Yuri Mavashev: "Turkey will remain in NATO for at least another 10 years"

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Yuri Mavashev: "Turkey will remain in NATO for at least another 10 years"

"We want to enthusiastically start a new phase in the military, political, economic and cultural spheres, including the sphere of tourism and other spheres,’’ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after returning from St. Petersburg, where he met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Erdogan also complained that not a single Western politician visited Turkey after the coup attempt. The head of the political department at the Center for Modern Turkish Studies, Yuri Mavashev, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the prospects of Russian-Turkish relations.

- Does the Syrian issue remain the main contradiction in relations between Moscow and Ankara? Is there a possibility, in your opinion, of a convergence of their positions?

- Recall that all the consultations were carried out between the Russian and Turkish General Staffs, but after the Russian Su-24 was shot down last year in November over Syrian territory, a number of other problems associated with cross-border issues appeared. The consultations came to nothing. Now I am convinced that at the meeting of Putin and Erdogan priority was given to political issues, particularly the problem of the Syrian settlement. I think that the necessary steps were agreed before Erdogan's letter, in which he apologized to the Russian side. Meanwhile, an attempted coup took place in Turkey on July 15th, which brought about changes to the situation.

Initially it was planned to time the meeting of Putin and Erdogan with the G20 summit. This is highly symbolic, the countries quarreled last year at the G20 summit. The Russian President said that some of the G20 states supported the illegal armed groups and Daesh, in particular. The Turkish side did not hide that it understood the hint and downed the Russian aircraft two weeks later.

Anyway, the meeting between Putin and Erdogan has already taken place, and it can be considered as successful. The sides reached an understanding on Syria. But the details are unlikely to be announced soon. Nevertheless, there were some changes on the Syrian issue. This is also symbolic. The problems began with the Syrian issue, and they should be removed with the help of the Syrian issue.

Russia will certainly consider some of Turkey’s suggestions regarding the 3.5 million refugees who are now in the Republic of Turkey. It is necessary to agree with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on how to solve this problem. The fact is that the 3.5 million refugees are being kept largely with the help of the Turkish budget. There are also allocations from the EU, but they are not enough.

It is more likely that Turkey will refuse to support the illegal armed groups. At the same time, there is no direct evidence that the Turkish political elites cooperated with Daesh. There are suggestions and information from the special services.

- Will the failed coup attempt change Turkey?

- It is possible to say that the coup attempt has made Turkey a completely different country. The consolidation of Turkish society has now reached a peak. Yes, it's consolidation with a negative motive. For example, the demand to execute the participants of the coup is undoubtedly a response to the events by Turkish society.

The heat in Turkish society is being transformed into anti-American sentiment, but this can cause further upheaval, including in Russian-Turkish relations, as any possible provocation may take place again.

Already today we are witnessing how Ankara is distancing itself from the European bureaucracy, the United States and NATO. I remind you that Turkey was  one of the first to become a NATO member. Despite the current anti-American rhetoric, it is too early to announce that Turkey will withdraw from NATO. NATO has its own system of recognition of "friend or foe". There are several other aspects that do not allow Turkey to withdraw from this military bloc immediately. In addition, Turkey has debts which are not paid to NATO and many other obligations. Withdrawal from NATO may take at least 10 years, as we are speaking not only about the reconstruction of the Turkish army, but also the entire system of European safety.