Moscow-Ankara: real interests prevail over situational conflicts
Earlier this week, the Russian and Turkish presidents held a one-on-one meeting and the seventh meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council. Within the framework of the Council, during the face-to-face meeting, as well as interdepartmental meetings, they agreed that political dialogue positively affects the economic sphere. See also Russia emerges as Turkey's friend in a new world
"Compared to last year, our trade turnover has increased by 31% and exceeds $22 billion. We want trade between our countries to grow to $100 billion. We launched the construction of the foundation for the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant. We plan to complete the first stage of this project in 2023, we intend to invest some $20 billion in this project. Work is also proceeding on schedule on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. The number of Russian tourists coming in Turkey reached 4.7 million in 2017. This is the largest number of foreign tourists from any country. I believe the figure will increase to 6 million this year," Erdogan said after the meeting.
Commenting on the results of the summit, the Associate Professor of the Department of International Security of the Faculty of World Politics of Moscow State University, Alexey Fenenko, noted: "The meeting proved that real interests prevail over situational conflicts. The Russian-Turkish rapprochement has an absolutely objective basis. Since the Cold War's end, the interests of the US and Turkey have been drawing apart drastically. The US needed Turkey as an outpost against the USSR, but the Americans weren't willing to tolerate Turkey as an independent regional power. For the past 15 years, the US has consistently supported all regional opponents of Turkey: Bulgaria's accession to NATO, which does not hide the fact that it still has territorial claims in Turkey, the support of the Kurds ... The US demonstratively denied Turkey the right to conduct any anti-terrorist operation supporting the Syrian Kurds. US diplomacy's games with Georgia and Armenia also should be taken into account. Its intervention in internal affairs in 2016 was a perfect litmus test for President Erdogan, an indicator of real US policy towards Turkey."
According to Fenenko, after the tragic incident with the Russian plane in November 2015, Turkey had hopes that the West would support them: "I remind you how the West reacted to this. They not only refrained from assisting Turkey, but they did not even withdraw their claims neither on Cyprus, nor the "genocide" of Armenians, nor on other important points. That is, Erdogan was clearly shown that Turkey is considered as a tool to fight against Russia, but no more than that.
Meanwhile, according to Fenenko, Russia and Turkey are fated to cooperation: "We are near to each other, we have a common need to form a market. For Russia, Turkey is a free access to the Mediterranean from the Black Sea, otherwise Russia is sealed again in the Black Sea. For Turkey, the possibility of partnership with Russia is the market of light industry, an access to nuclear power technologies, an opportunity to become a regional gas center, as well as the possibility of counterbalancing all its unfriendly neighbors. So, in this respect, real interests prevail over situational conflicts in Russian-Turkish relations.