Фото: AP Photo / Baderkhan Ahmad

Фото: AP Photo / Baderkhan Ahmad

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- What triggered a Moscow meeting between V. Putin and R, Erdogan? Analysts lay an emphasis on the fact that the Turkish President arrived in Moscow and that the meeting was not held in Turkey.

Rauf Mirkadyrov- Let’s start with the geopolitical realities. Relations between Turkey, Iran and Russia cannot be allied relations: these are historical empires, border upon one another and are eager to expand their areas at the expense of neighbors. The point is that that mainland empires have always contended with each other.

Account has to be taken of the fact that Russia, Turkey and Iran are rivaling in one and the same regions  – the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Near East. All is not right with relations between Russia and Iran in Syria. As a matter of fact, Russia is seeking to force Iran and Turkey from the region and simultaneously stay in the Near East as a key global actor. Of interest is the fact that Putin declined from discussing the Syrian issue in quadripartite format  - with the participation of heads of Germany and France – Merkel and Macron. In fact, Russia is trying to remain tete-a-tete with the United States, i.e. to be one of the two global actors in the Near East. This country is engaged in keeping others from its areas of interest.

Much has been told about Astana and Sochi agreements on de-escalation zones which made it possible to wipe out the Syrian territory of opponents of power. Undivided proved to be an Idlib zone and a territory under the control of Kurdish detachments with the US-assistance. Russians tried to edge into the area as well but were done away.

- Why did Erdogan arrive in Moscow while initially it was decided to hold a meeting in Istanbul in quadripartite format?

- Added to this can be that Putin declined from quadripartite meeting. Erdogan left for Russia; that was a Moscow’s first victory. The Turkish leader should show some spine and decline from going to Russia, so sooner or later Putin would have to arrive in Istanbul. Should Erdogan show persistence, Russia would not start a big war with Turkey, Russia is not ready to wage a war. Putin succeeded in making Erdogan to give up. Russian mass media evaluated this fact as Russia’s first victory. In particular, mass media unleashed a torment of insult and swearwords. Thus, some of them described Erdogan as standing in obscene pose before Putin. The said montages were posted not only in the yellow press but serious pro-Putin editions.

- Why has Erdogan resigned to self-humiliation?

- It cannot be emphasized that Turkey enjoys the full military advantage in Syria, especially its land forces. Moreover, Russia has no air advantage over Turks either. Russian aerospace forces are incapable of knocking out land targets with an accuracy of the Turkish aviation. I don’t think that the Syrian-Russian antiaircraft defense poses a serious threat for Turkey.

Account has to be taken of the fact that that the Turkish-Russian relations may seriously deteriorate in case of local wars. Thus, Turkey may close straits for Russian civil fleet and marine forces. In turn, Russia may stop import of Turkish commodities and discontinue entry of Russian tourists in Turkey.

Note that Moscow has not yet imposed economic sanctions. The Russian fleet is stronger than the Russian one in the Black Sea. Should Ankara close straits, Russian ships would have to sail via the Atlantic; so Moscow will not swallow an insult and start combat operations in the Black Sea. For this reason Turkey cannot wage war with Russia without military aid from the NATO and the United States. Note that Erdogan has troubled relations with the organizations mentioned above.

The essential point to remember is that Erdogan is torpedoing West’s initiatives; he backed the murder of the Iranian general Suleymani, Aleppo’s executioner. This factor complicates relations between Turkey and the western world. As a matter of fact, Erdogan is reluctant to become a dutiful son of the West and thus compensate for the military aid. In fact, Erdogan feels more comfortable with Putin than with the West.

One must bear in mind that Erdogan finds himself in the hot seat: unwilling to leave Syria for no special reason while the war costs too much on all occasions. It is not surprising that he decided on Putin’s territory.

- What is Moscow aiming at under current circumstance?

- It is worth pointing out that Putin failed to attain his prime objective: the Turkish army has remained in Syria while the creeping aggression is still underway. Putin insists on maintaining a status quo for the Syrian government. There is no good for Turks in the Moscow arrangement. The thing is that some territories fall under joint Turkish-Russian control, specifically a road between Aleppo and Damascus. Erdogan failed to get well-documented commitments from the Russian and Syrian parties, just the ceasefire regime. A closer look at the preamble reveals that no struggle against terrorism can be justified if safety of civilians is under threat. How it worked repeatedly, Russia has captured territories to thus curtail Turkey’s influence area, i.e. Ankara failed to attain its goals, so that was an agreement of provisional truce.

It is worth remembering that in terms of contacts between armed forces with different national interests the agreements of this sort are not abided by. So a new confrontation between the competing parties is inevitable. Added to this can be that Turkey has no reliable allies, brother Putin may quickly turn into enemy Putin.

Of interest are Putin and Erdogan’s personal dissatisfaction with the outcome of negotiations. Suffice it to say that Putin failed to make Turkey withdraw its troops from Syria: recently Putin’s press-secretary Peskov stressed illegality of Turkish troops in Syria. At the same time, he turned on Iran as saying that all forces but Russians had been invited by Asad.

- Is Turkey minded to seize the Syrian territory?

- It should be noted that the Erdogan’s policy of Neo-Ottomanism does not provide for seizure of foreign territories. In so saying, the Turkish President is meant to say that neighboring countries must be headed by governments loyal to Turkey. In fact, Turkey is not going to expand geographically.

 

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İran Prezidentinin həlak olduğu hadisə Azərbaycan- İran münasibətlərinə təsir edə bilərmi? – Nəsimi Məmmədli Çətin sualda



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