Turkish-Russian ties: Cooperation despite discord

The failure of Turkey’s governing AK Party (AKP) to win the majority of votes in recent elections complicates things for President Recep Tayyep Erdogan. Nevertheless, Russian President Vladimir Putin called to congratulate him on AKP’s electoral victory right after the results became official. The two leaders also met behind closed doors on the sidelines of the European Games that are taking place in Azerbaijan.

Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said it was a “very detailed, constructive conversation.” The leaders focused on energy cooperation, as well as key international issues such as Ukraine. Ankara’s recent anger with Putin’s participation in commemorating the Armenian genocide was not discussed.

Contradictions and mutual interests

Turkish-Russian ties are characterized by contradictions and mutual interests, but bilateral cooperation will persist regardless of internal political shifts and disagreements, as evidenced by the meeting between Putin and Erdogan.

Several key elements unite the countries geopolitically, such as the feeling of being insulted by the West.

Maria Dubovikova

Several key elements unite the countries geopolitically, such as the feeling of being insulted by the West. There are still obstacles to Turkey’s membership in the European Union (EU), and both countries are harshly criticized by the West for their crackdowns on freedoms and dissent. Turkey and Russia interpret this as meddling in their internal affairs. They consider themselves important international players that should not come under foreign pressure.

Huge, joint energy projects are of mutual benefit, and give them a sense that they can overcome such pressures. Turkish Stream, a proposed natural gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey through the Black Sea, will be extremely advantageous for Ankara as it will transform Turkey into an important player in the energy market and make Europe dependent on it.

Turkish-Russian ties have been strengthened by numerous Western policy miscalculations, and have not been derailed by bilateral disagreements. Meanwhile, the West continues to act with a sense of superiority that has proven ineffective.

Maria Dubovikova is a President of IMESClub and CEO of MEPFoundation. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations [University] of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia), now she is a PhD Candidate there. Her research fields are in Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, Euro-Arab dialogue, policy in France and the U.S. towards the Mediterranean, France-Russia bilateral relations, humanitarian cooperation and open diplomacy. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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