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Monday, February 19, 2018

Russia-Turkey: in favor of whom are friends

Since 2010, when there was the Turkish-Israeli incident with the ship of the so-called flotilla of peace, before the official apology of Prime Minister Netanyahu to Turkey the past three years. Three years it took the parties to officially announce the signing of an agreement on the normalization of relations. Against the background of these six-year ordeal, the process of normalization of Russian-Turkish crisis “of some seven months, started with cosmic speed.

The mere fact of a telephone conversation held on the initiative of the Russian side after months radiationi already read clearly the message of the President Erdogan on June 27, made in the Kremlin as a formal apology to Turkey to Russia. But the result soroepidemiologia conversation surpassed all expectations — even before the press-Secretary Peskov pointed out that the rapid return to the old format of relations should not be expected and the process should be gradual, and literally a day later President Putin has instructed the government to start the process of normalization of trade and economic relations in General, including tourism. For plans to unfreeze Turkish direction does not become a hindrance even produced on the eve of the terrorist attack at Istanbul airport, which claimed the lives of over 40 people and became one of the largest in world history.

Let me remind you that the cancellation of Charter communications and a ban on the sale of tours at the end of last year was accompanied by a commentary from the Russian foreign Ministry, that Turkey supports terrorism and travel there for Russian citizens unsafe. Statistics of recent years completely confirmed this: only in the last 12 months the number of dead civilians, of Turks and foreigners in terrorist attacks closer to 250, not to mention the wounded. And if we add the losses among the Turkish military, the number will increase even at times, but on order.

However, the expression “the figures — a stubborn thing” overawed by the assurances Erdogan made during the meeting with Putin that “Turkey will make every effort to ensure the security of Russian citizens”. And, of course, brought before the Turkish side of apology that around it turns out, was exactly what they expected to see the Russian side.

It would be naivete to believe that the wording has not previously been discussed and agreed by the diplomats of both parties. Peskov statement, Turkologist by training, about the lack of philological subtleties in the text is the main proof of that. But it’s the same with all the inevitability raises the question: so it turns out that the President Erdogan, the political creed which “no retreat, no surrender!”, sending to the Russian side clearly reads a letter of apology, made a risky move in the eyes of their constituents in the name of Turkish-Russian friendship? Not at all: everything points to the fact that the Turkish government is not only not going to lose face on the reconciliation with Russia, but also firmly determined to score points.

So what’s the deal here? Need to mention that the search for an answer to this question is not meant to diminish any achievement of the Russian diplomacy, or the step that made the Turkish leadership towards Russia.

For a start, dismiss all doubt, if someone is Russian, and Turkish version of the letter, on the websites of the Kremlin and the administration of the Turkish President, fully correspond to each other. Select a key phrase, and read her words and syllables: “I want to Express my sympathy and deep condolences to the bereaved family of the Russian pilot and say,” sorry. With my heart I share their pain. Family Russian pilot we perceive as a Turkish family. In the name of pain relief and severity of the damage, we are ready for any initiative.”

Let’s start with the first level of analysis: the “who” and “what” the word says “sorry”? The message addressed to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed the first face of the Turkish Republic, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in connection with the death of the Russian pilot.

Further, who addressed an apology? The family of the deceased pilot, Hero of Russia Oleg Peshkov, and rightly so. Who, if not close, to ask for forgiveness…

But there is a subtlety, which can be illustrated by the example of how in 2013 she apologized, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the deaths of Turkish citizens — participants of the Peace Flotilla: “I Apologize to the Turkish people for every mistake, which led to casualties”.

Here, too, is not without nuances in the construction of sentences, but the fundamental difference is that in one case we are talking about the level of “people” and, it turns out, the “country”. Although the flag under which was the ship was not Turkish, and Comoros. In the case of the Russian plane, whose membership was from the Turkish air force is well known, the letter says only about the personal tragedy of the family of one of the two dead Russian soldiers, which the Turkish President and said, “sorry.”

That is, the Turkish side, addressing his apology to the family of Peshkov, did not return after the incident and repeated by President Putin qualified the incident as “aggression” and “a knife in the back” of Russia, which till 24 Nov 2015 Turkey, despite the differences, was the strategic partnership.

With compensation, the situation is even more uncertain. In the letter, Erdogan mentioned some “initiatives”, while the Prime Minister of Turkey B. Yildirim initially said the willingness to pay, and a day later takes his words back. However, for the Russian side not only the payment itself, but its purpose should be crucial. So, the subject line “payment for /downed airplane” would automatically mean legal recognition by Turkey the fact that the shot of the su-24 was made illegal, in violation of the rules.

As to the third requirement of Russia on the punishment of the perpetrators of the incident, raises doubts about how satisfactory must be the Russian side was taken by the Turks in an effort to appoint “designated scapegoat” for the incident Celik?

If you look deeper, the word, or rather expression that is used in Turkish message to the Russian side, really means “excuse me” and contains a confession of involvement in the incident. But the range of use varies from minimal offenses to crimes of average weight, so to speak, and is more suited for an informal apology ritual nature. But this, of course, the caveat that inevitably dissolves when translated into Russian language.

No less important than the message itself, is what sort of statements were made by the Turkish side in the local media before sending an apology and especially the evening of 27 June, when on the Kremlin website appeared a mark in receiving.

The essence of what he said Turkish leadership, can be reduced to a simple formula: “we are sorry, but not sorry.” If to speak about “after”, then, speaking in his residence “Aksaray” and commenting on the resumption of dialogue with Russia, President Erdogan had used only the word “regret”. “Apology” is completely absent both in his rhetoric and in the design of TV screen images of local news. In addition, although the topic sounded in the evening speech of Erdogan and the last looked like the period at the end of the sentence, but it was clearly lost on the background of a big diplomatic victory of Turkey over Israel, who by coincidence, on the same day finally agreed with all the requirements of the Turkish side — an apology, compensation and lifting of the blockade of the Gaza strip. And Turkey took a bold step in the direction of Russia, which demanded that Turkish President Erdogan as “wisdom” and “personal courage” politics, not afraid of being accused of weakness.

Why do we bother with all this understand, after normalization launched and peoples of the two countries it is time to breathe a sigh of relief?

Yes, and then that burned on su-24, it can not be too overzealous in the fact that, very clearly understanding his neighbor and the motives driving them, thereby to eliminate or at least minimize the likelihood of recurrence of the incident. And the motives of the President of Turkey Erdogan, is a very experienced politician, exceptionally pragmatic properties and are devoid of emotional components.

First, finally collapsed Turkey’s foreign policy “zero problems with neighbors” not so long ago was replaced by a policy of “reducing the number of enemies.” And, as stated, Russia and Israel in the near future should be followed by reconciliation with Egypt and personally with the President of the country General al-Sisi.

Next: Turkey, the blood from his nose, it is necessary to solve the Kurdish problem, which is impossible when the crisis in the yard with Russia and there is no progress in Syria.

And the latter fact lies in the economic sphere: Turkish exports compete with tourism industry of the country, the pace of decline. And the program “RussianAcademy” for the Turks a thing low-realized — in a number of signs of a better customer than Russia, find impossible.

The resolution of all these difficulties must in the end emerge has long been lobbied by President Erdogan, the transition from a parliamentary to a presidential form of government in the country, and this year.

Expressing confidence that the Russian side is perfectly aware how for the ambiguity in Turkish apology, and the motivation that drives the Turkish leadership and personally by President Erdogan. However, however, is on the normalization of relations, obviously pursuing their own agenda, which is not today or tomorrow, one way or another, begin to appear.

And here lies a fundamental question: can our relationship survived the ordeal, by waving a handset at once to return to the level of the old comprehensive strategic partnership and unprecedented trust? Or the cooperation will be based selectively on the principle of “a la carte”, in separate spheres of politics and Economics and on the individual projects, like “Akkuyu” or “Turkish stream”? Despite the euphoria that reigned on both sides of the Black sea after a telephone conversation of the President of the Russian Federation V. Putin and President of the Turkish Republic R. T. Erdogan made statements of comprehensive normalization, I would not jump to any final conclusions on this score, the more fundamental contradiction at Syria and personally by President Bashar al-Assad is still there, where the parties left him after a breakup, 24 Nov 2015…

The aggravation of relations with Turkey. Chronicle of events

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