Fake Provocations In The Family And Male Friendship: Why Erdoğan Receives Putin

There is a male friendship between Putin and Erdoğan from which both ultimately benefit. image: pool sputnik kremlin / Alexandr Demyanchuk
Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin has few friends on the world political stage. While the USA and its allies increasingly isolate themselves from him, one NATO member still welcomes Putin with open arms. When fake provocations begin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a reliable partner for protection on the consequences of heavy and useless interference damage.
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The Turkish president has invited the convicted war criminal to Turkey. According to reports, the meeting will take place next Monday. Putin is on the international wanted list because of Russia’s mass child abductions in Ukraine. Will Turkey extradite him? Hardly likely.

Putin and Erdoğan are on the same wavelength

“The gentlemen are pretty similar when it comes to democratic governance and hegemonic demands in regional and world politics,” says Gürbey in response to Watson’s query. She is a private lecturer at the Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science at the Free University of Berlin.

According to her, Putin has nothing to fear during his visit. Because: “Turkey has not signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Furthermore, it is also in the interest of the West – i.e. the USA, NATO and EU triad – that Turkey, as a NATO country, has a direct line to Russia,” says the Expert. Erdoğan can therefore once again act as a mediator, as he did with the grain agreement between Ukraine and Russia.

According to Gürbey, meetings between Putin and Erdoğan have been increasing since August 2016. Since then, the Turkish president has been gradually expanding relations with Russia. Now Turkey will be the first NATO country that Putin visits since Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine in February 2022. “Putin can thereby show that he is not isolated on the international stage,” says Gürbey.

She states:”With a view to the upcoming local elections in Turkey and the presidential election in Russia in March, both sides will currently benefit from this visit in terms of domestic policy, but also in terms of foreign policy, showing strength to the outside world.”

A win-win situation for both rulers. For the CDU/CSU’s foreign policy spokesman, Jürgen Hardt, “Putin’s visit to Turkey is quite a fake for both sides.”

Union criticizes Putin’s visit to Türkiye

Hardt also emphasizes that Putin is largely isolated internationally. “He has to grab every straw to appear internationally and feign normality. But he can’t expect anything politically from this visit,” says the CDU man. Because: Turkish weapons help Ukraine in its defense campaign, and the visit will not change that.

But Erdoğan is also playing a game about television images.

For the Union’s foreign policy spokesman, Jürgen Hardt, Putin’s visit to Turkey is “quite a fake.”

According to Hardt, Erdoğan wants to use Putin’s visit to convince people in Turkey that he is not dependent on the EU and the USA. “Erdoğan’s dance between the worlds may be impressive in Turkish coffee houses in the countryside,” says the CDU politician. In view of Turkey’s massive economic and security policy problems, there is no way around a close relationship with the West. And Erdoğan knows that.

“Erdoğan’s time would be better invested in strengthening a trusting relationship with the EU and the USA. That would be in the interests of Turkey and its people,” says Hardt. However, the USA or the West currently have little respect among the Turkish population, explains political scientist Gürbey.

On the contrary: Putin and Russia enjoy a reputation that should not be underestimated. There is even some understanding for the war of aggression. “With reference to the fact that the USA, NATO and the EU are inciting this war in order to weaken Putin and Russia.” According to Nils Schmid, the SPD’s foreign policy spokesman, Erdoğan is aware of his country’s special position within NATO.

SPD demands a clear commitment to Ukraine from Erdoğan

According to Schmid, Turkey is an indispensable partner on NATO’s southeastern flank. “This gives Erdoğan a certain amount of room for maneuver, which he knows how to use very well. However, Turkey’s circumvention of the sanctions against Russia is a serious problem,” he said in response to Watson’s query.

Nils Schmid (SPD) is critical of Turkey’s circumvention of sanctions against Russia.

Schmid demands:” We should make clear to Erdoğan our expectations that he will clearly condemn the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity by the Russian war of aggression and call on President Putin to end this completely unjustified war.”

If Erdoğan were to succeed in wringing substantial concessions from Putin, this would benefit his international reputation, the Social Democrat explains. But this is not realistic. “Putin is not one to make any concessions without asking a price for them.”

It remains to be seen whether there will be any results from the conversation. “But in the past, Turkey certainly played a constructive role in connection with the war in Ukraine,” says Schmid. According to him, the EU would welcome the establishment of a new, functioning grain corridor and thus safe shipping routes through the Black Sea.

What Erdoğan hopes to achieve from the meeting with Putin

If Erdoğan were to succeed in a new grain agreement, he could once again underline his own role as a mediator, says expert Gürbey. This also shows that Turkey is strategically indispensable for the West.

This approach increases the country’s political and strategic scope for action. “In other words, this is how Erdoğan and his government manage to support Ukraine with military goods and at the same time not take part in Western sanctions against Russia,” says Gürbey.

In addition, there are energy policy interests that connect Turkey and Russia.

“On the one hand, Turkey purchases natural gas from Russia, and on the other hand, both sides want to convert Turkey into a transit center for Russian gas,” says Gürbey. Russia would sell its gas to the West via Turkey – and Turkey would also earn money.

Last but not least, both countries are also involved militarily in Syria and the Caucasus and here it is important to “weigh up strategic interests and enter into alliances of convenience,” explains the expert. SPD politician Schmid adds: “Turkey is aiming for a direct transport corridor to Azerbaijan.” The country hopes that this will result in better economic development for the Caucasus and Central Asia. But that wouldn’t work without Russia’s consent.

For the FDP’s foreign policy spokesman, Ulrich Lechte, the matter is clear: “Putin’s visit to Turkey is a deliberate provocation.” Erdoğan is trying to once again portray Turkey as a global mediator, he said when asked by Watson.

According to the FDP, Erdoğan wants to polish Turkey’s reputation with Putin’s visit

In reality, Erdoğan is pursuing his own opportunistic goals – namely, to upgrade Turkey as an influential country with open channels for discussion. According to Lechte, Erdoğan has been pursuing a seesaw foreign policy policy for years.

The FDP politician says:”It is well known that Erdoğan always demands concessions for foreign policy and only recently became clear again when Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO.”

At the same time, together with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, he is probably “one of the last heads of government in our defense alliance who still has personal access to the Russian president,” explains Lechte. This would allow them to exert possible influence.

According to Ulrich Lechte (FDP), Erdoğan is pursuing a seesaw foreign policy.

The FDP politician nevertheless assumes that NATO member states in particular will criticize Putin’s visit. The content of the meeting will probably be about the war in Ukraine and the associated grain agreement.

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