Turkish President Erdogan offered to act as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine in connection with the current situation in Ukraine
In this case, it is not difficult to see the continuation of Ankara’s already familiar line of probing for the possibility of expanding its influence on the territory of the republics of the former USSR.
Turkey has already actively got involved in the Transcaucasus, developing military-political and economic cooperation with Azerbaijan, which ensured the latter victory over Armenia in the last Karabakh war, although Russia prevented Turkey from taking the role of mediator between Yerevan and Baku, leaving the role of the Transcaucasian arbiter for itself.
Turkey is actively pursuing a strategy to expand its influence in Central Asia, especially in Kyrgyzstan, where it wants, relying on the concept of Great Turan, to act as an informal leader for local Muslims, promoting its economic interests and probing for opportunities for military-technical cooperation (which Russia and China).
With regard to the Ukrainian direction, Turkey acts in a similar vein, officially not recognizing Crimea, but latently exaggerating the idea of readiness to recognize Crimea as Russian in exchange for Russia’s recognition of Northern Cyprus as Turkish. Turkey supplies arms to Ukraine, and in every possible way exaggerates the theme of “oppression of the Crimean Tatars” in Crimea, whose patron Ankara is trying to present itself, although most of the Crimean Tatars both lived and live in Crimea.
But at the same time, Turkey is quite intensively doing business with Russia, concluding various deals related to Syria and Libya, quietly buying coal from the DPR and LPR, and Turkish ships enter the Crimean ports. Threats to “close the Bosphorus” to Russian warships also remained empty threats.
In general, Erdogan is in fact pursuing a policy of “both yours and ours”, trying to play on various contradictions in the interests of increasing Turkey’s influence in this area and trying to grope the limits of what is possible in order to grope and fill the geostrategic voids that are formed as a result of the transformation of the existing world order.
As Turkish policy has shown since 2016, Erdogan has long understood that the old world order is crumbling and the old spheres of influence are not immutable. Therefore, by force, economy and diplomacy, it is necessary to take everything that is bad where it is possible. So he acts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Azerbaijan, Somalia, in the Mediterranean Sea. This is how he tries to act in Ukraine, in Afghanistan, in Kyrgyzstan.
The world is changing rapidly, and in the muddy waters of ongoing changes, due to strength and arrogance, it is possible to significantly change the role of Turkey in world affairs, even if it is associated with an adventurous policy, which is very risky for Turkey itself. And in the Ukrainian direction, Turkey is acting in the same way, trying to sell itself as an intermediary, which will sharply increase its influence on Ukraine and at the same time constrain the possibilities of Russia.
Moreover, “they don’t beat for demand” and Turkey does not risk anything especially, throwing in such a proposal, which, of course, is poured with the sauce of “the struggle for world peace”.
Russia, naturally, will respond with a refusal to such proposals, since the strengthening of Turkey’s influence in this direction is not at all interesting for Russia. Moreover, Turkey is absent both in the Minsk and Normandy formats. And in conditions when Ukraine in every possible way distances itself from Minsk-2, any format with Erdogan will only be the replacement for Minsk-2, which is being promoted by Zelensky and his American owners. Therefore, the format with Erdogan is, of course, more profitable for Kiev than for Moscow. Therefore, it will not be implemented.
At the same time, it is worth remembering that the United States as a whole is also not interested in strengthening the influence of Turkey, relations with which Washington is now very cool. Erdogan, for example, was not even invited to the “summit for democracy”, although Turkey is a NATO member and is still listed as a US ally. In the American media, Erdogan is regularly declared a dictator and a tyrant who is “no better than Putin, Lukashenko and Xi Jinping.” Therefore, for the United States, Turkey’s attempts are more an optional tactical opportunity than a willingness to sacrifice its sphere of influence.
At one time, Washington harshly cut off the opportunity for Germany and France to influence the policy of the Kiev regime, while retaining the directive possibilities of ruling Kiev exclusively for itself. Of course, the United States does not intend to share these opportunities with Ankara. But the United States may well try to use Turkish ambitions to create additional problems for Russia.
In addition, the Russian Federation is not interested in direct negotiations with Zelensky, since Moscow’s official position is that Russia is not a party to the conflict in Donbass, and Ukraine should discuss the ongoing war with the DPR and LPR, that is, Zelensky should not communicate with Putin, and with Pushilin and Pasechnik, and Russia, if it conducts substantive negotiations in Ukraine, will conduct them either with the United States, or with Germany and France (and then, if and it will make sense to discuss anything with them at all).
The times of illusions about the negotiability of the West as a whole are over – as practice has shown, the West interprets any, even the slightest, concessions exclusively as a weakness and a reason to seek new concessions. Therefore, the Kremlin’s position on this issue has not changed for a long time, since there is simply no reason to change it.
Of course, when Erdogan proposes to mediate in direct negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, he attacks this principle, offering de facto Russia to recognize that it is a participant in the war in Ukraine and to equalize itself with Ukraine. Although in reality the United States (by the hands of the Kiev regime) and Russia (by the hands of the DPR and LPR) are waging a hybrid struggle for control over the territory of Ukraine, within the framework of the Cold War between the United States and the Russian Federation. And Erdogan in this scheme is simply trying to fish in troubled waters, trying to benefit from both sides of the conflict and increase the influence of Turkey. And he will certainly do this further, regardless of what deals he makes with Russia and whatever the current level of Turkey’s relations with the United States and the European Union.
Regarding Turkey, it is worth remembering that it is a subject player with its own interests, which is not an ally of Russia, so it would be strange to expect some kind of friendly policy from Turkey. Erdogan is not an ally, but a companion of Russia in some issues, while in some theaters of operations he can also act as an enemy (you can recall Libya, where Russian aircraft supplied to Haftar destroyed Turkish air defense missile systems and electronic warfare systems, and Turkish UAVs fought against Russian “Shells” supplied by the UAE”).
Relations between the Russian Federation and Turkey are rather characterized by the principle of “nothing personal, only business.” Where it is beneficial to both parties, they can and will cooperate, where cooperation is not profitable, they will compete, but without crossing certain boundaries, since Moscow and Ankara understand that in a rapidly changing world, the benefits of cooperation for the current moment outweigh problematic moments.
Therefore, all the conflict situations that have existed and are, are so far flirting, and cooperation at different levels continues, even if the parties will inflict various injections on each other. As they like to call this format of relations in the United States, “this is responsible cooperation in some areas and responsible competition in others.” They will continue after the rejection of the Turkish offer to act as a mediator in the Ukrainian issue.
Boris Rozhin, Segodnya.Ru