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Turkey – Russia: Developing Relations
For the last two decades Turkish-Russian relations were getting better every year. Of course there were major setbacks during that period. Hitting a Russian war plane in 2015 by Turkish air forces and assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov by a Turkish police officer were among those setbacks. Later, Turkey related those events by FETÖ (Fetullah Terrorist Organization) and tried its best to normalize the relations. With the developments taking place in Syria and similar views of Putin and Erdoğan relating to the world events, now it seems that Turkey and Russia are becoming close allies. Russia recently removed the strict ban on visas and allowed non- visa entrance for Turkish businessmen and truck drivers. The summit which is held at the midst of Febraury 2019 between Turkey, Russia and Iran also show signs of developing relations between those countries. According to the results of that summit Russia and Turkey have similar thoughts about the developments in Syria and a safe zone in Syria borders can be established. One can expect that, in this direction by the help of Russian government, Turkey-Syria relations can also develop in a positive way. Russia-Turkey trade volume is increasing continuously and it was around 25 billion USD in 2018.
Turkey –Greece Relations: Improving?
Tsipras has visited Turkey in February and welcomed by Turkish authorities and by President Erdoğan. Tsipras has also visited Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary being the first Prime Minister of Greece doing that. The Seminary is closed for 48 years and opening it is in the agenda of both nations and it has a major symbolic value for Greeks. The reason for that warm visit and welcome had two sides. Turkey is going to local elections and it is always important for President Erdoğan to win the elections as an erosion of his votes may mean a lot to the opposition. Politically Turkey should be seen strong and good with its neighbors to gather the votes of masses. But, may be this visit is more significant for Tsipras as he recently signed an agreement with Macedonia after long debates and called traitor by some of the Greeks for signing such an agreement. Normalizing relations with Turkey and having the Seminary opened will bring a success to him in domestic politics.