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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

“Provoking” Putin to meet Erdogan only worsens the situation

Erdogan wants to meet with Vladimir Putin is still hoping that he will be able to restore both their personal and Russian-Turkish relations collapsed with the downed Turkish November 24, su-24. However, the pretext for the meeting, set to Turkish President – new accusations against Russia of violating the airspace of Turkey shows that Ankara is still not ready for serious steps to restore relations.

Russian-Turkish quarrel is already more than two months – and the steps to settle can take only Ankara. Moscow clearly explained terms, after which relations can be normalized – apology for the destruction of the su-24, punishment and compensation.

“Erdogan is very clumsily trying to fix the damage on 24 November was caused to his relationship with Putin”

Nothing that was not done – apparently, Erdogan and the whole Turkish leadership come from the hope that the conflict somehow by itself will be fine. The constant assurances of a desire to maintain good relations with Russia combined with the statement that the destruction of the aircraft was completely legitimate, and nothing to apologize for. In Turkey Erdogan sympathetic experts and the media constantly repeated that “Russia cannot lose Turkey and therefore, after some time, she will go to the restoration of relations.”

But time passes, and no signs that Russia is ready to “forget and forgive” does not appear – and if for us it is quite natural, that the Turks seem to guess that is much more serious than they thought. If Turkey finally realize that relations between the two countries spoiled the long haul, it will be a very unpleasant addition to the already accumulated questions to Erdogan. The stalemate in Turkish policy towards the war in Syria, the aggravation of the Kurdish issue, including Turkey, is already becoming a regular terrorist attacks, millions of refugees – all this is extremely painful for the Turkish President’s themes. The break with Russia at the same time hurts the Turkish economy, and Turkish geopolitical interests, especially in the Syrian conflict.

The start of negotiations on Syria at Geneva was a clear signal to Erdogan tried to restore contacts with Putin. But he did it so that, as they say, it would be better not trying.

On Friday, the Ankara accused Moscow of violating Turkish air space – the alleged Russian su-34 for 20 seconds, flown to Turkey. The foreign Ministry summoned the Russian Ambassador, and later a statement on this subject was made by Erdogan himself. The President said that “if such violations to the sovereignty of Turkey, continues, Russia will have to bear the responsibility for consequences”, and “because violation of airspace is also NATO airspace, the Alliance is also watching the situation.” These irresponsible actions are to the detriment of the Russian Federation, its relations with NATO, regional and global peace, Erdogan said. The US and NATO quickly confirmed Turkish charges, while the NATO Secretary General, saying that “Russia must take all necessary measures to prevent new violations”, urged “to remain calm and de-escalation.

Moscow categorically rejected all claims – our planes did not violate Turkish airspace and had not received any warnings from Turkish pilots. In response, our military has published received from Damascus video, which depicted the fact of shelling Syria from Turkish territory.

But the story of the “violation” was in need of Ankara is not only in order to show their community determination to protect national sovereignty, or to show the Americans his Atlantic solidarity (particularly appropriate after the United States agreed with the Turkish demands not to invite Syrian Kurds to Geneva). These are all important, but in this case side goal. A key motive was, it seems, the desire of Erdogan to make peace with Russia.

Because after all the accusations, the Turkish President said that he had asked the foreign Ministry to request a meeting with Putin: “I said to discuss with the Russian side and said that I want to personally meet with Mr Putin. Our Ambassador in Moscow reported that the request was communicated (the Kremlin), but the answer from there up to the present time has not yet arrived”. On Monday, the press Secretary of the Russian President said that “Vladimir Putin was informed about the desire of President Erdogan”.

We, in Russia, it is clear that there is no meet – but the Turkish President based on their view of reality. Which is exactly what you need to do business with Russians, threaten them clash with NATO, and then to call for the meeting. Erdogan can not go on the implementation of Putin’s ultimatum – apology, punishment and compensation – and wants to raise rates, hoping that if at stake will be a full-scale conflict with Russia, Turkey, and even with all of NATO (like trying to apply the situation of the Turks), the Kremlin will negotiate, closing his eyes to the failure of Ankara earlier announced by Putin demands.

For more convincing Ankara announced for the air force elevated to “orange” level of anxiety, allowing the pilots to open fire on violators in its sole discretion, without consultation with the authorities. It is clear that if Erdogan decides on the destruction of another Russian plane, it will lead at least to the Russian-Turkish military clash in the air.

But this is assuming that Erdogan has such plans – however, the game of war with Russia on the Turkish-Syrian border is so dangerous that it is difficult to imagine that Ankara is seriously counting on a bloodless for themselves a repetition of the events of November 24. Therefore, most likely, this incident, Erdogan needs only to arrange a meeting with Putin – as strange as that may seem in our, Russian, view.

Unfortunately, the Turkish President continues to make the same mistakes, and November 24. Then he realized that the destruction of the Russian plane will be perceived by Putin as a stab in the back – now he does not understand that the method of bargaining and blackmail is not just meaningless, but only further harm Turkish-Russian relations.

After all, the events of November 24 Russia angered not only does not motivated attack on the su-24, but further steps Ankara – when instead of attempting explanation, the Turkish authorities appealed for help to NATO, that is, back to the provocation of General Atlantic solidarity. Russia in any case would not cause retaliation against Turkish planes not to aggravate, and so the difficult conditions in which we have to lead the Syrian campaign – but the behavior of Ankara revealed the duplicity of the game of Erdogan. Putin is not only not going to ignore Turkish interests in Syria and the Kurdish issue in General), but was willing to negotiate with Erdogan at all, as I said the Russian President himself, “sensitive” Turkey issues Turkish President knew it. But he tried to increase the weight of their country in the Syrian and Kurdish issue at the expense of Russia – staging provocations, which, according to his calculations, both Moscow and Washington had become more attentive to Ankara and to go to great concessions to Syria and the Kurds. But as a result of the events of November 24 Turkey lost Russia – and significantly worsened their ability to influence the running around its borders the war and postwar settlement. But the personal relations between Erdogan and Putin was irreparably damaged.

The only chance for a quick fix of the situation was the fulfillment of the conditions Putin – at least a partial and gradual. Even a slow, careful movement of Erdogan in this direction would be perceived in Moscow with the understanding, but instead, Ankara has tried to confuse everyone in his testimony, agreeing, for example, to the point that I just didn’t know whose plane was shot down. It was noticeable that when Russia announced the actual freezing of relations between the two countries, and then about the sanctions, the Turkish authorities really do not understand what is happening, why their plan didn’t work.

They really didn’t want complications and especially of the relationship, and when it happened, had no plan of action. To accept the Russian terms, Erdogan is not wanted and, as a result of misunderstanding the Russian position and personality of Putin, began to proceed from the fact that for a long time the conflict will not last and Russia itself will go to reconciliation. While the Turkish government all of two months has continued to make statements about their willingness to restore the relationship, the desire to resume contacts at the highest level – but, of course, did not agree to any reconciliation without resolving the history of 24 Nov.

It would seem that it could encourage Erdogan to realize the fact that without apology Putin will not meet with him – but, on the contrary, as we see the events of the last days, that gave him the idea to try to put pressure on Russia in order to achieve the desired meeting. There is no doubt that it was the beginning of the Syrian talks in Geneva was for Ankara disturbing reminder of the urgent need of reconciliation with Moscow because without Russia, and especially in dealing with Russia, Turkey will be extremely difficult to defend its national interests in the Syrian-khilafat-Iraqi settlement.

It is hoped that the failure of this attempt to “provoke to reconciliation” return of the Turkish President to the hard but fair reality Putin does not negotiate with those whom they consider traitors. Although the head of a neighboring and friendly as a matter of state, he, of course, will be forced to make an exception – but only after the Turkish authorities recognize his actions on 24 November, at least erroneous.

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