is impossible to say that the initiative has completely passed to Russia and Iran. Russia will have to deal with the war it started in Ukraine for a long time. The events unfolding in Gaza will lead to Iran's sharp dialogues with important players in the region and with Western countries. Furthermore, it is doubtful that Iran will be able to drag its relations with Azerbaijan into long-term tension and get out of it. In this case, cooperation with Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as with other countries of the Turkic world, should be strengthened and the Baku-Nakhchivan-Van-Kars railway should be built along with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. The main goal here is to further expand the economic and commercial cooperation in the region after ensuring eternal long-term peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The main condition for the implementation of this idea is the further strengthening of solidarity and cooperation, especially Turkey-Azerbaijani cooperation, and joint struggle against negative influences that may come from outside.

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