United World International expert Mehmet Perinçek was Dmitry Leskov’s guest on the live broadcast of the Russian state channel OTR on 7 June 2022.
In the program, Turkey’s geopolitics, from the possible Syrian operation of the Turkish Army to Turkey-NATO relations, were discussed. We have prepared the transcript of the program in English for Uwidata readers.
Dmitry Lyskov: According to world media, Russia and Turkey have reached a preliminary agreement on the supply of Ukrainian agricultural products through the Black Sea. Turkey did not join the anti-Russian sanctions and blocked the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO. At the same time, while preparing for the next special operation in Syria, it continues to cooperate with official Kyiv. Relations between our countries cannot be called simple, but what cannot be denied is the fact that Turkey today is pursuing a completely independent foreign policy. How does it work for a NATO member and a candidate for EU membership? That’s what we’re going to discuss right now.
Mehmet Perinçek, doctor of historical sciences, a political scientist from Turkey, is in our studio. Mehmet Bey, hello.
Mehmet Perinçek: Hello!
Turkey has already become a target of NATO
Dmitry Lyskov: Mehmet Bey, this is really interesting. We have just discussed the situation about Serbia. NATO countries voted against Lavrov’s visit. In fact, they didn’t even vote, but they voted against Lavrov’s visit to Serbia in USA. And that’s it, they banned it. And the USA stressed that it was their sovereign decision. Turkey is a member of NATO, and yet here we see a genuinely independent policy. How does it work?
Mehmet Perinçek: Well, this is not surprising, because Turkey has very serious problems with NATO and with NATO countries, especially the United States. Well, Turkey is de jure, officially a NATO member, but it has already become a target of NATO. Turkey has very huge problems with the US and NATO on the Syrian issue, because the Americans support the PKK terror organization in Syria and they…
Dmitry Lyskov: This is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, let’s clarify for our viewers.
Mehmet Perinçek: Yes. And they provide for these separatists, this terrorist organization, they provide material support. Even they call this terrorist organization their ‘land forces’. And for Washington, not Turkey but the PKK is the main ally in the Middle East. Therefore, Turkey, yes, is a member of NATO, but the Turkish army is almost fighting with US allies in Syria, there is nearly a war between Turkey and the US.
There are not only problems in Syria; there is also a very serious, huge confrontation between Turkey and the US and in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Americans created an anti-Turkish bloc there. This block includes – of course – the United States and also Greece, France, Israel, and South Cyprus. Also, these countries conduct military naval exercises against Turkey, and they completely ignore the interests and international rights of Turkey in this region. They surround Turkey from the Aegean Sea and from Thrace. Of course, these US plans in Ukraine are… Well, first of all, it is against Russia, but by encircling Russia, the United States is also encircling Turkey from the Black Sea and from Ukraine. On the other hand, the Americans organized a military coup recently, just 7 years ago…
NATO countries have become a nest for terror organizations
Dmitry Lyskov: Yes, 7 years ago.
Mehmet Perinçek: Yes, 7 years ago they wanted to overthrow Erdogan, and still they support the Gulenist terrorist organisation.
Dmitry Lyskov: Well, Gulen, in fact, is in the USA…
Mehmet Perincek: Yes, he lives there.
Dmitry Lyskov: And they don’t extradite him.
Mehmet Perinçek: Yes. The US and other NATO countries have become a nest for these terrorist organizations. Therefore, yes, Turkey is now a NATO member, but it has already become a target of the NATO. Therefore, Turkey’s reaction on these issues, I think it’s not a surprise. This is protection. In order to protect their national interests, this is how the Turkish government acts.
Turkish army will protect the interests of all of Eurasia
Dmitry Lyskov: Well, now Turkey is preparing another special military operation in Syria, wants to withdraw, create a buffer zone on its border. What is the meaning of this military operation, please explain to our viewers.
Mehmet Perinçek: Well, this military operation is not only in the interest of Turkey; this is very important. Because, as I stressed, the Turkish army is already at war with the US allies, and the Americans want to create a puppet state there, the so-called Kurdistan. And Kurdistan not only violates the territorial integrity of Turkey, not only violates the territorial integrity of Syria or Iran, Iraq. The Americans want to use the so-called Kurdistan as a springboard against Russia and all of Eurasia. Therefore, this military operation will not only be for the sake of the interests of Turkey, but the Turkish army will protect the interests of all of Eurasia, including the interests of Russia.
Conflict between Turkey and NATO is of strategic nature
Dmitry Lyskov: Mehmet Bey, returning to the NATO issue, Turkey has now put block on the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO. It was conceived, at least from our point of view, from a Russian one, as a kind of demonstration that all NATO is in unison, which means that even Sweden and Finland are joining. And the land border of NATO is growing towards the Russian border like this. And then, all of a sudden, Turkey acts in such a way, putting a block on the entry of these states into NATO. Well, this is beneficial for Russia, let’s not hide it. Turkey acts in accordance with its own interests in this case…
Mehmet Perinçek: Yes. Well, of course, this is beneficial for Russia, but it is also beneficial for Turkey. Because on this issue, on the expansion of NATO, the interests of Turkey and Russia completely coincide, because Turkey needs to prevent US aggression, Russia needs to prevent US aggression.
Both the reaction of Erdogan and the reaction of the Turkish government fully reflects the desires and views of the Turkish people. And there are many polls about Turkey, and all these polls prove that the Turkish people are against NATO. In fact, for the Turkish people, the main threat comes from NATO. According to these polls, the Turkish people see their future not in NATO membership, but on the contrary, in cooperation with the Eurasian countries, primarily with Russia, China, Iran, the Turkic states, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, etc.
Therefore, this issue – or problem – between Turkey and NATO is not a tactical one, it is a strategic one. Since the Americans have not yet abandoned their plans in Syria or in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey will maintain its position on this issue and will prevent the expansion of NATO and the entry of the Swedes and Finns into NATO.
Turkey’s role will eliminate US influence on Ukraine
Dmitry Lyskov: Mehmet Bey, well, Turkey will impede the expansion of NATO, Turkey is applying the Montreux Convention right now and is preventing Western warships from entering the Black Sea. All these can be seen as friendly steps towards Russia, or at least steps that benefit Russia. But at the same time, Turkey maintains relations with Kyiv. How to explain it?
Mehmet Perinçek: Well, the Montreux Convention is a guarantee of peace in our region. It suits not only the interests of Russia, the interests of Turkey, but it also suits the interests of all Black Sea countries, even suits the interests of Ukraine. And most importantly, the influence of the United States on Ukraine is also very harmful to the Ukrainian people. Turkey can play a very important role in this sense. Turkey can help Ukrainians to get rid of US influence, which is very harmful to the entire Ukrainian people.
Now Turkey can use its good, well, so-called good, relations with Kyiv to remove US influence or “umbrella” over Ukraine. Therefore, Ankara can fulfill its role as an intermediary between Russia and Ukraine. But this role will eliminate US influence on Ukraine. Therefore, such mediation, I think, also suits the interests of Russia.
Americans oppose Turkey’s mediation
Dmitry Lyskov: We see, in fact, the efforts; Recep Tayyip Erdogan offers mediation, and the negotiations takes place in Istanbul. This is all really there. But I…
Mehmet Perinçek: Americans oppose Turkey’s mediation. Lavrov himself said: the Americans prevented the peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv. And the Americans were not satisfied at all with the negotiations in Istanbul, even Biden after that, after these negotiations, they organised the provocation in Bucha. This provocation in Bucha was directly against the mediation of Turkey, because they did not want Kiev to approach Moscow’s terms. And then this provocation in Bucha, of course, prevented the continuation of these negotiations.
Turkey stopped deliveries of Bayraktars
Dmitry Lyskov: Mehmet Bey, that’s all good, but I can’t help but ask: why does Turkey supply Bayraktar to Ukraine?
Mehmet Perincek: Well, this is, of course, wrong. Look, after Russia’s special operation, Turkey stopped deliveries of these Bayraktars. This is very important. But of course, before the special operation, it was also unnecessary to supply all this military equipment. But, of course, it is good that Turkey is developing its national military industry, because the dependence of the Turkish military industry on NATO is very dangerous for Turkey; in case of possible conflicts, when there is a conflict with US allies or with the US, Turkey cannot use NATO armed systems. Therefore, Turkey definitely needs to make its own national military supplies. Bayraktar is one of them. There is another national project: Altay, a national tank.
Dmitry Lyskov: Tank.
The purchase of the S-400 was a strategic step
Mehmet Perincek: This is also a good step for that. On the other hand, of course, the purchase of the S400 was also a strategic step towards the formation of an independent military equipment industry.
Dmitry Lyskov: Mehmet Bey, I think that very few people know about this; I was just specifically interested in this matters. After all, although they, for example, the European Union, the United States, etc., did not officially impose sanctions against Turkey… But…
Mehmet Perinçek: They did.
Dmitry Lyskov: No, they introduced it, but…
Mehmet Perinçek: Because of the S-400.
Dmitry Lyskov: Later, because of the S-400. But as soon as Turkey began to develop its own military-industrial complex, very interesting things started to happen. For example, you remembered the Altay tank: at first, if I’m not mistaken, Austria refused to supply engines for it…
Mehmet Perinçek: Yes.
Dmitry Lyskov: …Despite the fact that Turkey does not have its own tank engine…
Mehmet Perinçek: The Germans, the Germans refused.
Dmitry Lyskov: The Germans refused, yes. Regarding the promising combat aircraft, in my opinion, the story was exactly the same.
Mehmet Perinçek: Yeah.
NATO membership has greatly damaged Turkey’s independence
Dmitry Lyskov: Bombardier refused to supply engines, despite the fact that Turkey did not have its own aircraft engine building either. It’s interesting. It looks like a NATO bloc, they seem to be allies, but how are they pursuing such an interesting policy so that Turkey does not have its own military-industrial complex, right?
Mehmet Perinçek: Well, yes, of course, because they hindered the development of the Turkish military industry. And its entry into NATO was very detrimental for the interests of Turkey. It is NATO; now it is clear to everyone that it opposes the interests of Turkey. But 60 years ago, they also did not look out for Turkey’s interests; they even wanted to use the Turkish army as cannon fodder in the Korean War.
Then, after joining NATO, the NATO countries, especially the United States, created an illegal structure within the Turkish state. For example, this illegal structure in Italy is called Gladio. But they created the same illegal structure within the state of Turkey. This illegal structure, this Gladio organized several military pro-American coups, and they committed bloody provocations in the history of Turkey. Therefore, this membership of NATO, of course, was very detrimental to Turkey’s independence.
Not pragmatic, but strategic
Dmitry Lyskov: But now, if i understand correctly, Turkey is pursuing, well, just a pragmatic policy, taking into account its own interests…
Mehmet Perinçek: Not pragmatic – strategic, one might say. Not pragmatic.
Dmitry Lyskov: Well, strategic policy. Well, using the world’s contradictions that have now emerged between the United States and Russia and Europe. In turn, well, only for your benefit. I do not want to say that this is bad. This is a sovereign policy.
Mehmet Perinçek: Yes. But there is a subtle nuance here. Turkey is not independent of this confrontation and this is very important. This confrontation in Ukraine or around the world, is not only between Kyiv and Moscow, not even only between the US and Russia, it is a confrontation between the US and whole Eurasia. Because not only Russia suffers from US aggression, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, China, and other Eurasian countries also suffer from US aggression.
Therefore, Turkey does not use confrontation, or this conflict between Russia and the United States. Turkey, itself, is on the side of Eurasia in this confrontation. This is very important. Turkey will take its place on the side of Eurasia more decisively in the near future, as you will see.
Turkey’s plan to join the EU is a chimera
Dmitry Lyskov: Mehmet Bey, European Union’s approach towards Turkey, its position, is very interesting at the moment. Not so long ago, but literally just the day before, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement said: “Turkey continues to move away from the European Union, so the EU accession negotiations remain without progress. There are concerns about the observance of the rule of law and human rights.” He stressed that “Turkey does not respect fundamental human rights, the opposition cannot express their opinion” and so on. And, “Turkey’s refusal to comply with the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights is of particular concern.”
This very much reminds me of the situation in Russia in the 1990s, when all these lords of Judd and others came to us and taught us how to live. They said that everything is wrong with us, we have not built a democracy, we do not have a market economy. And when the anti-terrorist operation was going on in the North Caucasus, they said that immediately everyone needs to…
Mehmet Perinçek: Stop, yes.
Dmitry Lyskov: To stop and that all militants and international terrorists should be released immediately from the Chernokozovo pre-trial detention centre. Because, keeping people in pretrial detention centers was just a flagrant violation of human rights.
Mehmet Perinçek: We were also told that.
Dmitry Lyskov: Yes. But how does Turkey feel about such teachings coming from the European Union now? After all, Turkey is still a candidate for EU membership.
Mehmet Perinçek: Not a candidate, even this is a chimera. Accession of Turkey to the EU is a deception. It is a deception and a chimera, and this is also a US plan, a US trap. This US plan for Turkey to join the EU is both against Europe and against Turkey. Why against Europe? Because the Americans do not want a powerful Europe, there should be countries like the Baltic countries or the Balkan countries, so that it would not be so strong. And they also wanted to push Turkey to this side, so that the EU would not compete, would not The Europeans do not want to accept Turkey, because it is a very big country, a large population and a completely different culture, etc. Of course, we maintain good relations with Europe, but separately: there is the EU, and there must be an independent Turkey. But with this plan or with Turkey’s entry into the EU, the Americans also wanted Turkey not to move away from the Western bloc. They are like: “Wait there 5 years, and then again 5 more years…”
Dmitry Lyskov: So I checked – in 1963 Turkey signed an association agreement with the European Union, in 1987 applied for EU membership, and Turkey has been a candidate for EU membership since 1999. And all this time the European Union has been feeding Turkey with promises.
Mehmet Perincek: Yes.
Dmitry Lyskov: “You can build a democracy there.”
Mehmet Perinçek: Yes. They interfered in the internal affairs of Turkey. On the other hand, they wanted to support the centrifugal forces in Turkey through these interventions, they supported the separatist organizations etc.
The most important right for the Turkish people
Dmitry Lyskov: Well, this is, in fact, what we see in Finland and Sweden, as far as I understand… Again, in terms of human rights, Turkey notes that there are actually terrorist cells there.
Mehmet Perinçek: Well, of course, if you defend your national interests, they immediately talk about human rights. Turkish Army’s struggle against terrorists is the most important right of the Turkish people. And they (the West), themselves, support terrorists, and then they say that Turkey is against human rights. Of course it sounds very funny.
Dmitry Lyskov: Well, when Europe hosted militants from the North Caucasus, we saw the same situation.
Mehmet Perinçek: They showed the same “movie” there, and in Russia they supported Chechen terrorists, while here they supported and continued to support militants in Syria, Turkey, Iraq. They also attacked Iraq. What did they say then? Saddam opposes…
Dmitry Lyskov: He allegedly has chemical weapons.
Mehmet Perinçek: Yes, chemical weapons, they violate human rights, etc. Well, now this is a big deception. But this deception no longer works… I think everything is clear, especially after Afghanistan.
Turkey and Russia should be strategic allies
Dmitry Lyskov: Mehmet Bey, we literally have a minute left, and I want to end our talk with such a sharp question. Still, Turkey is a friend of Russia, maybe a partner… Or is it not? Shall we say, not a friend? From your point of view, what is it?
Mehmet Perinçek: Well, Turkey and Russia, they must be strategic allies. They are in good relations at the moment, but this is not enough, insufficient. Because Turkish-Russian relations have very broad perspective, what we have achieved by now is just a small part of it. Turkey and Russia should cooperate on the economy, they should cooperate on the military sphere, and they certainly should cooperate to ensure peace and stability in our region, both in Ukraine and in Syria.
Dmitry Lyskov: Mehmet Bey, thank you! Unfortunately, airtime is coming to an end. Mehmet Perinçek, Turkish historian, political scientist, professor, was on the air with us.