15 August 2022, Monday, 9:04
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Erdogan's Blow Against Putin

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Erdogan's Blow Against Putin
TASS ARCHIVAL PHOTO

What is Turkey's interest?

The meeting between the Presidents of Finland and Turkey, the Prime Minister of Sweden and the NATO Secretary-General on the eve of the organization's summit in Madrid ended in a sensation: Turkey has waived its veto on Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

The fact that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accused the northern countries of 'supporting terrorism', could change his position, has been discussed almost from the first days after the statements of the Turkish president. But few expected that this change would happen so quickly that the process of joining could be started already at the meeting in Madrid.

Actually, after Madrid, the process of approval of this joining by the parliaments of each of the NATO countries should begin. Ukrainian publicist and political scientist Vitaly Portnikov wrote for the Krym.Realii news publisher, that this process cannot cause additional difficulties after the President of Turkey has withdrawn his veto.

We can imagine that observers will discuss who turned out to be the main initiator of the Turkish consent: Erdogan himself or his colleagues from Finland and Sweden. However, I am sure that in fact, the main beneficiary was Euro-Atlantic solidarity. If the Turkish president had held his ground, at the summit in Madrid they would have talked not about the unity, but about the disunity of NATO in the face of new threats in the meaning of Russia's war against Ukraine. And then the main winner, I think, would be Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nevertheless, Putin has lost.

I don't know how much this latest political defeat came as a surprise to the Russian president. I think any competent analyst could explain to the Russian president that his success is the last thing the Turkish president is interested in.

Erdogan can smile at Putin, maintain communication with him, and even receive Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in Turkey, who uses the situation to save his own and Putin's billions. But I'm sure Erdogan remembers quite well that it was Putin who broke the rules of the game when he occupied Crimea. And when he decided to change the balance of power in the Black Sea called into question the very security of Turkey. Not to mention the fact that the issue of the actual oppression of the Crimean Tatars by the invaders and the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is not even a matter of foreign but domestic policy for a country with millions of descendants of immigrants from Crimea.

Also, his Russian colleague, with visible pleasure, was engaged in the destabilization of neighbouring Syria, and I think that this was no less painful for the Turkish president. We often talk about the migration crisis in Europe, associated with the influx of Syrian refugees who left the country devastated by the war between Assad and Putin. But Turkey accepted a basic number of refugees from Syria. Erdogan is hardly grateful to Putin for this. Yes, possibly, the Turkish President is attracted by the political style of the Russian ruler. But style and interests differ.

It seems that Erdogan dealt a significant blow to Putin by agreeing to Finland joining NATO. The problem is wider than the expansion of the alliance causing a problem for Russia's security. The problem is that Russian propaganda and Putin himself are shouting about it incessantly. Actually, a country that has a long common border with the Russian Federation is going to join NATO, and the Kremlin has almost nothing to oppose it. Even Putin's biggest supporter may have doubts. It is difficult to get their war response to the possible entry of Ukraine into NATO, and only a verbal response to the real entry into NATO of Finland and Sweden. Is NATO really to blame?

Yes, it seems, it's not about NATO, it's about Putin's obvious desire to occupy Ukraine and destabilize the West. Well, why should this concern Erdogan?