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    Russia visit of Turkish prime minister: message to the West - COMMENT

    Russia vows to support settlement of the conflict, but the real situation reveals opposite

    Baku. 6 December. REPORT.AZ/ Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim pays 2-day visit to Russia. Heads of governments have met December 6.

    This is second high level visit from Turkey to Russia since crisis between two countries aroused by Russian jet downed by Turkish military in 2015. President Erdoğan first paid a short visit to Russia on August 9 to reset relations.

    B.Yildirim's visit comes amid controversies with European Union and financial problems within the country.

    Elimination of visa regime between two countries, trade with national currencies, Turkey’s membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organization, talks over current situation in Syria and Iraq and common efforts to fight terrorism, energy partnership, defensive cooperation, trade turnover target of $100 billion are some topics in agenda.

    B.Yildirim will also travel to Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan Republic, to meet with president Rustam Mimikhanov and to attend Turkey-Tatarstan business forum.

    However, another crisis between two countries was about to rise on the eve of prime-minister’s visit.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told in his speech at first annual conference of the association of “Parliamentarians for Al-Quds (Jerusalem)” held in Istanbul: “We entered Syria to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. We didn’t enter for any other reason”.

    Kremlin officials asked official Ankara to clarify their attitude concerning head of Syrian regime. Even Russian president Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had phone talk.

    After this conversation R.T.Erdoğan said: “The aim of the Euphrates Shield Operation is no country or person but only terror organizations. No one should doubt this issue that we have uttered over and over, and no one should comment on it in another fashion or try to misrepresent its meaning. Turkey, even if left alone, will keep fighting against terrorism”.

    This statement alleviated position of those advocating tough line against Turkey in Russia. The issue was also discussed during visit of Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to Turkey with his Turkish counterpart Movlud Cavusoglu. Turkish foreign minister clarified president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s words about head of Syrian regime Bashar Assad: “Our country openly says that Assad bears responsibility for murder of a large number of people in Syria. But we will continue the policy which is in harmony and coincides with Russia’s position on searching for a political solution to the conflict and delivering regular humanitarian aid to Syria’s people”.

    S.Lavrov in response to the question concerning airstrikes to positions of Turkish armed forces in Syria on November 24, 2016, told that this was done neither by Russian, nor by Assad’s forces.

    But his earlier opinion on the incident was different: “This has no relation with Russia. This attack was carried out by Syrian armed forces”. But later this statement was disclaimed and presented like incorrect translation.

    However, so far, no government or terrorist organization announced responsibility for attacks on Turkish military on November 24, in Al-Bab region of Syria, in which 3 servicemen were killed, 7 wounded.

    Last week European Parliament adopted resolution to suspend talks with Turkey for access to European Union (EU) to put pressure on Turkish government as a response to measures taken by security forces after military coup attempt on July 15.

    European lawmakers believe the government intensified repressions after July 15.

    From this point of view, the visit amid increasing EU pressures on both countries, beside economic purposes, has some political implications.

    Official Ankara believes that European Union doesn’t fulfil its obligations related travel of Turkish citizens to EU countries without visa, as well as support to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sets conditions to European Union: “If they put aside misguided actions against Turkey, Ankara is ready to become a full member of the European Union. If to facilitate visa regime, help refugees and try to establish relations, then we will also show them a good intention. We didn't get that we paid for. If Europe fulfills its obligations, we will also keep our promise."

    R.T.Erdoğan told that if European union keeps on pressure on Turkey, supporting PKK terrorist group and its supporters, they will open borders for refugees to access Europe. However, EU officials are confident, based on the agreement with Turkey, that this is an impossible step for Turkish government.

    However, mutual denouncements reveal tension between Ankara and Brussels.

    For the reason above, Turkey prepares to discuss and solve the visa issue with Russia.

    Turkish lira is among currencies losing ground against US dollar, while Russia keen to apply national currencies in mutual trade to ease economic dependency on US dollar.

    On the eve of the visit the Turkish side also unveiled the person who ordered to down Russian jet violating Turkish border on November 24 of 2015.

    According to information spread in mass media, the order to down Russian ‘Su-24’ was given neither by president, nor prime-minister of Turkey, but one colonel on Incirlik military base, who was the member of Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETO).

    It is reasonable to think that there isn’t serious obstacle for development of ties between two countries. However, there are some serious discrepancies in approaches to number of international matters.

    Without any doubt, one of them is approach to Bashar Assad regime. Turkey wants to remove him from the power. In this issue Russia has controversies not only with Turkey, but also with the West.

    There is a tension between two counties related to Ukrainian issue, especially ethnic rights of Crimean Tatars.

    We can extend this list. Settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict occurred as a result of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan is another point of disagreement between two countries. Liberation of Azerbaijani lands under Armenian occupation and settlement of the conflict is of a great importance for Azerbaijan and Turkey.

    Although Russia vows to support settlement of this conflict, the real situation gives ground to opposite opinion.

    Actually, establishing common ground for solution of international issues, Russia and Turkey could create new center of influence. Unfortunately, this is impossible at the moment and will remain a desire for a long time.

    Thus, B.Yildirim’s visit to Russia can be considered as a message to the West by Ankara and Moscow. 

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