Russian-Turkish friendship: will it be long-lasting?
Erdogan had to deal with the military elite, which has been determining the course of the Turkish state for last 93 years
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Many Western analysts conducted a parallel between Recep Erdogan and Vladimir Putin. Both politicians use the populist slogans and often pander to their audience. Erdogan is a benchmark populist in Turkey, just like Putin in Russia.
Warming of relations between Ankara and Moscow was caused by pressure of the Turkish business lobby on Erdogan. Turkish businessmen met with President Erdogan in the context of constitutional reforms. They agreed to ensure their deputies’ voting for the constitution reform in exchange for abandoning the hostility policy concerning Russia. In fact, they demanded from Erdogan to call Putin on peace. Turkish companies are losing tens of millions dollars because of the trade war with Russia. It is not only about tourism, but also about food and construction companies, which carried out major projects in Russia.
Erdogan is a very cynical and pragmatic politician. He easily abandoned enmity with Russia. Many European leaders informally said Erdogan that they will not fulfill their alliance commitments to Turkey if the Turks solve the large-scale conflict with Russia.
These developments have strengthened anti-Western sentiments among Turkish elites. The putsch can be considered as being initiated by the President of Turkey.
As you might know, the Turkish leader wants to look like the American model president, and to manage as the Russian president. The constitutional reform has faced a serious opposition of the Turkish political establishment, supported primarily by the army and the old elites.
Erdogan had to deal with the military elite, which has been determining the course of the Turkish state for last 93 years, since the establishment of the republic of Kemal Ataturk. During the last years, the Turkish president has been systematically destroying the army. He brought to justice more than 300 major generals. Some of them were released; many were sentenced to a term of about 20 years. Turks even joke that any military commander, who becomes brigadier general, automatically goes to prison.
Erdogan was prepared for all these events, because he arranged the long lists of those who would go to the prison in advance. Friday's events were not staged; it was a real attempt of a military coup. Maybe it was simulated by Erdogan’s intelligence agencies to cleanup his opponents.
Erdogan has stated about restoration of the death penalty in the country, and adoption of this decision would automatically withdraw Turkey from the list of the candidate countries for EU membership. The last execution in Turkey was carried out in 1984, as a result of the last military coup, about 50 Islamists were executed.
Under the pressure of circumstances, the constitutional reform is likely to be adopted. What does it mean for Turkey?
It is clear that misalliance with Putin would not last long; Turkey’s and Russia’s interests are facing in many regions. This alliance just cannot be long. America would not allow Turkey to go away from its orbit.
For Ukraine, the events in Turkey are not optimistic. The Turks do not officially recognize Crimea as a Russian territory, but they easily do their business there and invested large sums to the peninsula after 2014.
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