ALI – Putin and ErdoIan

Putin and ErdoIanIf you look at the headlines and news reports published in the pro-government media and their coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putinand#39s visit to Turkey, you may conclude that Putin has won the heart of Ankara, and that Ankara is enjoying this moment because it has been waiting for such an affectionate approach for a long time.ErdoIanand#39s remark, andldquoBelieve me, they do not like us,andrdquo reflects his mood and view on relations with the West pro-government media reports and comments on Putinand#39s visit actually show that this segment of society and the media are losing their ability to think rationally.

They no longer consider the fact that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is still strong and able to bomb major Syrian cities because of Russian support.Crimean Tatars were not also part of the discussions with Russia Even if such issues were discussed, Putin was able to convince Ankara that he has used every means and tool at hand in Syria and the Caucasus regions to attain peace, just as he did in Crimea and Ukraine.

In any case, Turkey should have a specific policy towards Russia and Iran. This policy does not have to lead to an independent approach and stance from the priorities of the international institutions Turkey is part of, including NATO.

It is not right or ethical to violate the embargoes imposed by NATO upon Russia because of its policy in Ukraine. If, for instance, we have troubles in the Black Sea or the straits with Russia, how will we expect solidarity and support from the West? You are right it is naive to raise such questions to those who are not in expectation of support from those who do not like us.

I am no longer discussing this matterIs it too much to expect a sound Russia analysis based on objective figures and statistics? There is no doubt that Putinand#39s visit to Ankara is a successful move for Moscow because of its timing and goals. Could we say this for Ankara as well?We may argue that Putinand#39s visit in Ankara was successful, because Russia wanted to reach out to new markets of natural gas, oil and uranium Opening up to the Chinese, Indian and Turkish markets is important for Russia because this move would alleviate the impact of embargoes and other economic sanctions.

It is not therefore surprising to see that Putin is pleased with the deepening dependence of Turkey upon Russia energy resources. I am not sure, however, whether or not Ankara is aware that placing all the eggs in the same basket is the right choice for energy supply.

Is it not risky to become more dependent on Russia in the field of nuclear technology as well?In order to make some gains during his visit to Ankara, Putin raised a discussion over the South Stream project, which was already dead. Putin held Bulgaria responsible for the fate of this project, whereas Gazprom head Alexei Miller referred to the EU blockage.

The South Stream project, developed to undermine the NABUCCO project of the EU to reduce the dependence upon Russia, required a huge amount of investment because it had to go through the Black Sea It was costlier than the NABUCCO project.Some EU countries realized at the time that oil and gas prices were high and that the decision was political rather than economic they also supported this idea For instance, because it was calculated that Italy would make $5 billion in revenues out of this project, the country defended the South Stream initiative.

But at this time, when oil and gas prices are quite low, Putin has no money for political projects, and Russian economy is experiencing serious problems as well.Given that oil and natural gas are the main components of the budget revenues, it could be argued that Putinand#39s main focus is not South Stream, but to keep the streets silent and stable in face of social restrictions.

The source of the probable protests is already identified: external actors. It appears that Putin decided to take this step because he saw that burying the South Stream in Ankara would make ErdoIan happy.

In addition, he was able to send a message to NATO and the EU from Ankara, saying this is how far your cooperation can go.So, where does Ankara stand? Are we no longer a NATO member and EU candidate country? Obviously, the European press is not discussing similarities between Putin and ErdoIan just for the sake of conversation.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman