Turkey switching on NATO tap from Islamist tap: Russia and Ukraine
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The only certainty of regional events under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is that “a leopard never changes its spots.” Hence, with the Russian Federation recognizing the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, Erdogan is taking sides against the Russian Federation.
NATO Turkey, after many decades, is still not forced to leave Northern Cyprus after this nation cleansed Orthodox Christians. In recent times, Erdogan supported Sunni Islamist terrorists and mercenaries against Syria – while sending Islamists to Libya and to fight against Christians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Thus, with Turkey also having its armed forces in Northern Syria against the wishes of the government of this nation – while bombing the Kurds in Northern Iraq when it suits – it highlights the hypocrisy of NATO nations who utilize “international law” when it suits.
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation reached out to Turkey in recent years. However, similar to events in Nagorno-Karabakh where Turkey openly sided with Azerbaijan, Turkey is also selling drones and other military hardware to Ukraine that might lead to the deaths of Russians at such a critical stage in relations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
Voice of America reports, “Turkey has strongly backed Ukraine, even selling Kyiv its latest military drones despite protests from Moscow. Last October, a Kremlin spokesman warned that Turkey’s ongoing arms sales to Ukraine threaten to destabilize the region.”
Erdogan decried the Russian Federation by stating events in Ukraine are “unacceptable.” This concerns the Russian Federation recognizing the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. This stance is similar to Turkey’s stance concerning Crimea.
Erdogan said, “We consider the decision unacceptable. We invite the parties concerned to act with common sense and comply with the international law.”
Hürriyet Daily News reports, “Erdoğan recalled that the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the Russian move which stressed that recognizing these regions were in violation of the Minsk Agreement and blatant breach of Ukraine’s political unity and territorial integrity.”
The economy of Turkey remains fragile. Hence, economic linkages to the Russian Federation – from energy to tourism – are important. However, Erdogan estranged internal economic policies mean his foreign policy projects often come first. Thus, while Turkey needs a more nuanced approach to the Russian Federation and Ukraine crisis, Erdogan isn’t known for consistency. Therefore, the “Islamist tap,” “nationalist tap,” and “NATO tap” are switched on and off with regularity.
In 2019, President Emmanuel Macron of France said, “When I look at Turkey they are fighting against those who fought with us shoulder to shoulder against ISIS (Islamic State) and sometimes they work with ISIS proxies.”
Macron continued, “I think any ambiguity with Turkey vis-a-vis these groups is detrimental to everybody for the situation on the ground.”
The Russian Federation should strengthen its hands throughout the entire Caucasus region. Hence, the Russian Federation should seek to curtail the activities of Turkey in Azerbaijan concerning the military angle aimed at Nagorno-Karabakh (mainly Armenian Christian area). Armenia also needs advanced drones, its armed forces to be retrained, and weapons to be upgraded. Otherwise, NATO Turkey will exploit any religious or nationalist angle it can – from Chechen Islamists in the past to recent events in Azerbaijan during the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Erdogan is now seeking to rebuild ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. However, can Gulf Powers trust Erdogan given his support of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the region?
The Russian Federation can’t afford “fair-weather friends” who will stab you in the back at the drop of a hat.
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