May 21, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9347

Russia Reacts Coolly To Erdogan's Proposal To Establish Joint Middle East Peacekeeping Force

May 21, 2021
Russia, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 9347

Russia adopted a circumspect role during the fighting between Israel and Hamas, and contented itself with the usual bromides about the need to deescalate violence and avoid civilian casualties. The one opportunity for a more active Russian role came when Russia was invited by her frenemy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to participate in a peacekeeping contingent to the conflict zone. In a phone conversation Erdogan asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to back the proposal at the UN, given the countries shared position on the Jerusalem crisis.[1]

Erdogan explained to Putin that UN Security Council involvement in the situation was crucial and that the organization "should demonstrate a tough and decisive position to compel Israel to stop attacking" the Gaza Strip. Erdogan noted that one of the main mandates of the peacekeeping force was to protect the Palestinians"[2] Erdogan was effectively dangling before Putin the prize of greater Russian influence in the region and supplanting the US as the main peacemaker. The proposal did not entice Putin and press commentary was generally skeptical and claimed that Erdogan basically wanted to yoke Russia to a mission that would enhance Erdogan's position. Erdogan was challenged to back up his rhetoric with action and take on Israel. Only Petr Akopov a lead commentator for Ria Novosti and a consistent backer of cooperation between Ankara and Moscow voiced enthusiasm for the idea although he too conceded that currently the idea was unrealizable.

A report on the Russian reaction to the Turkish initiative follows below:

Erdogan and Putin (Source:

Stanislav Tarasov: Erdogan Needs Russia To Prop Up His Flimsy Position

Stanislav Tarasov, the editor of Regnum's Eastern edition, downplayed the idea of a great power concert to enforce peace because the powers are too divided between themselves. Additionally, previous experience with such clashes teaches us that the situation is expected to subside and world peace is not threatened.

"The fierce clashes between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, continue. However, considering the future scenarios of the conflict, many experts concur that, most likely, the current escalation will subside."

Turkey was the last country qualified to serve as a mediator. "According to Cumhuriyet media, Ankara has lost the opportunity to serve as a mediator to the conflict because, firstly, 'it collaborates with certain jihadist groups due to the country's intervention in the civil wars in Syria and Libya. Secondly, "Turkey's attempts to resume dialogue with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia made in order to avoid isolation in the region and in the Eastern Mediterranean were revealed.''

"Thus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a narrow space for maneuever due to the fact that his statements condemning Israel are not calculated to achieve any political result. The same is true for the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's call to create on the foreign ministers' level a task force of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member-states. A lot of diplomatic efforts, and most importantly, time are required to achieve this goal.

"Nevertheless, Erdogan decided to deploy a new method. As an example, he recalled the successful cooperation with Russia in ending the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Previously, for some reason, he compared the aggravation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the 'occupation'  of Nagorno-Karabakh. His logic is as follows: Israel, much as like Armenia, occupied the Palestinian lands. A military force was used in resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Later negotiations began between Moscow, Ankara, Baku and Yerevan begun, which led to the 'resolution of the Karabakh issue' without Western participation."

Tarasov also pointed to Erdogan's oscillating policy. "Last summer, Turkey called the steps made by the UAE and Bahrain to normalize relations with Israel hypocritical and a threat to the 'Palestinian cause.' However, at the beginning of December, the Turks started talking about an intention to strengthen ties with the Jewish state, which caused doubts about the sincerity of Ankara's approach towards the Palestinian issue. In March of this year the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the fact of ongoing Israeli-Turkish consultations. Turkey, which is practically alone in the Middle East, started to look for partners attempting to reconcile not only with the Jewish state, but also with Saudi Arabia and Egypt."

"Now Turkey has depicted Russia as the country's 'potential partner' in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because Erdogan's own authority and influence in the region is clearly not enough."[3]

Stanislav Tarasov (Source:

Senator Alexei Pushkov Pushkov claimed that the "Turkish leader clearly wants to make Turkey the first Muslim superpower in the modern era." Pushkov, however, derided Turkish pretensions in the current crisis: "An important statement by Erdogan, who recently called Jerusalem 'a Turkish city': But comparison with support for Azerbaijan creates an obligation. Does Erdogan intend to supply military drones and other weapons to the Palestinians, send them Turkish military advisers? After all, Israel is not Armenia. Therefore, it is possible that this will remain yet another loud rhetorical statement by Erdogan, calculated to assert Turkey's leadership in the Islamic world. But without practical actions, these statements will not produce the desired effect."[4]

Political Scientist Satanovsky: Erdogan Confuses Himself With Suleiman The Magnificent

Political scientist, Yevgeny Satanovsky who has long been critical of attempts by Russia to woo Erdogan, mocked the Turkish leader. Is he [Erdogan] by chance confusing himself with Suleiman the Magnificent or Mehmed the Conqueror?"

Satanovsky asked ironically whether Erdogan conflated Armenia and Karabakh with Israel. "If so, it's going to be a very big disappointment, and perhaps not the only one.". Satanovsky also recalled Erdogan's issues with Egypt and the Saudis, and concluded that Erdogan is trying to resolve such issues by making harsh anti-Israeli moves. However, Satanovsky doubts that Erdogan "will send a new "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" [like the 2010 incident] to the Gaza Strip, while Hamas is still engaged in shelling of Israel, and Israel Defense Forces [IDF] conduct retaliation strikes against Islamists."

"The Israelis without thinking twice will sink it, and this time [as opposed to the aftermath of 2010 flotilla] they probably won't apologize or pay compensation for the killed militants."

Satanovsky also scoffs at Erdogan's comparison with the Karabakh conflict: Will the Turkish military fight Israel as a part of the Palestinian Islamist forces, or will the Turks and pro-Turkish militants be deployed against IDF directly?"

"I'm dying to see them try. Well, to each his own. The Turks have a mind of their own, they should know better than to look for troubles. [Meanwhile], let's grab seats. The show is going to be interesting." concluded Satanovsky.[5]

Dmitry Drize: Russia Currently Has Too Many Problems On Its Plate To Buy Into Erdogan's Scheme

Kommersant's Dmitry Drize also claimed that Erdogan's proposal was a non-starter: "Erdogan would probably prefer to play a more significant role in resolution of the Palestinian issue, because of his claims for regional leadership. Perhaps this fact explains his offer to Putin to somewhat curb US actions in this regard… [Erdogan] proposes to create some sort of coalition, an alternative influence group and try to wrest the political initiative [on this issue from the US] …

"Obviously Erdogan is weaving one of his schemes. But, most likely, the Turkish president's attempt is doomed to failure. His plans for a joint coalition won't be realized.

"It seems that Russia is no longer trying to actively intervene and play the mediator's role between Israel and Hamas. The Kremlin has its hands full with Syria and Libya and has no time for Israel now.

"Also, it's hard to tell what Russia is trying to achieve in this region. It is clear that the country is more concerned with the upcoming [Duma] elections and defending itself from foreign influence. We have our own struggles. For example, Ukraine does not want to be reasonable and return to constructive dialog. In sum, there are a lot of unresolved issues at home. However, the leadership in the Middle East means a lot. Thus, it's no wonder that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to seize the initiative." [6]

Petr Akopov: Erdogan's Proposal Is Worthy And Designed To Defuse A Powder Keg That Could Lead To Armageddon

In a lengthy article for RIA Novosti Peter Akopov voiced enthusiasm for Turkish-Russian collaboration in solving the root causes of the problem– the absence of Palestinian statehood and Israel's control of Jerusalem that the Moslem world will never tolerate. The problem had to be solved before it endangered the world. As the US was a declining power, Israel was best advised to make peace while it could.

"Turkey is the successor to the Ottoman Empire, which a hundred years ago ruled over Jerusalem and all of Palestine. Russia is the successor both to the Russian Empire (which protected Christians in the Holy Land) and to the Soviet Union (which provided support to the Arabs in their struggle to create a Palestinian state). Over the years since the beginning of our Syrian operation Russia and Turkey, cooperating and quarreling, antagonizing each other and reaching compromises, have become the most active players in the Middle East."

Akopov recommends returning to the 1947 consensus of partitioning Palestine and establishing a separate regime for the Jerusalem: "After the holocaust of European Jewry in the Second World War the two confrontational parties, the USSR and the West have reached a consensus on the issue of creation of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine on the territory of Palestine. But the state of Palestine was not created due to the wars that broke out immediately between the Arabs and the Jews. Later, after 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem (including the old city) the situation aggravated still further. Previously, pursuant to UN decisions, Jerusalem was supposed to become a special administrative unit under the control of the international community. But Israel has begun its gradual expansion, wanting to assert control over the city de jure and de facto...

"The current conflict, by a symbolic coincidence, began on the eve of Quds Day that is Jerusalem Day celebrated by all Muslims on May 7.

"On May 4, clashes broke out in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The Israeli police tried to evict several Palestinian families from their homes in order to give them to Jews. The next day, in the West Bank a 16-year-old Palestinian was killed. On May 7 hostilities began on the Temple Mount and the Israeli military stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This happened not just on Quds Day but also at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. So, the reaction of the Islamic world to unfolding events is not hard to foresee. The video of the Jews joyously dancing against the background of the fire on the Temple Mount only contributed to the Islamic world's conviction that Israel wants to take and destroy their holy places and build the so-called 'Third Temple' in their place. "

"More importantly, the current exacerbation has fundamental, unresolved reasons - the non-existence of a Palestinian state and Israel's claim to authority over the historic city of Jerusalem. The situation won't change without dealing with the aforementioned issues, because 'small victorious wars' will constantly erupt. Sooner or later one of these wars will lead to a large-scale war (not to just regional conflict).

"The truism that 'Jerusalem is the powder keg of mankind' should not yield the conclusion that one shouldn't act and just wait until the situation is resolved by itself. The world only aggravates the problem by postponing the decision. The resolution of this problem would attest to the world powers' ability to reach compromise with each other at least in order to prevent catastrophe.

"The main thing that prevents the conflict settlement is the fact that the state of Israel basically is the US branch in the Middle East. The globalist-minded part of the American elites (which includes Puritans and Protestants elites, who considered themselves to be the 'New Israel') believes that the protection of Israel is an absolute priority for America. This fact explains the absolutely strategically suicidal Israeli stubbornness on the Palestinian issue and on Jerusalem. Even the calls of Israelis who insist on the imperative of peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue receives no consideration.

"Israel offers to the Palestinians an inferior, dependent "state" and demands the rejection of claims to Jerusalem, knowing very well that neither the Palestinians nor the Islamic world as a whole will ever accept such conditions. That is, Israel puts his bet on strength, and not even on its own strength, but on that of the Americans and on endless tricks, i.e. on attempts to negotiate a settlement with each Arab states.

"But what will happen when American authority will weaken and not only in the Middle East, but globally? This is an inevitable scenario in the medium term. What happens when it becomes impossible to contain Palestinians in reservations like Gaza? What will happen when the Arab world overcomes the [ongoing] crisis, confusion, commotion and gets rid of external influence?

"The modern Israeli elite don't want to give an answer to these questions, believing that power parity will always be in favor of Israel. But the world is changing rapidly. The Atlantic, Anglo-Saxon world order is becoming a thing of the past. If Israel wants to survive, then it will have to turn from a Western project into a normal state, reach a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians and make peace with the Arabs. There is no alternative to this scenario. Any delay in the settlement of the Palestinian issue only makes the future military attempts of Muslims to resolve it bloodier. There are no doubts that such attempts will happen. Israel has issues not with Iran (as Tel Aviv claims) but with the one and a half billion Islamic world, which will never abandon its claims to Jerusalem. The Catholics and Orthodox too are concerned with the holy city's fate.

"The only exit from the ever-aggravating stalemate lies in UN General Assembly resolution No. 181 of November 29, 1947 on the partition of Palestine, which provides for the creation of two states. The resolution provides for the international community to assert control over Jerusalem. The city will become a separate region under the control of the UN with a special international regime. Perhaps implementation of the old concept will break the cycle of violence and hatred.

"After all, this is in the interests of not only all of the Jerusalem residents, but also of all civilizations, both Christian and Muslim ones. [This is probably] in the interests of the entire world, because the new 'Armageddon' will affect both Buddhists and atheists. Also, the rejection of the claims over Jerusalem will strategically save Israel, although many there do not want to understand and recognize this truth.

"Erdogan's offer to Putin is unrealizable now, but in the short term, the world community (with the active participation of Russia) should address the problem of Jerusalem. It's not too late."[7]

Petr Akopov (Source:


[1], May 13, 2021.

[2], May, 12, 2021.

[3], May 15, 2021.

[4], May 14, 2021.

[5], May 15, 2021.

[6], May 13, 2021

[7], May 13, 2021.

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