Turkey’s President Recep Tayip Erdogan offered to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. The senior Ria Novosti commentator Petr Akopov poured water on the idea. Ukraine has become a Western puppet and since Turkey is still a NATO member, Ankara cannot be regarded as an even-handed mediator. In words ominous for Ukraine, Akopov emphasized that Ukraine’s independence is accidental and Kiev is part of the “Russian world”. Ukraine’s existence is ephemeral, and does not resemble Turkey and Russia’s long-lasting proximity to each other. Turkey has no business projecting itself into the dispute between Russia and Ukraine in the same way that Russia would never think of injecting itself into the Kurdish question.
“Turkey is ready to act as an intermediary between Russia and Ukraine. The Turkish President announced this upon his return from a visit to Turkmenistan. Recep Erdogan says he wants peace in the region:
“‘Our position on the tension between Ukraine and Russia is known. We favor the supremacy of peace in the region, and first of all, taking into account the Crimean Turks issue. We have discussed and are discussing such issues many times with friendly Russia, especially with Mr. Putin. We do not want this region to become a region where war prevails. Let this region move into the future as a region in which peace reigns. We want this topic to develop in a positive direction. For this we are ready to both mediate and discuss this issue with the parties We would like to be part of the solution to this issue, developing a dialogue both with Ukraine and with Mr Putin.'”
“Good offer? No – and in ‘friendly Russia’ it will arouse only the most negative reaction.
“Yes, Russia also wants the Black Sea region ( and this is precisely what Erdogan had in mind) to be peaceful. This is in the interest of all its countries of which Russia and Turkey are not only the largest, but also the most important. Although Turkey is a NATO member, its relations with Russia under Erdogan and Putin have become much more serious and close – but there are other forces in the region. The external ones are Atlanticists, that is, the very NATO, of which Turkey is also a member. Yes, Erdogan often pursues an independent policy – but in Russia they remember how in November 2015, after downing our Su-24, they began calling from Ankara to Brussels, to NATO headquarters. Russia is ready to strengthen its relations with Turkey, to build strategic plans, but at the same time we must consider its membership in an alliance that is openly hostile to us.
“It is hostile primarily because of its plans for Ukraine – a part of the Russian world that accidentally became independent and fell under the West’s influence. Attempts not only to consolidate the status of “Ukraine is not Russia”, but also to make it anti-Russia, to include it in its [the West’s] geopolitical space, are absolutely unacceptable for Russia. No compromise exists nor can exist on this topic with the Atlanticists – Moscow will never abandon the course of Ukraine’s return to friendly, allied relations, to the geopolitical and historical unity of one big nation. Does Turkey want to be a mediator in this process?
“But here we have need of mediators – the best help would be to renounce interference in Russian-Ukrainian affairs, and especially renunciation of political and military support for Kiev. For example, the delivery of Bayraktars [UAVs]. Russia does not demand that Ankara terminate its dialogue with Kiev, or abandon the development of relations – however, it is essential for us that Erdogan realize who he is dealing with in Kiev, understands whose game he is helping by abetting the Ukraine project.
“Or are they unaware in Ankara that Moscow does not consider the Ukrainian authorities an independent entity, are they unaware that the Russian authorities treat Kiev as Western puppets?
“It is clear that Turkey has global ambitions – and this is actually good for Russia as well , because such plans are only possible for a strong and independent player. Russia does not dispute the existence of the Turkic world as a historical and cultural community. Moreover, our country is somewhat a portion of it itself, because many peoples living in our country are of Turkic origin. But Russia has a Russian world and geopolitical interests in the Eurasian space – and the alignment and coordination of Russian and Turkic interests seems to be the most important task for both states.
“Because pitting the Russians and the Turks, Russia and Turkey against each other is one of the main goals of both our states’ geopolitical opponents, and here the weak link is not Russia, but Turkey. We understand the importance of Turkey and are ready to consider its interests, expecting precisely the same approach from the Turks. Is Turkey ready to reckon with Russian interests? As a rule, yes, and even where it is quite painful for her – as in Syria. Sometimes Ankara tries to probe the boundaries of a compromise – as, for example, it was with the idea of the presence of Turkish peacekeepers in Karabakh. The Turks did not appear in Karabakh – because it was unprofitable for Russia and did not suit our interests in the region.
“Turkey and Russia have many overlapping interests, but this does not mean that our relations cannot be sustainably close and strategic in nature. All that is needed for this is complete independence of the parties, a conscious choice in favor of cooperation and interaction and a readiness to search for compromise solutions on controversial issues. If all this happens, then no one will be able to prevent us from ensuring that future Russian-Turkish ties will strengthen both sides.
“And Erdogan’s proposal, for all his peace lovingness, is comparable to Moscow offering Ankara to become a mediator in its relations with the Kurds. But these are completely different things – the majority of Kurds live in Turkey and are its citizens. However, not all Kurds think so, some favor an independent Kurdistan in the lands of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. And Ankara itself calls them terrorists and fights them all the way. Russia does not intend to play, or even touch the Kurdish card in its relations with Turkey (the problem of the Syrian Kurds has nothing to do with this). And it would be most proper for Ankara to treat the dispute between the Slavs in the same way. Because the Ukrainian problem is not eternal – unlike the adjacency of Russia and Turkey.”