Statement of European Union Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell: The Old Empires Are Coming Back

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep
Borrell Frontelles made a speech at the European Parliament on 15 September. The EU’s

Foreign affairs chief, Mr.Borrell made a statement concerning the Eastern Mediterranean and
Turkey’s foreign relations at the meeting of the European Parliament. In his speech, he said,
“The old empires are coming back. Three of them are Russia, China and Turkey. These are
the great empires of the past. And Turkey is one of these elements. This situation offers a new
environment for us … ”
In recent months, Turkey has increased oil and gas exploration activities in the Aegean-
Eastern Mediterranean. This case has led to strong reactions especially  from Greece and
Cyprus. EU foreign affairs chief, Borrell, reported that Turkey has been attempting to revive
the empire considering Turkey’s policy towards Libya and Syria.
Mr. Josep Borrell’s other relevant remarks regarding Turkey are as follows: “Turkey is an
important neighbor for EU. We can’t change the geography and Turkey will continue to be
partners on many important issues, including immigration. For example, we know that
immigration flow is difficult without the help of Turkey. However, Turkey’s actions create a
question mark for the future of our relations and the urgent need to find answers to these
questions.”

This article is written by Hülya Yıldırım

Visits: 1211

How is Davutoglu’s Strategic Depth viewed from the perspective of Turkic and Non-Turkic countries in the Caspian Region?

After the Kemalist revolution of 1923, Turkey started to pursue Western modernism with stabile and
isolationist policy from their East neighbors and with the rejection of Ottoman culture. However,
defensive and isolationist Western policy changed by Turgut Özal’s neo-Ottomanism approach.
Demirel’s argument of the Turkish world from the Adriatic to the Chinese Wall in the 1990s was significant to
the Caspian region (Efegil, 2008, p.167). This paper argues that despite Davutoglu’s “strategic depth” has
good intentions, this doctrine is mostly failed against Turkic and non-Turkic countries in the realities and
complexities of the Caspian region. This paper will first explain the strategic depth doctrine and will
afterward apply and assess this doctrine to Turkic and non-Turkic countries.
Turkey is a regional power in strategic depth. In this doctrine, Davutoglu utilizes Machiavellian classical
realism with stressing the importance of geography, history, culture and considers economic, and
military as potential powers. Thus, Davutoglu sees Turkey as a central country that possesses
a geographical and historical leadership role to its neighbors which is compatible with the definition of
regional power theory. Turkey uses soft power like economic interdependence, cultural platforms and
cooperative security as theoretical frameworks of regional power. Additionally, Turkey influences the
Caspian region and is therefore recognized by other states with its soft power. (Kardaş, 2010, p.124).
Strategic depth considers Turkey as a hinterland that emerges from the Ottoman Empire (Özkan, 2014,
p.119), whereas Turkey needs to remove its isolationist policies by multiple alliances to counterbalance
EU. According to Davutoglu, Turkey can’t reach the Caspian Sea and therefore Turkey needs to have
sea strategy for controlling other sea routes that are connected to the Caspian Sea (Aktoprak, 2003,
p.176). Hence, Turkey needs to collaborate with Russia and Iran (Davutoglu, 2001, p. 32). In this way
Turkey will increase its area of maneuver without aligning either with West or East. Given that Turkey
can utilize its unique historical, cultural and bridge role of connecting East and West characteristics, are
what makes Turkey special in strategic depth.
Particularly, strategic depth is the depth of geography which considers Turkey as a continental basin
under the capacity of being a Middle Eastern, Caucasian, Western and Mediterranean country, which
furthermore derives from Ottoman legacy rule to three continents and its historical depth of multiple
cultures in these continents. Davutoglu provides the elements of multidimensional, proactive, and
rhythmic diplomacy, zero problems with neighbors, pragmatism and mediation as characteristics of
Turkey’s new policy. Hence, Turkey pursues an integrated regional policy since it has multiple regional
identities.

Additionally, Turkey considers the all-inclusive policy of taking NGOs and every state into cooperation
(Aras, 2009, p. 133), while its global role is shifted from Western military deterrent and peripheral
country to the central country. Hence, Turkey’s secular democracy can bring stability and peace to the
Caspian states. The latter gains more attention since the strategic depth represents both neo- Ottomanism
and Eurasianism with Islamic conservatism without Turkish ethnic domination but rather cooperation
(Tüysüzoğlu, 2014, p.99).
Russia is the biggest test for the strategic depth doctrine. Turkey removed its skepticism towards Russia
and shifted its relations from an enemy state to an economical ally state after 1990 with increasing
economic relations during the Putin era. Davutoglu argues that Turkey needs to implement a strategy of
close cooperation with Turkic states against Russia’s unilateralism in the Caspian Sea. Turkey’s new
multidimensional and inclusive policy allows Turkey to remain neutral between Russia and the West while
increasing its economic relations with Russia. Turkey pursued a multilateral diplomacy policy in the
Russian-Georgian crisis of 2008 in order to balance Russian unilateralism with the Caucasian
Cooperation and Stability Platform which consists of Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey
without external powers (Aras, 2009, p. 136). This platform is created because of the failure of Minsk
group and was the only solution for Turkey to provide peace and stability, since Turkey’s political
actions are restricted because of its economic dependency on Russia. Therefore, Georgia is crucial for
Turkey to decrease the Russian dependency, and in the same way it is an ally for Turkey since they both
support Western democracy. Turkey considers Georgia geographically important since the main routes
of BTC and BTE pipeline routes pass through Georgia because of the ethnic and historical conflicts with
Armenia. Consequently, Turkey seeks to solve Georgian crisis by CSCP for to be energy hub between
Caspian and West.
However, the CSCP platform is unsuccessful for the following reasons; Firstly, because of the
asymmetrical dependence and secondly because of Turkey’s non inclusive approach for not taking EU,
US even Iran to cooperate was accredited as a big mistake (Jackson, 2011, p.88). Hence, this crisis
demonstrates that strategic depth failed in the real complex of the Caspian politics. Turkey could gain geopolitical advantage neither from the US nor from Russia because of this policy. This crisis was
difficult for Turkey since it needs to make a binary choice between Russia and the US and similarly
between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Karabakh. Turkey restricted the passing of US military ships in
straits in accordance to the Montreux agreement during this crisis. Consequently, Turkey used its soft
power with providing only humanitarian aid to Georgia and having a mediation role between Russia and
Georgia. This crisis occurred to prevent NATO’s military expansion in Georgia, whereas Russia
legitimized these actions in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Moreover, Turkey recognizes the Russian dominance with including Russia in every cooperation, which
is compatible with the strategic depth doctrine. From this doctrine, Russia is naturally allied to
counterbalance EU and with also converging interest to fight against radical Islamism (Walker, 2007,
p.41).
Besides, apart from the energy disputes, e.g. the BTC and BTE pipelines, Turkey balances this with the
Blue Stream pipeline. (Davutoglu, 2008, p.91). Russia is critical for Turkey to illustrate to the Turkic
states that Turkey cooperates with a common share of identity and interest rather than Pan-Turkism or
imperial desires. The great game of transferring energy sources of Caspian to Europe can create
conflicts among Russia and Turkey (Çaman, Akyurt, 2011, p.55). Turkey’s economic dependency on
Russia is an obstacle for the implementation of the strategic depth, and is therefore suggested that
Turkey can decrease this dependency through Iran and Turkmenistan and not only with Azerbaijan. This
dependency restricts Turkey’s political freedom in the Russian-Georgian crisis. Given that Turkey should
not allow Russia to impose dominance on Turkic countries, only the realistic policies of strategic
partnerships with Turkic countries, render this possible rather than adopting a “big brother” behavior.
Turkey’s biggest disadvantage is Russia’s historical political and cultural assimilation process on Turkic
states during the Soviet Union, which clarifies that both sides need to be cautious on ethnic issues like
Chechen and Kurdish people. According to Davutoglu, Turkey should not leave the mediation role to
Russia in Karabakh. Gradually, after 1990, Russia was successful in terms of filling the vacuum of
geopolitics in the Caspian rather than Turkey. This could be interpreted because of Turkey’s lack of
domestic economic and political stability, which illustrates that the strategic depth lost against Russia.
The triangle of Azerbaijan-Armenia and Turkey is a deadlocked process. Unfortunately, the strategic depth
of Turkey in this triangle is also unsuccessful. Azerbaijan is the closest ally and strategic partner for
Turkey, and although the Karabakh issue threatens Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, it remains unsolved
despite Turkey’s and Russia’s mediations. Davutoglu argues that Turkey needs to have an energy strategy
and partnership with Azerbaijan without allowing the creation of an alliance among Russia, Iran and
Armenia against Turkey (Davutoglu, 2001, p.24). Although this energy strategy is compatible with the
strategic depth policy, however, this did not happen in the realities of Caspian. Davutoglu in his strategic
depth analysis rejects Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations ideology however the Karabakh
issue between Azeri and Armenian people is a clash of civilization (Murinson, 2006, p.949). Strategic
depth respects multiculturalism but real politics prevent this. The normalization process and diplomatic
talks with Turkey and Armenia in 2009 was a huge development. This normalization policy is convenient
with the strategic depth for the following three reasons; firstly, it will attribute a mediation opportunity to Ankara; Secondly, it will enhance Ankara’s regional role and finally, it will render possible the
Nabucco pipeline operation. If Turkey manages to have good relation with Armenia without losing
Azerbaijan, then Russia will lose its control on pipelines. However, this protocol was not put into
practice because of the Karabakh issue. Turkey’s normalization process also damaged its closest ally,
Azerbaijan. Consequently, it is obvious that the Karabakh conflict creates a huge dilemma in this
triangle, in which Armenia prefers to be allied with Russia and Iran (Aras, 2009, p.4). Armenian
arguments of the 1915 genocide, which is a major problem for Turkey, since the genocide accusations,
renders unsuccessful the strategic depth, especially due to the Armenian historical conflict with Ottoman
and pan Turkism in the Caspian (Jackson, 2011, p.83). Hence, Turkey needs to use its economic
interdependence card against Armenia to incentive them to cooperate on energy pipelines mainly
because Armenia’s economy totally deteriorated after the bombardment of Georgian ports by
Russia in 2008, which undoubtedly resulted in the loss of Armenia’s economic partner, Georgia. The
football diplomacy among Turkey and Armenia is also unsuccessful due to the nationalist domestic
pressures of both sides, the genocide arguments, the diaspora of Armenians and the Karabakh issue.
Although Turkey was one of the first states that recognized Armenia’s independence and invited the
latter as a founding member of the Black Sea Cooperation, this triangle illustrates that strategic depth is
not succeeding due to deep historical and ideational conflicts, which prevent any peace progress and
cause zero-sum policies (Aras, Akpınar, 2011, p.61). Azerbaijan is therefore the last ally for Turkey to
be the energy hub, with also the help of Georgia.
Turkey has to acknowledge that all post-Soviet Turkic countries do not want to be dependent on any
single power and do not seek any country for a role model (Walker, 2007, p.43). Although Western
powers consider and hope Turkey to be a role model in this region, in order to remove Iran’s dangerous
radical Islamism and Russia’s geopolitical desires, Turkey was unsuccessful in this role. The Turkish
public opinion is sensitive towards the Turkic countries since they consider them as “fatherland of
ethnic Turks”. However, Turkic populations do not consider themselves as Turkish, thus this is a crucial
common misunderstanding. Hence, Turkey needs to perceive Turkic countries as they are. TIKA is
founded for giving aid to Turkic countries (Çaman, Akyurt, 2011, p.47). This is the soft power of
Turkey in the areas of economics, culture, language, history in line with the strategic depth
understanding. Turkey facilitates the ground for increasing their voice in international institutions with
its “door opening and right advocating” role. In parallel, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO),
Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Turkic Council are organizations that consist of
Turkey and Turkic states. Turkey and Kazakhstan have joint economic Commission and High Level
Strategic Cooperation Council and achieved agreement on security and terrorism. However, since there are disagreements among Turkic states, Turkey only achieved bilateral cooperation instead of multilateral relationships. Therefore, Turkey needs to have realistic and pragmatic policies towards these states instead of unfounded expectations and speeches. Turkey’s lack of economic success and political instability allowed Russia to fill this geostrategic role, which resulted in the defeat of both Turkey and Iran against Russia in terms of controlling the Turkic states. Turkey has to recognize the dominance of
Iran and Russia and needs to cooperate with them in order to increase its influence.
Moreover, the establishment of the Turkic Council is a huge achievement for Turkey which it can
increase this kind of soft power for the implementation of realistic goals. According to Aras, Turkey
fails to sufficiently understand international factors and its misperceptions are the reasons for the failure
of Turkish policy in the Caspian. Turkey supports the policy of “One Nation, Two States” towards
Turkic states, and it additionally supports Turkmenistan’s neutral status, regardless of the fact that their
interactions are limited to tourism, culture and official visits. TURKSOY, TDV and TDRA are cultural,
religious and educational organizations in the region (Aras, 2000, p.45), and in the meantime, the high
transfer of students from Caspian to Turkey, is valuable for integration. Therefore, strategic depth is
partially successful to Turkic countries. This success depends mostly on Turkey’s soft power in cultural,
education, historical and language councils to these regions. However, Turkey lost the ground to Russia
in terms of both geopolitical and geo-economical grounds except Azerbaijan.
Concerning Iran, Turkey utilized its strategic depth policy against Iran, thus it supported the Iranian
peaceful nuclear program during the US sanctions (Murinson, 2006, p.960). They agreed on fighting
against the PKK terrorism in Syria. Turkey cooperates with Iran for increasing the bargaining power
against the Russian gas dependency in compliance with the strategic depth, whereas Turkey also
defeated Iranian Islamism in Turkic states. Since Iran has economic restrictions due to sanctions, most
Turkic states prefer to choose the Turkish liberal economy (Goudarzi, Lashaki, Lakani, 2015, p.127).
However, neither Iran nor Turkey could take Russia’s geopolitical role in the Caspian. Although Iran
has the most compatible and safe energy route for pipelines, Azerbaijan chose Turkey for cooperation
because of Iran’s support to Armenia and Iran’s Islamic threat to Azerbaijan’s Western democracy. Aras
argues that Turkey’s constructive de-securitization process on political Islam and Kurdish separatism
caused to have good relations with Iran (Aras, Polat, 2008, p.496). Consequently, the strategic depth is
successful in the eyes of Turkic states against Iran in Caspian.
Consequently, I think the strategic depth doctrine has good intentions for making the Turkish foreign
policy success with regards to its geographical and historical depth of Ottoman legacy. However, this
is achievable in peaceful regions and not in complex and unstable cases, such as the Caspian Sea. This is
because of the strategic depth’s neo-Ottomanism, Islamic tendency and pan Turkism, which are not good strategies towards the Turkic and non-Turkic countries. The latter could be interpreted from the
fact that all states in the Caspian do not seek any role model; in contrary they want to be independent
and act according to their interests. Therefore, strategic depth is achievable ıf it is used on economic
interdependence and mutual interests. Thus, Turkey had success towards Azerbaijan but unfortunately
failed against other Turkic states. Turkic states mostly prefer to cooperate with US, EU and Russia.
Consequently, strategic depth failed in the eyes of Turkic states and non-Turkic states. This role is filled
by Russia because of Turkey’s not realistic policies and lack of domestic economic and political
stability.

REFERENCES

 Aktoprak, E. (2003). Stratejik Derinlik: Türkiye'nin Uluslararası Konumu.
 Aras, B. (2009). The Davutoglu era in Turkish foreign policy. Insight Turkey, 127-142.
 Aras, B. (2000). Turkey's policy in the former Soviet south: Assets and options. Turkish
Studies, 1(1), 36-58.
 Aras, B. (2009). Turkey and the Russian Federation: an emerging multidimensional
partnership. SETA Policy Brief, 35.
 Aras, B., & Karakaya Polat, R. (2008). From conflict to cooperation: Desecuritization of Turkey's
relations with Syria and Iran. Security Dialogue, 39(5), 495-515.
 Bülent, A., & Akpinar, P. (2011). The relations between Turkey and the Caucasus. Perceptions:
Journal of International Affairs, 16(3), 53-68.
 Çaman, M. E., & Akyurt, M. A. (2011). Caucasus and Central Asia in Turkish Foreign Policy: The
Time Has Come for a New Regional Policy. Alternatives: Turkish Journal of international
relations, 10.
 Davutoğlu, A. (2001). Stratejik Derinlik: Turkiye'nin Uluslararasi Konumu (Turkish Foreign Policy).
Retrieved from https://tr.pdfdrive.com/stratejik-derinlik-turkiyenin-uluslararasi-konumu-turkish-
foreign-policy-e156993579.html
 Davutoglu, A. (2008). Turkey's foreign policy vision: an assessment of 2007. Insight Turkey, 77-96.
 Efegil, E. (2008). Turkish AK Party’s Central Asia and Caucasus policies: critiques and
suggestions. Caucasian Review of International Affairs, 2(3), 166-172.
 Goudarzi, M. R., Lashaki, A. B., & Lakani, S. F. M. (2015). Turkish Foreign Policy in South
Caucasus and Its Impacts in Iran-Azerbaijan Relationship. J. Pol. & L., 8, 122.

 Jackson, A. (2011). The Limits of Good Intentions: The Caucasus as a Test Case for Turkish Foreign
Policy. Turkish Policy Quarterly, 9, 81-92.
 Kardaş, Ş. (2010). Turkey: redrawing the Middle East map or building sandcastles?. Middle East
Policy, 17(1), 115-136.
 Murinson, A. (2006). The strategic depth doctrine of Turkish foreign policy. Middle Eastern
Studies, 42(6), 945-964.
 Ozkan, B. (2014). Turkey, Davutoglu and the idea of Pan-Islamism. Survival, 56(4), 119-140.
 Tüysüzoğlu, G. (2014). Strategic depth: A neo-Ottomanist interpretation of Turkish
Eurasianism. Mediterranean Quarterly, 25(2), 85-104.
 Walker, J. W. (2007). Learning strategic depth: implications of Turkey's new foreign policy
doctrine. Insight Turkey, 32-47.

This article is written by Senad Sevdik

Visits: 93

Russia and the Conflict Between China and the United States

For Russia, the question now is not how it will deal with China in the future, but how threatening Beijing’s confrontation with the United States is for its survival right now. If Russia assesses its neighbour’s confrontation with the United States as a systemic one, the task of breaking this Western adversary looks paramount for the survival of the country and its political system, writes Valdai Club Programme Director Timofei Bordachev. So paramount, that it will be necessary to think about how to arrange relations with China, should it theoretically win a new Cold War. This is to say little of the short-term consequences of such a choice. They are generally of little importance for the development of Russia.

The rivalry of great powers is a common phenomenon in international politics, which has determined its development over several millennia, as war is the main way to resolve interstate conflicts. It can be caused by the revolutionary behaviour of one of the most powerful states, or simply by the objective growth of its power, which causes fear among others. In this sense, the growth of China’s opportunities in the international arena provokes fear in, for example, Russia or Europe, no less than the indignation and desire to stop this growth on the part of the United States. In Thucydides’ formula, “the growth of the power of one increases the fear of the other” the names of specific states are not at all important — the rule is the same for everyone.

When we witness an American offensive against China, we must be aware that it is based on the same emotions that every member of the international community can feel. The difference is that for the United States, the strengthening of China poses a threat to the American way of life and its role in world politics since World War II. For Russia, Europe or India, the rise of China only provokes a natural desire to hedge against the consequences of uncertainty in the foreign policy of states. In modern conditions, a nation has two options: building up its own power capabilities, and/or including relations with China in a complex balance of power.

The growing confrontation between China and the United States is gradually pushing out all other issues from the international agenda, directly or indirectly subordinating them. It is not surprising, in this regard, that other states throughout the world are increasingly thinking about their role in the context of this conflict, and Russia cannot be an exception. So far, most of the US declarations and practical activity in this conflict look like manifestations of internal American confusion, or, at best, an active search for sources of strength to combat Chinese pressure. Even amid conditions where the United States itself has come very close to the brink of an internal civil conflict, most observers are still confident that the US will somehow succeed in defeating China in a new Cold War.

The colossal opportunity that the United States has created over the past 100 years is a fantastic example of “structural strength”, to use Susan Strange’s definition. These opportunities cover not only the military or economic fields, but also the information, ideological, cultural and many other areas. An important source of them is the current political system in the United States. It not only provides the administration with a flow of fresh blood, in which many other states are limited, but also promotes the aggressiveness which is, in principle, inherent in democratic states. China, in turn, has not yet shown a similar willingness to fight; a significant part of its elite is closely integrated with the West and its positions are still strong.

However, even the combination of these factors is not enough to argue decisively, albeit on a purely hypothetical level, that there is no possibility the People’s Republic will survive. And, moreover, to “win” in this confrontation, it will only need only the support of another great power. The question seems to be quite reasonable: how much should such a power be wary of partnership, in order to be successful in achieving its main goals, in the long term? For Russia, this question is no longer purely theoretical. From the moment the tensions between China and the United States became irreversible, the pressure on Russia from both has been considered, among other things, in the context of attempts to secure Russian support in the longer term. 45 years ago, the fact that China sided with the United States in the Cold War became one of the most important external factors in the defeat of the USSR. A partnership with China would alter the dynamic along Russia’s longest border; Moscow would not need to be so concerned about its security.

For more than 10 years, Russia has been actively developing cooperation with other Asian countries. They may be more restrained if Moscow becomes more active on the side of China. The partnership with Japan, for example, is hindered by the question of the Kuril Islands, whose affiliation to Russia is now indirectly enshrined in the Constitution. In the case of South Korea or the ASEAN countries, common wishes over the past 10 years have not led to serious joint projects or investments in the Far East. Assessing the scale of Japanese or Korean investments in Russia, it is difficult to say that even greater restraint on the part of these partners is possible. So, in the case of other Asian countries, Russia is still looking at castles in the sky. Despite all the calls and ideal conditions for doing business, 80 percent of total investments in the Far East are of domestic Russian origin, and of the remaining 20 percent, China accounts for half.

Therefore, in the discussion about Russia’s position in the Sino-American conflict, fears related to the reaction of other countries to deepening cooperation between Moscow and Beijing may not come to the fore. Much more important are the strategic goals of Russia itself and how much China can help achieve them. Let us make a caveat that, in the framework of this analysis, we take Russia’s ability to ensure its own freedom of foreign policy by force as an axiom. Because, if this is not the case, then there is not much to talk about.

In the 1970s, it was so important for the United States to defeat the USSR that it created a significant part of the Chinese economic miracle itself. The author of American policy at the time was Henry Kissinger, one of the best-known realists in international relations. This gives reason to believe that the alliance with Beijing against Moscow was not then viewed in the United States as a guarantee against the fact that in the future they would have to deal with China itself. However, the success in the Cold War was worth creating the “monster” of the Chinese economy, integrated into the liberal economic order, where the norms and customs were determined by the United States. There were those in America who believed that as a result of the policy of reform and openness, China would become part of the liberal order led by the United States. But, as the most serious experts can confirm, such hopes have never been dominant.

Therefore, for Russia the question now is not how it will deal with China sometime in the future, but how threatening its confrontation with the United States is now? If Russia assesses Beijing’s conflict with the United States as a systemic one, the task of breaking this Western adversary looks paramount for the survival of the country and its political system. So paramount, that it will be necessary to think about how to arrange relations with China, should it theoretically win a new Cold War. This is to say little of the short-term consequences of such a choice. They are generally of little importance for the development of Russia.

It is important that Beijing is not the leader of any sufficiently powerful group of states and it is unlikely to become such even if it achieves convincing success in its relations with Washington. For this, China does not have the main thing it would need — a socio-economic model and development ideology that could claim universality. For the United States, the use of globalisation in order to satisfy its selfish interests became possible precisely because it initially represented a revolutionary ideology and was ready to see it “dissolved” in the world around it. China continues to maintain a conservative idea of sovereignty, which is based on its own national interests.

Even if relations between the United States and its allies are not very good now, with the most important of them — the Europeans — America is united by a political structure and basic foreign policy interests. China cannot yet boast of such allies “in blood and spirit” and there is no reason to believe that they will appear. But more importantly, since China is not part or the leader of a bloc, it will not act on the basis of collective interest. Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has constantly encountered this interest in the West and had many opportunities to make sure that this interest is able to completely subjugate the individual mind and morals of individual members of the community. In this respect, China is clearly preferable to Europe as a partner, because the European countries will always place their collective interest above the need to think about Russia.

The question of how far support for China should go in these difficult times is not idle or momentary. The answer to it can determine whether its independence in international politics will be determined by its own forces, or will increasingly depend on external factors and the balance of power, taking into account the many opinions — Europe, the United States, or various Asian countries. Strengthening China and weakening the United States as much as possible will leave much more room for Russia’s security to depend only on itself.

This article is taken from valdaiclub.com

Visits: 157

CHANGING BALANCE IN LIBYA WİTH TURKEY MOVES

Libya, which cannot be shared and important country in the world due to oil reserves, is a
major part of the agenda today with the constant change of balances in the region. In Libya,
which is in the 8th place in the world in terms of oil reserves, an authority gap occurred after
the overthrow of Gaddafi. On one side of the The Tripoli-based Government of National
Accord (GNA) which supported by the Government of Turkey and the United Nations, the
other side’s  Libyan National Army (LNA) which is supported by Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
and France. Both sides want to be active in the region in order to dominate Libya and get a
share of the reserves. However, they can also gain their interests in Syria. The changes in the
balance situation in the region were as follows; In 2018, Russia tried to gain the upper hand
with Wagner, a private company, sending military and weaponry aid to the region. In this
process, the treaty proposals from the National Consensus Government were rejected.
Later,Turkey sent troops to Libya, with the agreement made between the Government of
National Reconciliation with Turkey. At the same time, the military training and equipment
support provided by the Turkish armed forces ensured the protection and strengthening of the
Tripoli region. The Libyan National Army’s inability to dominate the Tripoli region caused
the ropes to stretch within itself and was interpreted as changing balances in the international
community. Secondly, actors who did not want to get involved in the chaos in the region had
to determine their sides and wishes with this unexpected move. Thirdly, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates provided financial support and gained earning from the region. This
situation and their inability to dominate the region caused them to have a dispute among
themselves, especially with Russia.
All in all, competition environment and confusion have increased due to the rapid changes in
balances and the increase of actors who want to be effective in the region. It seems that the
Libya issue will continue to be discussed internationally and an agreement will be reached.
We will be able to see whether this will be successful or not with future events.

source: Nihat Ali Özcan- Milliyet

This article written by Esma Kaya

Visits: 242

Murder of the Russian Ambassador: More Questions to Turkish Security Forces

The murder of the Russian ambassador in Ankara indicates serious shortcomings in the security policy of the Turkish state and will have the negative impact on Russian-Turkish relations, despite the willingness of both sides to exercise closer relations, Valdai Club experts Hüseyin Bağcı and Yaşar Yakış told www.valdaiclub.com.
On Monday night a 22-year-old police officer shot several times in the back of Andrey Karlov, Russian ambassador to Turkey, who opened a photo exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Ankara. The ambassador died at the scene from the injuries. On Tuesday, at a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the killing “a coward terrorist act”.

“For the first time a Russian diplomat is killed on Turkish soil. It is a new and tragic event in our shared history,” said Hüseyin Bağcı, Professor and Chair, Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University in Ankara, visiting professor at Berlin Humboldt University. “For the first time a high-ranking Russian diplomat murder happened in Ankara and, more importantly, there is a question to the government – why they could pass such a person at the event? This indicates to poor security policy, it creates a negative image. Despite this, the Turkish-Russian relations should continue in a constructive spirit, it is necessary to solve the existing problems and to fulfill the obligations. ”

A police officer Mevlut Mert Altyntash, who killed the Russian diplomat, served in the Department of Special Forces of the Ankara police and went to the exhibition, presenting his police ID card. According to RIA Novosti with reference to the Turkish media, last week Altyntash participated in the guarding of the Russian Embassy, when rallies took place next to it because of the situation in Aleppo. On the day of the murder of the Russian ambassador he took a vacation and booked the hotel room to plan the attack.

“Of course, this incident will not have the best impact on the Turkish-Russian relations – Hüseyin Bağcı said. – We’ll see the details, find out who this man was, how he could infiltrate the Ambassador’s guard. But he is, of course, an Islamist, this is evident even on the basis of images. ”

On the video depicting the murder of Andrey Karlov, the gunman shouted “Remember Aleppo, remember Syria. We will not leave you alone. Only death can stop me. We die for Aleppo, you will die here. ” During the police operation Altyntash was killed by the security forces.

“I think that the killer was dissatisfied with the development of the situation in Syria, in Aleppo in particular. A few days ago I was in Berlin. There was a demonstration in front of the Iranian Embassy against actions of Iran in Syria. But there was also a smaller group of young people, who protested outside the Russian embassy. They publicly criticized the cooperation between Russia and Turkey. The killer also was a young man, his motives may be similar, and he could be inspired by similar protests, though, of course, the investigators know better, “- Yasar Yakis, former Turkish Foreign Minister, said in an interview to www.valdaiclub.com.

“This terrorist act is likely to have been committed by the person who opposes the improvement of relations between Turkey and Russia, – Yakis said. The Turkish-Russian relations have several dimensions, and this incident should not contribute to the deterioration in any of them, although it will be not easy. Our politicians need to express deep and sincere condolences over the incident, because they did not prevent the possibility of such a tragedy. ”

A similar opinion is shared by Hüseyin Bağcı: “I think that Putin and Erdogan should immediately talk to each other – directly. Nobody else – neither interior ministers or defense ministers or prime ministers. And I advise the Turkish government and the president that they spoke with the Russian colleagues quietly, without any negative statements and hints – like last year. This is actually the second crisis in our relations in a year. ”

According to former Foreign minister of Turkey, the incident will negatively affect the Russian-Turkish relations, despite the willingness by both sides to get closer.

“There is acute visa issue, the question of the visas abolition with Russia and this incident certainly showed that we all feel quite unsafe. The Russian authorities were right in claiming that, even though our government advocated the abolition of visas “, – Yakis said. – Diplomats should not be victims of circumstances, which they did not create. Unfortunately, we see that the Turkish security system often gives failures.”

 

Hüseyin Bağcı, Yaşar Yakış

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