The following is an update on Turkey-Russia relations:
Erdogan Proposes Co-Production Of S-500 With Russia
The US Senate has recently passed the 2019 defense bill, in which Turkey is excluded from the F-35 jets supply program. Meanwhile, Turkey has proposed to co-produce Russia’s next-generation S-500 air systems, even as the S-400 is still being delivered. "Russia provided us with a loan for the S-400 systems on very reasonable terms. We will get to joint production during the second and third stages [of the contract implementation]. I’ve also proposed that Russia produce the S-500 jointly [with Turkey],"Erdogan said.
(Rt.com, June 14, 2018)
According to Evgeny Buzhinsky, Lieutenant-General (ret.), former Deputy Head of the Main Department of International Military Cooperation of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense and chairman of the PIR Center’s Board, it is not certain that the S-400 deal will be successfully carried out.
Buzhinsky said: "Erdogan has long been playing these games with the Americans. I initially doubted that this deal could be finalized, but everything goes on like they will finally buy these S-400 systems. That is not a good signal for the US and NATO, because integration of the S-400 in alliance’s air defense system is a problem that could be solved theoretically, but NATO is not going to accept it." He then added: "Despite some of Erdogan’s peculiarities, Turkey is a NATO member state, and the country is not going to quit the alliance. We have to wait and see, but I cannot rule it out that the deal could be annulled at the last moment."
Concerning the co-production of S-500, Buzhinsky opined: "It is too early now to talk about the S-500 – Russia has not obtained them yet and is not going to sell them in the near future. I have doubts about any joint production, since Russia is unlikely to share such an advanced technology with Turkey. For the moment, we will equip our air and missile defense forces with the S-400. I doubt if we are ready to even jointly produce the S-400."
(Valdaiclub.com, June 20, 2018)
Turkish General Elections
Putin Congratulates With Erdogan For His Reelection
General elections were held in Turkey on 24 June 2018. Erdogan was re-elected as Turkey's president, while an alliance led by the AKP also won a majority in parliament.
Putin sent a message of greetings, stating that the results of the vote fully confirm Erdogan's political weight and the wide support of the policy pursued under his leadership.
The Kremlin's website reported: "Putin noted with satisfaction the progressive development of Russian-Turkish partner relations that have confidently reached a strategic level in certain areas. The Russian President reaffirmed his readiness to continue the substantive dialogue and close cooperation on the bilateral, regional and international agenda, stressing that this undoubtedly meets the fundamental interests of the peoples of Russia and Turkey, and the goals of ensuring peace, stability and security on the Eurasian continent."
(Kremlin.ru, June 25, 2018)
The two leaders also held a telephone conversation. Putin congratulated Erdogan and wished him success in further state administration. The presidents confirmed their mutual interest in expanding partnership between the two countries and noted as priorities joint strategic energy projects, including the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant and the TurkStream pipeline. Putin and Erdogan agreed to maintain close cooperation in the Syrian conflict resolution.
(Kremlin.ru, June 25, 2018)
Senator Kosachev: Russia-Turkish Relations Will Remain the same After The Elections. However, Erdogan is Erdogan, He Is Guided Exclusively By His Own And Turkish Interests
Commenting on Russia-Turkey relations, Senator Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Federation Council's International Affairs Committee, wrote in his Facebook page:
"According to my view, little will change in Russia-Turkey relations after the elections. Erdogan conducts his own policy line, unsusceptible to influence –neither by Turkey's allies in NATO nor by internal forces. Our relations remain lofty, and barring any serious regional changes, there will be no reasons for any deterioration on the bilateral track. This means that cooperation in the military–technical sphere will continue – in this realm the greater the criticism from Brussels, including partially over the purchase of Russian S-400 systems, the more the Turkish President acts with confidence. Erdogan accused NATO of a double standard, since Greece, another NATO member, possesses Russian S-300 systems while nobody reproaches it on the subject. Moreover, Erdogan persevered in his policy and proposed to Russia co-production of the S-500.
"The cooperation in combatting terror - including in the trilateral Astana format together with Iran– will also continue. This is extremely important for the Turkish leader himself, who claims a leading role in the region.
"But of course, Erdogan is Erdogan. He'll be guided exclusively by his own and Turkish interests, and by no other considerations. He plays a complicated and a tough game in both the regional and global context, frequently on the verge of a foul. Thus, future zigzags are quite possible. Yet, for the time being he is the victor and owns a popular mandate for another five years."
(Facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002123135703, June 25, 2018)
Turkey-Russia Cooperation in Syria
MP, Leonid Slutsky, chair, International affairs committee, Duma:
"Turkey is an important strategic partner for Russia. We fight international terror in Syria together, taking steps to guarantee security in the region. In this context, Erdogan's reelection, will ensure predictability in evolving Russian-Turkish relations on key issues on the international agenda and first and foremost the Syrian settlement".
(Ria.ru, June 25, 2018)
Russian Columnist Polyakova: 'A Lot Will Be Dependent On The State Of Turkish-American Relations – The Russia-Turkey Alliance for Erdogan Is More An Ad Hoc One'
Anna Polyakova, columnist for Vzglyad.ru outlet writes in her analytical article:
"When it comes to Russia, Erdogan looks forward to continuing close cooperation with Russia, including joint diplomatic initiatives in Syria. Yet, it should be admitted, that a lot will be dependent on the state of Turkish-American relations – the Russia-Turkey alliance for Erdogan is more an ad hoc one. Turkey began 'making friends' with Russia only after its cooperation with the West deteriorated and decided to buy Russian-made weapons after being refused American weaponry. But the wind may shift, while TANAP (the Trans-Anatolian pipeline) will provide Turkey with additional leverage over Moscow - merging the Russian 'Turkish Stream' with TANAP bears risks that Russia might lose control over commodity prices.
"Ankara has on more than one occasion demonstrated that it was an unreliable partner. As soon as some disagreements emerge– for example Russian policy in the Middle East – for Turkey, so it may threaten Moscow with disconnection from the gas redistribution hub."
(Vz.ru/politics, June 29, 2018)
Russian Expert Avatkov: Erdogan Really Tries To Quit The Pro-American Line; For Russia, Erdogan Is The Lesser Evil
Vladimir Avatkov, Senior Lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, a well-known Turkologist, opined:
"From the Russian point of view, the choice is between two evils: the entire Turkish political establishment is far from being pro-Russian. Erdogan is, in that case, the lesser evil, which means he is pro-Russian in the context of interior and exterior political situations. In his campaign, Erdogan actively used the factor of cooperation between Moscow and Ankara. One could assert that he really tries to quit the pro-American line: it is not about rhetoric, but about some real actions related to national interests and security issues. But his Western colleagues are weary of his attempts to play his own game, disobedience to NATO and usage of his confrontation with both the US and Europe as a positive factor in his election program. In case the West is unable to make a deal with Erdogan, it may try to destabilize the situation in the country."
(Valdaiclub.com, June 25, 2018)