United World International expert Onur Sinan Güzaltan gave an interview to Russian news outlet ukraine.ru on Turkish-Russian relations.
Below we present the interview as published by ukraine.ru, the original text can be read here.
Subtitles were set by UWI.
“Turkey and Russia, in cooperation with other countries in the region, have to revise the concept of Eurasia. It will be better for Ankara and Moscow to approach problems not from the point of view of rivalry, but from the point of cooperation.”
This opinion was expressed by the Turkish political scientist Onur Sinan Güzaltan in an interview with a journalist from ukraine.ru.
According to Güzaltan, just as Russia’s good relations with Greece do not imply that they are against Turkey, Turkey’s relations with Ukraine should not be perceived as a move against Russia.
Turkey-Ukraine relations are not a barrier to good relations with Russia
Guzaltan answered a question on Turkish-Ukrainian relations as follows: “I can say that relations between states are by their nature based on rivalry. States have their own interests and sometimes these interests collide in different fields.
If we consider the Turkish-Russian-Ukrainian “triangle”, each of these countries has a long history, and a kind of common history: we also share common values. Turkey has a lot in common with Russia: history, culture, economic relations, military relations, strategic relations… At the same time, Turkey also has a common history with Ukraine.
Let’s analyze all these relationships not from the point of view of rivalry, but from the point of view of cooperation. I mean, Turkey has the right to have relations with Russia, or with Ukraine, or with any other country. Likewise, Russia can have relations with Turkey and relations with Greece. Therefore, when Turkey has relations with Ukraine, this does not mean that they are directed against Russia or against Russian interests in the region.”
Guzaltan believes that if the dialogue between Turkey, Russia and Ukraine improves, provocations of non-regional actors can be prevented.
“Ukraine has long wanted to participate in the Turkic Council, an organization whose members are various Turkic-speaking countries.
As you know, there is a Turkic population in Ukraine – as there is in Russia. Therefore, it is natural that Ukraine wants to be members of the Turkic Council. I can say that maybe tomorrow Russia will ask the same question – because Russia has a common history with all these Turkic republics in Central Asia, and Russia itself has a significant Turkic population living there. I repeat my answer to your first question: if Ukraine becomes a member of the Turkic Council tomorrow, this does not mean that this Council will become anti-Russian. This is just an interregional organization whose task is to establish a dialogue between the countries of our region.”
Russia could become a member of the Turkic Council
“So, I hope that in the future Russia will also become a member of this union – it has a common history with the Turkic republics and its own large Turkic population, so why not Russia, as well as Ukraine, become a member of the Turkic Council? Look, it seems to me, there is such a Russian proverb, I saw that even President Putin used it in his speech about the “Turkic world”: “scrape the Russian – you will find a Tatar”. And for us, Tatars are also part of the Turkic community. That is, Russian history is not too far from Turkic culture, we share the same culture.” the Turkish expert said.
Güzaltan made the following evaluations regarding Turkey-Russia relations; “If you look at Russian-Turkish relations from the bright side, you will see cooperation in various fields. For example, in the field of military industry. Turkey has purchased the S-400 air defense system from Russia, and in the future, it may ask to buy the S-500.
Another area in which we cooperate is nuclear energy, there is a joint Turkish-Russian project for the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.
In Syria, Turkey and Russia are sitting at the same table. Maybe we’re sitting on different sides of this table, but most importantly, we’re at the same table. If we have the will to cooperate, well, we have a lot of areas in which to do so, such as Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea, Libya, all of North Africa and the Middle East.
Again, it all depends on our point of view. Do we want to go together? Or do we want to cooperate in only one area and be rivals in others?”
Güzaltan also made evaluations about relations between Turkey and the West; “Turkey is still a member of NATO but at the same time, Turkey is fighting against NATO in different fields.”
Turkey’s indirect war with US
“Look at what’s happening in Syria. There, we fight terrorist groups that receive direct funding from Western powers, such as the PKK, PYD and YPG. These groups are directly supported by the United States. Just two days ago, American diplomats met with the leaders of these groups in northern Syria.
Let’s also remember the attempted military coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, made by the “Gulenists”, Fethullah Gülen’s group. This preacher and his group tried to make a coup in Turkey. Their leader Fethullah Gülen still lives in the United States. Turkey has repeatedly appealed to the United States to extradite him to Turkey, but the United States still refuses to extradite this terrorist leader.”
If we look for problems, we will certainly find them. However, on the bright side, we can also find many opportunities. For example, France and Germany: their whole history is a history of wars. But look how they now work together – two very dynamic columns of the European Union. They’re trying to create a union, and they’re doing it. Yes, sometimes they make mistakes, sometimes they are stronger, sometimes weaker, but still, they are trying to create this union.
We must rethink and revise the concept of Eurasia. We can do the same, we have a rich region. We are in the heart of the world. Let’s analyze things positively, from a different point of view – not rivalry, but cooperation. If we do so, we will find many points of contact between the countries of our region.” Güzaltan summed up.
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