Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Little Has Changed Between Turkey, Russia Despite Reconciliation"

Whenever I think about Turkish-Russian relations I think of this painting:

That's "Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks" by Repin, hanging in the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

As the story goes, in 1676 the Turkish Sultan, despite being beaten by the Cossacks when he tried to invade what is now southern Ukraine, demanded these guys surrender and submit to Turkish rule.

As can be seen, the Cossacks thought this was the funniest thing they had ever heard and wrote a letter in response.
A very profane, very defiant, very vulgar, very contemptuous letter.

These old boys just cracked themselves up with their letter.
And that's what I think of when I think of Russians and Turks.

From al-Monitor:
After Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet along the Syrian border on Nov. 24, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of “serious consequences for Russia's relationship with Turkey.” He described the incident as a “stab in the back,” sending a message to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he saw the downing of the plane as a betrayal. Russia soon slapped economic sanctions on Turkey, and the $38 billion trade volume between the two countries began to shrink. Turkey was seriously hurt, as many sectors of its economy ran into a wall.

Seven months later, on June 27, 2016, Erdogan sent a letter of apology to Putin, setting off the normalization process that would bring the two leaders together in St. Petersburg on Aug. 9. Because the meeting opened a new chapter in bilateral ties, the way in which the two leaders addressed each other escaped no one's attention. While Erdogan repeatedly called Putin “my dear friend” and an “esteemed statesman,” Putin responded only with “Mr. Erdogan.” Similarly, the Turkish leader pledged to “rapidly take relations back to their level before Nov. 24, 2015, and even further,” while Putin said that restoring ties to their pre-crisis level “will take time.”

In remarks to Germany’s ARD television network, Sergei Stepashin, a former head of Russia’s Federal Security Service and a Putin confidant, described the Russian president as someone who “never forgives those who deceive, betray or insult him even once.” In addition, according to retired Turkish Adm. Turker Erturk, former commander of the Naval Military School, Putin still distrusts Erdogan. “Those who apologize easily betray easily. Putin knows that,” Erturk opined in an article on his personal blog.

Since Turkey's apology, Erdogan and Putin have met three times, and agreements have been signed to restore economic ties. Despite this, little has changed.

In a gesture to Moscow, Ankara accorded it “strategic investment” status for the $22 billion nuclear plant that the Russians are building in Turkey, a privilege that entitles the project to incentives and financial supports worth billions of dollars. Then, in the presence of Putin and Erdogan on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, the two countries' energy ministers signed an accord for the construction of the $12.5 billion Turkish Stream gas pipeline....MORE
Also at al-Monitor:
Does Turkey have upper hand in EU membership battle?