Russia-Turkey Summit’s Message: ‘Europe is No Longer the Center of the World’

Russia-Turkey Summit’s Message: ‘Europe is No Longer the Center of the World’

In its analysis of the outcome of the talks between Presidents Putin and Erdogan earlier this week in St. Petersburg, Italian news magazine L’Espresso says it has sent two strong messages, telling Europe “it is no longer the center of the universe”, and demonstrating to the US that Turkey has “other strategic options on the table.”

 

“The resentment over the West is the real basis for the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey,” says an analytical piece in the magazine with regards to the results of the recent meeting between the Russian leader and his Turkish counterpart.

 

It further elaborates that “Moscow's primary objective is to redefine the existing system of alliances, which is full of ambiguities and is in a deep crisis and to get recognition in the Middle East and beyond.”

 

For Ankara, it says, it is to “escape from the quarantine isolation which it has found itself in after the government’s reaction to the failed coup in the country. And to find as many allies as possible in the region, where at a time when Syria is being wrecked, Shi'ite Iran is gaining momentum.”

 

The author also refers to the President Erdogan’s recent comment on Turkey’s relationship with the EU when he told the French Le Monde that the European Union has been teasing Turkey for 53 years and continues doing it up to now.

 

“The annoyance over failed attempts of a rapprochement with the European Union is what actually unites Russia and Turkey,” the outlet quotes Andrei Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) as saying.

 

The expert suggests that the discontent with the West is a strong uniting force which is able to offset the remaining discrepancies between the two countries.

 

Among the discrepancies, he says, is the different attitude towards Syrian President Assad: while Russia supports the Syrian leader, Turkey has been long demanding him to leave the office.

 

However the joint interests, which do not coincide with those of the US and EU, could finally prevail, Kortunov says.

 

Another point of discord is the Kurdish issue, the expert says. Until now Russia has been supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization.

 

Kortunov therefore suggests that “such support might be implicitly denied in exchange for the recognition by Ankara of the Kurdish community after the end of the military conflict.”

 

"It is a hard line of the Russian policy in the region," the expert stressed.

 

However the most difficult problem to solve is the relationship between the Sunni Turkey and its “main Shi'ite rival, Iran’, the outlet says, noting that it is not by chance that right before the meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St.Petersburg Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of Iran and Azerbaijan in Baku.

 

The relations between Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey remain tense due to the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh, where Azerbaijan is involved in an ethnic conflict with Armenia.

 

The magazine however notes that after Hassan Rouhani came to power in Iran, the tensions between the countries have eased, which has resulted in vast diplomatic consequences which in turn might serve as a basis for a new phase in Turkish-Persian relations.

 

“Moscow-Teharan-Ankara trio is now going to solve the problems in the Middle East,” L’Espresso suggests.

 

“Something that neither Washington nor the EU could have ever foreseen when a year ago they signed an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program lifting all nuclear related sanctions from Tehran so that it could return back into the system of international relationship,” it adds.

 

On the other hand, it says, pursuant to the agreement, the US did not renew its relationship with Saudi Arabia, “Iran’s archenemy”. Saudi allies of the US continue their standoff with Iran in Yemen and indirectly (through Wahabiite clergy and charities) finance Islamist fanatics all over the world.

 

L’Espresso suggests that the meeting between the two presidents has sent strong messages both to the EU and the US. It is telling Europe that “it is no longer the center of the universe.”

 

“The European leadership has found itself in new conditions and should now faster and more efficiently find right decisions,” it says.

 

It further explains that the customary world alliances are far from being strong and stable. Rapid changes are taking place in the system of international relations.

 

Russia and Turkey both pursue a principle which diplomats define as “constructive opportunism”: the countries try to achieve the maximum in given circumstances leaving aside any customary beliefs, including traditional alliances.

 

Such a strategy requires fantasy and originality, the abilities long forgotten by the leaders of the western politics.

 

The message to the US, it says, is that Turkey has “other strategic options on the table.”

 

 

World media monitoring

 

 

15.08.2016

 

 

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