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October 29, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8999

Russian Expert Mirzanyan: Ukraine Is Coming Under Turkey's Influence, But Shouldn't Trust It – In The 17th Century, The Turks Cooperated With The Cossacks And Robbed Them At The Same Time

October 29, 2020
Russia, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8999

On October 18, 2020, following the October 16 meeting in Ankara between Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, foreign policy and politics expert Gevorg Mirzayan wrote an article stating that Ukraine is returning to the state of the Zaporozhian Sich, a semi-autonomous polity and proto-state of Cossacks that came under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century.

According to Mirzanyan, as happened to the state of the Zaporozhian Sich, Ukraine is coming under Turkish influence. Quoting Ukrainian expert Anatoly Oktisyuk, Mirzanyan wrote that Turkey is expanding its presence in Ukraine: "[Turkey] wants to buy up land, be engaged in the gambling business and in road construction. And the Ukrainians are not against it at all – some even call for a Turkish base to be built on Ukrainian soil."

Mirzanyan concluded by stating that Ukraine should learn from history and not trust Turkey: "Ukrainian leaders should learn the history of Zaporozhian Sich. Then they will learn that in the infamous 17th century, the Turks not only cooperated with the Cossacks against Moscow, but also unabashedly robbed the same Cossacks, replenishing their slave markets with future Ukrainians."

It is worth noting that a joint statement, issued following the October 16 meeting in Ankara between Zelensky and Erdoğan, read in part: "We agree to continue our efforts towards de-occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as restoration of Ukraine's control over certain areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine."[1]

During a joint press conference, Erdoğan also stated: "We have and always will support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, including over Crimea."[2] In fact, Erdoğan has stressed more than once the country's commitment to defend Crimean Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group, saying in 2018: "Turkey will continue to defend the rights and interests of the Crimean Tatars, irrespective of whether they live in Crimea or had to leave the region following the occupation."[3]

It must be stressed that, in the October 16 meeting, Zelensky called on Erdoğan to play an important role in the work of the anti-Kremlin Crimean platform, saying: "We hope for a serious role of Turkey in this issue. After all, is it possible to solve something without Turkey in our region? Definitely, not."[4]

Below is Mirzanyan's article in pro-Kremlin media outlet Vz.ru:[5]


(Source: Ukrinform.net)

"'Poland And Turkey Are Becoming The Two Main Partners Of Ukraine In Containing Russia – Everything Is Like It Was In The 17th Century'"

"Kiev loudly rejoices at the results of President Zelensky's visit to Ankara, and calls on Erdoğan to take part in the so-called 'Crimean platform.' What interests unite Ukraine and Turkey, how do the two states intend to jointly confront Russia, and why does such cooperation pose a threat primarily to Ukraine itself?

"Many Russian experts write that Ukraine is returning to the state of the Zaporozhian Sich[6] – it deindustrializes and dismantles state institutions. However, it also returns from the point of view of its geopolitical concepts. 'That's why Poland and Turkey are becoming the two main partners of Ukraine in containing Russia. Everything is like it was in the 17th century,' Anatoly Oktisyuk, a Ukrainian political scientist and analyst at the House of Democracy Center, told the Vzglyad newspaper."

'Everyone In Kiev Understands That Turkey Means Technology And Money'; 'The Tatar Community Is Sure That Turkey Will Help To Bring Back Crimea'

"The close partnership between Kiev and Ankara began under Petro Poroshenko, when he tried to squeeze the Russian Orthodox Church out of Ukraine by acquiring a tomos[7] from Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Without the help of Erdoğan (who not only keeps Bartholomew on a leash, but can also muzzle the patriarch – as it was during the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque), there would be no tomos for Kiev. In addition, Turkey financed Crimean Tatar terrorist organizations that fled from Crimea to Kherson and Kiev.

"After Zelensky's arrival [at the office], relations with Erdoğan initially cooled. 'The new President was focused on a dialogue with the Russians. Now he believes that Russia is not ready to return Crimea and the Donbass, as well as to normalization of relations to the level of 2013. At the same time, everyone in Kiev understands that Turkey means technology and money, and it is also a country that can put pressure on Moscow. The Tatar community is even sure that Turkey will help to bring back Crimea,' continued Anatoly Oktisyuk.

"That is why Zelensky went to Ankara – and returned with a full bag of both promises and pastries [i.e., bonuses]. So, the Ukrainian president managed to bring the 'Turkish sultan's' [attention] to the Crimean issue. And the main point is not that the final declaration of the summit stated Turkey's intention to 'make effort' aimed at the 'de-occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.' This is just a routine statement that Erdoğan makes regularly. The point is that Zelensky said that Erdoğan is ready to join the so-called 'Crimean platform' – an instrument for consolidation of international partners aimed at the protection of the rights of Crimeans and the de-occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula.

"The Turkish leader himself did not confirm these aspirations, yet he did not deny them either. Why would he refute them if Russia's Crimea is part of Erdoğan's 'Turkish world'? Ankara has invested millions of dollars in the creation of its influence groups on the territory of Crimea (back when it was Ukrainian), including semi-terrorist organizations consisting of Crimean Tatars. Naturally, Turkey was extremely dissatisfied, when after 2014 FSB cleared the peninsula of these groups, and now is actively funding Crimean-Tatar extremists in Ukraine. And here the interests of Zelensky and Erdoğan converge – neither of them needs Russian Crimea."

Turkey Supports Also The Restoration Of Ukraine's Control Over Certain Areas Of The Donetsk And Luhansk Regions

"However, it is not just Crimea. In the very same final declaration of the summit, it was mentioned about Turkey's intention to support 'the restoration of Ukraine's control over certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.' And now it became clear how [it would be accomplished]: by supplying weapons to Kiev.

"Kiev signed a framework agreement on military cooperation with Ankara, which provides for 'deep cooperation in 21 areas.' The parties expressed their intention to 'start and implement joint projects on the construction of warships, UAVs and turbine engines of all types.' Especially interesting here are the drones, which, according to Zelensky, 'can radically change the situation on the battlefield.'

"Ukraine (which had previously purchased six 'Bayraktar' UAVs from Turkey) planned to purchase from Turkey another six to 12 'Bayraktar' TB2 complexes (each complex has four gliders and one base station). And they will probably be produced in Ukraine, at least a large-scale assembly will be done there. That gives Kiev not only new opportunities to kill Russian people in the Donbass and bomb the cities of the LPR and DPR, but also the technology for the drones' production. And, as a cherry on the cake, Turkey gave Ukraine about 25 million dollars for defense needs.

"But what does Turkey get in exchange for this help? Improved relations with the great Ukrainian power?"

"'Turkey Is Expanding Its Presence In Ukraine'"

"Erdoğan can say as much as he likes that Turkey sees 'Ukraine as a key country in terms of security and stability of our region.' Everyone is well aware of Ukraine's place in the regional 'food chain,' and some believe that Ankara's activity in Kiev is fraught with problems for Erdoğan, especially with Russia. 'If Turkey actually joins the so-called Kiev project "Crimean Platform," which is essentially an anti-Kremlin alliance hostile to the Crimeans, it will make a serious strategic mistake,' said Yuri Gempel, head of the Crimean parliament's Committee On Popular Diplomacy and Inter-Ethnic Relations.

"However, in geopolitical terms, Turkey will activate another point of tension on the Russia periphery in addition to the existing footholds in the countries of the 'Turkic world' (Azerbaijan and Central Asian states). After that, at least, it will be able to put pressure on Russia to get concessions on Syria, and as a plan maximum – to strengthen the ideology of the 'Turkic world' throughout the regions of the Russian Federation.

"As for the immediate economic benefits for Ankara from developing relations with Kiev, they are obvious. 'Turkey is expanding its presence in Ukraine. [Turkey] wants to buy up land, be engaged in the gambling business and in road construction. And the Ukrainians are not against it at all – some even call for a Turkish base to be built on Ukrainian soil,' said Anatoly Oktisyuk.

"Zelensky said that soon Ukraine and Turkey will sign an agreement on a free trade zone [FTZ]. The parties have not been able to reach an agreement on it... because, according to Kiev political analyst Ruslan Bortnik, 'the Turkish side offers to sign the FTZ without including the agricultural sector, since it does not want to see strong Ukrainian competitors on its market, while Ukrainian lobbyists are trying to prevent Turkey from entering the Ukrainian light industry market.' Now, probably, the issue will be decided in favor of Ankara...

"In general, Ukrainian leaders should learn the history of the Zaporozhian Sich. Then they will learn that in the infamous 17th century the Turks not only cooperated with the Cossacks against Moscow, but also unabashedly robbed the same Cossacks, replenishing their slave markets with future Ukrainians. So if one decides to go back to the times of Sich, it should be all the way."

 

[2] Dailysabah.com/politics/diplomacy/turkey-doesnt-never-will-recognize-illegal-annexation-of-crimea-erdogan-says, October 16, 2020.

[3] Tccb.gov.tr/en/news/542/99528/-turkey-will-continue-to-defend-the-rights-and-interests-of-the-crimean-tatars-, accessed November 3, 2018.

[4] En.interfax.com.ua/news/general/695651.html, October 16, 2020.

[5] Vz.ru, October 18, 2020.

[6] The Zaporozhian Sich was proto-state of Cossacks in the 16th to 18th centuries.

See: Encyclopediaofukraine.com/display.asp?linkpath=pages%5CZ%5CA%5CZaporozhianSich.htm, accessed October 28, 2020.

[7] In the Eastern Orthodox Church, a tomos is a decree of the head of a particular Orthodox church on certain matters. Here the author is referring to the tomos of Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, granted in 2019.

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