History of Russia-Turkey relations. Relations between Turkey and Russia have a centuries-old history dominated by wars and competition. The end of the cold war did not change the nature of bilateral relations. With the political initiative of both sides, both Turkey and Russia started to focus on cooperation in the early 2000s. Since then Ankara and Moscow have been in close cooperation in various fields.
Since the early 2000s, political leaders have successfully transformed mutual competition into multifaceted cooperation. While there are certain restrictions on security-related issues, convergence has proven itself in certain areas such as the economy, energy and trade. For nearly a decade, "segregation into separate categories" has been the main feature of Turkish-Russian relations.
Turkey's actions in Syria and the purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems have become key challenges in US-Turkish relations. While many in Washington closely watch how Turkey moves in foreign policy, they also have obvious problems with democracy at home. Questions: What is Turkey's intention in its relations with Russia, is it moving away from its NATO allies and still wanting to remain part of the strategic West?
Numerous wars between Russia and Turkey have greatly influenced the perception of these countries by each other, and this is now expressed as a kind of balancing dance between competition and cooperation. Turkish troops did not allow Russian forces and Assad troops to take control of northern Syria, and in Libya, the Turkish army did not allow Moscow-controlled forces to take Tripoli and the country as a whole. Turkey also warmly supports Georgia and Ukraine's desire to join NATO. Damon Wilson said Ankara entered into a strategic partnership with Kyiv amid Russia's campaign to intimidate Ukraine this year.
Former Permanent Representative of Turkey to NATO, retired Turkish diplomat Mehmet Fatih Ceylan, also touched upon the fact that an alliance between Russia and Turkey on regional issues is impossible: “In the region in the north of our country – mainly Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, now Crimea and Donbass are also added to this. We have a clear divergence of views and interests here, and this will remain so: It is impossible for any Turkish government to turn a blind eye to Russia's latest examples of aggression in Crimea and Donbass, as I have said before.”
Putin and Erdogan - what makes them friends? Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent Russian military analyst, said that the Russian elite itself does not support the openly established friendship between Russian and Turkish leaders: - in this case, Russian leader Vladimir Putin - with his logic, agenda and practice the opinion of the majority of the military, diplomats and other self-interested groups. conducts its own foreign policy, which is contrary to
"President Putin has a close friendship with Erdogan. Putin believes that thanks to these close personal ties, he can distance Turkey from NATO and Europe and establish closer relations, perhaps even some kind of alliance. The main goal in this region is to bring the Black Sea Straits closer to the goal of control by the forces of the two friendly countries. It is worth remembering that historically, the aim of any Russian initiative was control of the straits." says.
But, according to Pavel Felgenhauer, this strategy is not understood by Putin's subordinates: "Representatives of the Russian military and diplomatic establishment do not consider such a calculation reasonable, confident that Turkey cannot be changed course and will always be a NATO member and an ally of the United States. Therefore, they are dissatisfied with the efforts and expenditures made to maintain relations with Turkey, considering it a waste of resources. In the corridors of power, no one directly contradicts the "tsar", but people find ways to undermine this idyll between Putin and Erdogan."
Despite the friendship between Putin and Erdogan, some officials in Moscow sometimes speak quite angrily about Turkey's unwavering course of not recognizing the annexation of Crimea. Neither can the Kremlin be content with Ankara's strategic cooperation with Kyiv. Victoria Gaber, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, gave examples of this cooperation: "We receive technical assistance from our Turkish partners, for example, they help the Crimean Tatars who had to leave Crimea to settle in Crimea. We have joint projects with the Turkish Development Agency and recently During the Ukraine President's visit to Turkey, new agreements were signed in Mykolaiv, Kherson and Kiev, which included the construction of about 500 residences for the Crimean Tatars.”
What about trade? Turkey is one of Russia's main foreign economic partners. By the end of 2021, the volume of foreign trade between Russia and Turkey reached $33.02 billion (in 2020 - $21.04 billion), including $26.5 billion in Russian exports and $6.5 billion in imports.
While the structure of Russian exports is traditionally dominated by mineral products, metals and products made from them, food products and agricultural raw materials, the structure of imports consists of food products and agricultural raw materials, machinery, equipment and tools, textiles and shoes.
Turkey occupies one of the leading places in the purchase of Russian gas. Currently, Russia and Turkey are directly linked to the Blue Stream and Turkish Stream natural gas pipelines. The Blue Stream gas pipeline aims to directly supply Russian natural gas to Turkey via the Black Sea, bypassing third countries. By the end of 2021, 15.98 billion cubic meters of gas was delivered via Blue Stream. This is the maximum annual figure achieved since the highway commissioning in 2003.
On January 8, 2020, Presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially opened the TurkStream natural gas pipeline, which consists of two branches, each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters. The first is for the supply of Russian gas to Turkish consumers, the second is for the supply of Southern and Southeastern European countries.
Barter relations between countries are possible in the field of raw material exchange and production experience. "Russia is mostly a raw country, while Turkey, on the contrary, is a manufacturing country, but there are raw material problems," says Omur Surenkok, CEO of Surenkok Moscow Business Development Office. According to him, Russia will follow the path of expanding its production potential as it will need the experience of Turkey. He also notes that he has been purchasing goods in Turkey for 8 years as part of his job: "The companies we work with change their currency to dollars or liras themselves. This allows you to reduce costs." In addition to the export and import of energy, vegetables and fruits in trade with Turkey, the import of parallel products from Western countries, which are not prohibited by sanctions but have become inaccessible due to the withdrawal of Western companies from the Russian market, is also promising. In addition, Turkey is becoming one of the few remaining foreign tourism destinations.
Conclusion? Moscow and Ankara's desire to seek mutual understanding and cooperation is supported by the current tension in both sides' relations with Western countries. It should also be noted that Turkey is trying to use this to its advantage. While remaining on the southern flank of NATO, it is also trying to encourage the US and European powers to consider their own interests more. In this context, relations with Russia are an additional tool for balancing Turkey and integrating it into the world agenda.
In general, Russian-Turkish relations have passed many crisis tests that the parties have learned to overcome. Their mutual interests, driven by both internal factors and external challenges, have transformed Russia and Turkey from situational partners into an important political tandem in the global balance of power, which is stable despite the contradictions between its participants.
Therefore, the restoration of political dialogue between the two countries is decisive, but not the only prerequisite for the further development of their trade relations. It is very important to change their qualitative structure, to seek opportunities for the development of mutually beneficial industrial cooperation during the further modernization of the industrial complex of the two countries.
Kaynak: Tera Yatırım- Enver Erkan
Hibya Haber Ajansı