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Erdogan’s diplomacy with Russia alarms the West – FT – RT World News


Western officials are “increasingly alarmed” Turkey, a NATO ally and potential EU member, is deepening its cooperation with Russia, the Financial Times reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently returned from Sochi promising to boost trade after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Six unnamed Western officials told the newspaper that they were “concerned” about Russia’s and Turkey’s plans to cooperate in trade and energy. EU official says Brussels is monitoring relations between Ankara and Moscow “more and more closely” given how Turkey seems to be “more and more” become a platform for trade with Russia.

After a four-hour meeting with Putin on Friday, Erdogan hailed Russia’s role in building a nuclear power plant in Turkey. The two nations aim for a bilateral trade turnover of 100 billion dollars and cooperate against terrorism and towards peace in Libya and Syria.

Putin promised that Russia would supply Turkey with oil, gas and coal “without any interruption”, after the two leaders agreed that Ankara would pay for some of this gas in rubles.


Another official told the newspaper that Erdogan’s behavior is “very opportunistic” adding that “We try to make the Turks pay attention to our concerns.”

Although a member of NATO since 1952 and an EU candidate since 1987, Turkey has broken with the two blocs on several occasions, most recently over the conflict in Ukraine.

Erdogan described his diplomacy with Kyiv and Moscow as “balance,” and refused to sanction Russia for its military operation. Turkey is the only NATO country not to impose such sanctions.

Erdogan also used the occasion to hold peace talks between the countries in March, which ultimately bore no fruit. Since then, however, he has won acclaim for overseeing the talks that led to the resumption of grain shipments across the Black Sea from Ukrainian ports. As the Financial Times article went online on Saturday, the first ship carrying Ukrainian corn arrived in Istanbul to be inspected by Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian and UN officials.

Officials who spoke to the Financial Times said there had been no talks in Brussels about possible sanctions against Turkey, but individual members could possibly reduce their financial or trade cooperation with the country. . While Washington has warned that it will punish countries circumventing its sanctions on Russia with “secondary penalties” there is no indication that the US or the EU will take this action against Turkey.


Erdogan’s diplomacy with Russia alarms the West – FT – RT World News

Ultimately, Turkey holds enough clout to break with its Western allies on occasion. Its role in hosting some 3.7 million migrants since 2015 who would have otherwise traveled to Europe has won it concessions from the EU, while its strategically vital location – Incirlik Air Base in Adana is within striking distance of all of the United States’ most recent theaters of war in the Middle East – giving it influence over its NATO allies.

Despite intense pressure from the United States, Turkey has integrated the Russian S-400 air defense system into its army and has obstructed Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership in an attempt to bring the two on board. country to its repression of Kurdish groups that Ankara regards as terrorists. .

At present, the only concrete repercussions suggested by Western officials would involve individual countries asking their banks and companies to withdraw from Turkey, but that is unlikely to happen, according to FT.

“There are very important economic interests that would probably fight hard against such negative actions,” said a European official, who nevertheless added that he “do not rule out any negative action [if] Turkey is getting too close to Russia.


RT

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