Turkey manifests itself in the war between Russia and Ukraine as a mediator. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the only foreign leader to have spoken with both Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin. Thanks to him came there Cereal Deal – Now Pending The prisoners were exchanged. But what is Turkey’s position actually?
Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs Faruk Kaymakci, who has been in the Netherlands for a few days, wants to stress that his country condemns the “unjust and cruel” war against Ukraine. Turkey also maintains the territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine. “But,” he says news hour“Both countries are our strategic partners. Unfortunately, we are facing this war.”
Turkey supports Ukraine by sending drones, but at the same time it strengthens relations with Russia. This is what matters to the West. It is clear to the Turkish Deputy Minister: “We are in this very strange situation because of the policy of the West. But if you ask about the place of Turkey, Europe, Turkey, the nature of Turkey and the future of Turkey, it is in the European Union.”
According to the Deputy Minister, the fact that this has not happened is mainly due to the European Union itself. He said his country has been marginalized, discriminated against and pushed out of the EU system as a candidate for membership in recent years.
Turkey correspondent Mitra Nazar: “Of course Turkey wants to join the European Union, because that is good for the stability of the Turkish economy. But the problem is that the country under Erdogan is becoming increasingly isolated from European values and democratic principles.”
Under Erdogan, repressive laws have been passed and the judiciary and freedom of the press have come under increasing pressure. The EU is clear about the requirements for EU membership: Turkey must reform and change. “But the situation here is somewhat sloppy,” says Nizar.
Erdogan, who has a good relationship with Putin, has also not imposed far-reaching sanctions on Russia. “Each country sets its own procedures,” Kaymakji says. Turkey only wants UN sanctions and has problems with EU sanctions. If there are no consultations or dialogue between candidate Turkey and the EU, how do you expect Turkey to follow EU sanctions that also harm Turkey’s interests?
Turkey can hardly do otherwise. The country is 45 percent dependent on Russian gas, and Russian tourists are also important to the economy. Imposing sanctions on Russia would have a huge impact. That is why Turkey only wants to consider sanctions against Russia if there is solidarity between member states, and countries that help each other. Or, as Kaymakci says: “If there is a better mutual understanding between Turkey and the European Union.” Only then, as far as the matter is concerned, can collective action be taken in the future. For now, he describes that as unrealistic.
For example, Erdogan’s Turkey is maneuvering through a changing world with a complex balance between the West, Ukraine and Russia. How long can that last?
At least as long as Erdogan gets things done with Putin that way. Because this is useful for NATO allies. “Of course they are now looking to Turkey again to facilitate that grain deal. Erdogan can act as a mediator and peacemaker in this way,” says Nizar. He wants to show that he is indispensable on the world stage.”
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