Nato. Although Russia and Turkey are rivals in several conflicts, including Libya and Syria, Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan seek to maintain good relations. That is not the case in Russia, where only communists have similar reach, yet are co-opted by the Kremlin. On 17 February 2020, a court in Istanbul acquitted prominent philanthropist Osman Kavala, who was accused of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by organising the 2013 Gezi protests. The idea that the two countries could be … World An Assertive Turkey Muscles Into Russia’s Backyard Erdogan extended support for Azerbaijan’s military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, a rare foray into Kremlin’s sphere of influence Putin and Erdoğan have turned into a diplomatic double act, with the recent agreement for a ceasefire in Idlib being the latest example. AKP-friendly businesses gradually took ownership of major media. Then, in the 1996 presidential elections, large-scale manipulation prevented the transfer of power to Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. On the contrary, factors such as a highly educated population, a large middle class, as well as the rising intolerance to corruption and state capture may favour democratic development over the long term. Putin sought to bolster his ratings through assertive foreign policy, opposition to the West, and the appeal to nationalism. Turkey and Russia's deepening roles in Libya complicate peace efforts. Read more about: Turkey, Journalists. EU foreign policy, Likewise, Russia considers Turkey a partner, even though their policies may be at odds, as in Syria and Libya. Putin fails to inspire much enthusiasm, but a majority of citizens see no credible alternative. The Turkish opposition has adapted and learnt to compete under the presidential regime: coordinating electoral strategies, fielding joint candidates, setting aside ideological differences, etc. Ankara’s assertive foreign policy is an increasing factor in broad geopolitical dispute. But what it does suggest is that the similarities Russia and Turkey exhibit are emblematic of all authoritarian or hybrid regimes, rather than a result of Erdoğan borrowing from Putin. (2) According to Rostourism (Russian Federal Agency for Tourism). Turkey–Russia relations are currently fragile and transactional. Their foreign policies have become more militarised in recent years.But this has once again highlighted areas of friction where their traditional spheres of influence overlap. The Blue Stream pipeline, a section of which crosses the Black Sea, has supplied Russian gas to Turkey since 2003; and this January the smaller TurkStream began to supply southern and southeastern Europe via the Turkish port of Kıyıköy. Putin and Erdoğan have managed to keep conflicts under a lid and maximise overlapping interests. First, you need to demonstrate empathy on issues that are sensitive and important to Turkish security. That said, Turkey is quickly approaching a critical crossroad on its turbulent political journey: The country will either consolidate its authoritarian regime or return to democracy. Checks on the executive branch, from the media all the way to parliament, have been dismantled. It still has a strong interest in maintaining links with the EU and the US instead of membership in a league of autocrats. But tensions between the two rose during the conflict, Russia accusing Turkey of deploying Syrian fighters to combat Armenian forces. Though Putin’s regime is resilient, constitutional amendments do show it is concerned about its long-term survival. Foreign policy of a country / a region, These differences bring into question the argument that Turkey and Russia constitute an autocratic bloc. The Kremlin propaganda machine blew this argument out of proportion after Putin’s 2012 return to the presidency, and especially with the seizure of Crimea and the war in Ukraine. Yet, putting these two countries into the same basket and formulating policies accordingly is problematic. When Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Turkey condemned this mildly as the geopolitical landscape had changed in the previous decade and its rivalry with Russia over energy resources had come to an end. This Comment reflects the authors’ views. Faced with civic protests in 2011–2, the regime grew more repressive. These two stories lay bare the unnerving similarities between Turkey and Russia. Opposition parties (CHP, HDP, and the Iyi Party) are relatively strong in Turkey, despite suppression. Kavala was promptly taken back into custody, this time on charges of espionage and links to the failed coup in 2016. Turkey and Russia belong, of course, to different religious realms: the one is overwhelmingly Muslim, the other largely Orthodox. Dimitar Bechev is Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.Suat Kınıklıoğlu is a Fellow at the Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS) at SWP. Still, military tutelage allowed for free and sufficiently fair elections, a robust media, and civil society. Being neighbours, these countries have developed many common traits although plenty of differences still remain. Plotting terrorist attacks during the 2018 presidential election and the World Cup. The next few years will determine the outcome of the drawn-out struggle for the soul of Turkey. Over the past years, economic stagnation, anti-elite sentiment, and traditionally low levels of trust in public institutions have eroded the regime’s legitimacy. After Syria and Libya, Russia and Turkey have fought yet another proxy war. But the regime has applied the same tactics much more sparingly in western Turkey. Days before, on 11 February, magistrates in the Russian town of Penza sentenced seven young left-wing activists to 6 to 18 years in prison. In recent months, Turkish and Russian military patrols on the strategic M4 highway came under fire by a new and opaque militant group called Khattab … Turkish-Russian joint center to be ready in two weeks: Aliyev Hurriyet Daily News 07:24 1-Jan-21. Turkey and Russia have already agreed to set up a joint centre in the region to monitor the Nov. 10 ceasefire, which ended weeks of fighting between Azerbaijan’s troops and … In the Turkish version of the events, Russia has essentially accepted, willy-nilly, Turkey as a co-equal in the South Caucasus, which is supposedly part of Moscow's "near abroad." Turkey has followed a rather different historical trajectory. Comparing Erdoğan and Putin is nothing new. It opened up its political system, abolishing one-party rule after the Second World War. (CNN) Turkey and Russia announced a ceasefire in Idlib, Syria's last opposition enclave on Thursday, agreeing to establish a security corridor with joint patrols. In dealing with a difficult actor like Turkey, Russia has learned three things. The Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS) is funded by Stiftung Mercator and the German Federal Foreign Office. Russia adopted a new constitution that enhanced the role of the executive. There are, however, two other powers that have benefited from the conflict and the resolution effort: Turkey and Russia. In 1993, President Boris Yeltsin used the armed forces to storm and dissolve the opposition-run legislature. "Russia and Turkey coordinated their efforts to undermine the SDF, even when the tensions between the two countries had escalated after the shootdown of a Russian Su-24 aircraft. the opposition, the structure of the economy, nist countries in Central and Eastern Europe, repressive. In this tug of war for Turkey, Russia has positioned itself as a more pragmatic, predictable and “delivering” partner than the United States. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrive for a news conference at the Kremlin, Moscow, March 5, 2020 (AP pool photo by Pavel Golovkin). Russian Federation, Strategic partnerships, May 2020, Ankara remains part of NATO and the EU’s Customs Union. NAT 9th January 2021. Both espouse a vision of a multipolar world free of US hegemony. terms after 2024. How Turkey and Russia have gained from conflict For … It was only in 1906 that the Tsarist Empire adopted a constitution and had its first legislative elections. For both of them, rallying the public behind the flag, with help from loyalist media, became the strategy of choice. Their trade partnership was worth $26.1bn in 2019. and centres on tourism and agriculture: 6.7 million Russians visited Turkey in 2019. and Turkey will be the world’s second largest importer of Russian agro-industrial products in 2020. That has started to happen only recently in Russia. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants Turkey to regain its strategic role in North (...). That has started to happen only recently. As the purchase of S-400 missile system illustrates, there has been an important change in tide, both in U.S.-Turkish and in Turkish-Russian relations. Igor Delanoë is deputy director of the Franco-Russian Observatory in Moscow. Turkey is relatively new to electoral fraud. Turkey's relationship with Russia is historically fraught with suspicion and friction. Turkey and Russia are often portrayed as two authoritarian regimes led by strong leaders who favour an omnipotent state at the expense of fundamental freedoms and liberal democratic institutions. From an arbiter, he morphed into a quasi-monarchical figure. Such support should not be only at the discourse level, but must be augmented by concrete measures to support pro-democracy forces in Turkey. Ties with influential global players such as Russia and China are, according to Erdoğan and his circle, essential to the national interest. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official claims, “Ain Issa has become a foothold of infiltration, harassment, and terrorist attacks for PKK/YPG. NAT 9th January 2021. What also matters is the electoral culture. An example of such scenario is the recent 10 month crisis following the shooting down of a Russian jet by Turkey which later on they reconciled. That is certainly not how Russia reads the situation, to be sure. Expectations that he might cede power, step by step, to a successor have evaporated. Their core messages converge: first, that strong leadership is essential for bettering ordinary citizens’ lives, delivering economic growth, and ensuring stability; second, that the Motherland, whether Russia or Turkey, is under threat from “foreign” – read Western – and “domestic enemies” sowing disunity to prevent its rise in the international arena. In Moscow’s city elections last September, Navalny’s candidates were banned from running. (Kindle/ Mobi), The Strategic Partnership between Georgia and the United States: Vision Wanted, The Haredim as a Challenge for the Jewish State. Vote rigging or removal of elected officials, e.g. The US says Russia's S … Still, Turkey has not transitioned to a full-fledged autocracy. With a twist of irony, it is now Russia that may break this alliance. Rather than an outpost of NATO or an eternal EU membership candidate, Turkey sees itself as an autonomous power whose writ runs from Libya to Syria and from Sudan to the Gulf. The clash with the Gülen movement – accused of fomenting the July 2016 coup – and the ensuing purges completed the takeover of state bureaucracy. Targeted repression tamed the opposition and civil society. The two countries have built a geoeconomic partnership based on natural gas and nuclear energy projects. Since the end of the Cold War, however, the two countries have established an important economic relationship, and they have set a bold, perhaps unreachable target of $100 billion in bilateral trade. But, at the same time, their willingness to use military force has seen them sideline EU and Nato powers in the principal conflicts shaping competition for power in the Mediterranean. Turkey became exposed to Western liberal norms thanks to NATO and association with the European Economic Community. Yet there appear to be striking parallels throughout the twentieth century in the ways Russians and Turks conceived of the relationship between religion and modernity. Today Turkey and the United States are on hostile fronts. (4) See Fiona Hill and Omer Taspinar, ‘Turkey and Russia: Axis of the excluded?’, Survival, vol 48, no 1, London, 2006. For further information on our quality control procedures, please visit the SWP website: https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/about-swp/ quality-management-for-swp-publications/, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Ludwigkirchplatz 3–410719 BerlinTelephone +49 30 880 07-0Fax +49 30 880 email@example.com, Dimitar Bechev, Putinism, a product of conditions specific to Russia, is hardly a blueprint either. While the West was struggling to respond to the crisis, Turkey seemed to distance itself form its allies when it asserted the primacy of the Montreux Convention. Constitutional changes in Turkey, in force since 2018, transferred all essential powers to President Erdoğan. Ankara is not coming into Moscow’s geopolitical orbit either. The rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) proved to be a game changer. After a Turkish Air Force fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft violating Turkish airspace near the Syria–Turkey border in November 2015, trust became a casualty of their bilateral relations. Russia and Turkey seem to be in agreement to remove us from Ain Issa and its surrounding areas. Putin’s third term as president (2012–8) saw Russia drifting further into authoritarianism. According to the preliminary data, the next few days suggest exciting developments in Russian-Turkish relations, which seem to have entered a new path after the air operation that targeted a training center for the militants of the Levant Legion (Faylaq Sham) loyal to Erdogan near the borders with Turkey, which adopts this faction and all the factions in the region. The report said Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan were all violating a U.N. arms embargo on Libya by ferrying military equipment and supplies to … Suat Kınıklıoğlu, SWP Comment 2020/C 24, Moscow also facilitated contacts between Ankara and Damascus on the Kurdish issue on different platforms, including through Algeria." SWP Comments are subject to internal peer review, fact-checking and copy-editing. Unlike post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Turkey, elections and democratic institutions turned into a façade, though civil society and, to a lesser degree, media freedoms were not curtailed. The 2010 referendum diluted the judiciary’s autonomy. However, Russia as well as Turkey have proven flexible in their day-to-day conducting of foreign policy. Of course, the playing field in Turkey is skewed. The US has issued sanctions against its fellow Nato ally Turkey over its deployment of a Russian-made missile defence system acquired last year. That does not imply that, in contrast to Turkey, the Russian polity is destined to remain authoritarian. Russian Foreign Minister Calls on UN to Fill UN Special Representative Post Vacancy. The Turkish electorate is conscious of its power to change governments through elections and is unwilling to relinquish that privilege. The strength of the opposition, the structure of the economy, and the nature of linkages to the West make it unlikely that Turkey will consolidate an authoritarian system resembling Russia’s. This time it was in the Caucasus, through the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh plateau. mentary elections and even capture a majority of seats in the Grand National Assembly. Turkey can ensure its territorial integrity only in cooperation with Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Russia and eliminate the threat from the United States. (1) According to Russian Federal Customs Service data. Biden appoints staunch Turkey critic Brett McGurk to National Security Council. Turkey has no expansionist goals. COVID-19 has put on display its inefficiency and vulnerability. It was one of the longest series of military conflicts in European history. They have access to resources, experience of governance at the local and, historically, national levels, and robust links to their relative electorate, which turns out en masse at the ballot box. Electoral success propelled Erdoğan to power and ultimately enabled him to eliminate constraints to his rule. In the 2000s, Putin changed the rules, becoming an indispensable arbiter for clans in government: e.g. That said, all the way until the mid-2000s, the military limited elected politicians’ authority by intervening in decision-making and staging periodic coups. European decision-makers must look beyond the nativist populism of Erdoğan and recognise that a considerable part of the country no longer supports an executive presidency, but rather prefers a return to parliamentary democracy. What Erdoğan does – similar to his role model Sultan Abdulhamid II – is play Russia against the West, and vice versa, in pursuit of maximum strategic autonomy. Political rights and civil freedoms thrived as never before in the 90s, yet the presidency dominated other branches of government, with Yeltsin being dependent on oligarchs and special interests. After winning Ankara and Istanbul, the united opposition may – theoretically – repeat its success at the next parliamentary elections and even capture a majority of seats in the Grand National Assembly. Russia and Turkey alternate between geoeconomic partnership with military-industrial cooperation, and jostling, even proxy warring, to see which has dominance from North Africa to the Caspian Sea. The construction of the Turkish-Russian joint monitoring center will be completed in two weeks, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on Dec. 31. Turkish-Russian joint center to be ready in 2 weeks Anadolu Agency 16:48 31-Dec-20. Elites in both countries tend to espouse strong anti-hegemonic instincts, believe in state strength, and often resort to nationalism and religious conservatism to draw a line against the West. Turkey draws road map with Egypt, but will Cairo follow it? Turkey and Russia are a like a couple, fighting and making peace time and again. Turkey considers the Kurdish militia YPG, the leading element in the SDF, to be part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK. Through economic and military aid, President Harry Truman tried to prevent Turkey and Greece from falling under Soviet influence in 1947. The Russo-Turkish wars (or Ottoman–Russian wars) were a series of twelve wars fought between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 20th centuries. Politically, the two countries have a similar reading of world affairs, based on suspicion of and frustration with the West; both have an interest in maintaining a multipolar world order that helps them pursue their respective ambitions. Most read . Russia’s Rosatom is building Turkey’s first nuclear power station at Akkuyu, at a cost of $25bn. Turkey also defied Russia by using drones and mercenaries to recently help Azerbaijan reconquer the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Armenia. The EU has separate sets of relations with Russia and Turkey. Their trade partnership was worth $26.1bn in 2019. and centres on tourism and agriculture: 6.7 million Russians visited Turkey in 2019. and Turkey will be the world’s second largest importer of Russian agro-industrial products in 2020. In Libya a conflict that the US was once … Many observers likened the so-called Network (Set’) case to Stalin’s show trials. Rather than deliver justice, the court’s mission appeared to be stamping out dissent. Their crime? "Relations between Russia and Turkey are self-sustainable and self-sufficient; they don’t depend on someone’s aggressive and hostile actions and whims," Lavrov said on Tuesday. It was the Soviet threat that gave birth to the U.S.-Turkey alliance. Since Turkey’s controversial acquisition of the S-400 missile system from Russia, the narrative that the EU is facing a twin challenge from the East has been gaining currency in European capitals. the state of emergency during the 2017 constitutional referendum or the outbreak of war with the PKK during the November 2015 legislative elections. He has demonstrated his ability to manipulate the electoral process through various means: e.g. The constitutional changes of2017 handed all power to Erdoğan, substantially downgrading the Grand National Assembly, the ultimate check on executive authority. Hence, it is critical to understand the gravity of the current time frame and take a pro-active stance in favour of Turkish democracy. It has a relatively more competitive political system shaped by decades of democratic development. The EU has a high stake in this matter, and thus it needs to take a proactive stance in favour of pro-democracy forces. Turkey and Russia are often portrayed as two authoritarian regimes led by strong leaders who favour an omnipotent state at the expense of fundamental freedoms and liberal democratic institutions. Yet, putting these two countries into the same basket and formulating policies accordingly is problematic. Russia’s Rosatom is building Turkey’s first nuclear power station at Akkuyu, at a cost of $25bn. At a time when Russia and Turkey are engaged in a wide range of economic and military projects—the South Stream pipeline, joint development of the S … Political pluralism resurfaced only during perestroika of the 80s and in the early 90s with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the birth of the Russian Federation opening new opportunities. Presidents Putin and Erdoğan inspect a Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet, August 2019. © Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 2020. Nevertheless, the EU must take a long-term view and recognise that the next few years are critical for Turkey’s ailing democracy. NAT 9th January 2021. free” to “not free”. mayors from the pro-Kurdish HDP, is part of the toolbox. Putin and Erdoğan have managed. 4 Pages, taken back into custody, this time on charges. Putin sought to bolster his ratings, have eroded the regime’s legitimacy. Russia was demoted back in 2004, at the end of Putin’s first term. Libyan News Agency (LANA) 17:21 31-Dec-20. Ankara is aware of this and is acting accordingly. Turkey is not likely to consolidate as an autocratic system, even though such an outcome cannot be dismissed altogether. And Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile batteries in 2017 shows that military-industrial cooperation is strong, greatly displeasing the US. Recently, for instance, Moscow sought US mediation in its oil price dispute with Saudi Arabia. Opposition parties were co-opted by the Kremlin while opponents, such as oligarchs Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, had their business empires destroyed and assets redistributed to pro-regime tycoons. Turkey’s Relationship with Russia A source of American disbelief about Turkey’s readiness to buy arms from Russia has been the assumption that Turkey and Russia are fated by geography, history, and culture to be adversaries. For decades, parties of various ideological stripes have vied for votes in competitive elections, bargained, and entered into coalitions to share spoils and governance responsibilities. Rapid growth fuelled by high oil prices made Putin’s rule popular. Russia has almost no democratic record. State and society of a country / a region, Expectations that he might, second, that the Motherland, whether Russia, and Libya. Turkey, The Union should continue to make critical issues such as the customs union upgrade, visa liberalisation, and financial support for Syrian refugees conditional on concrete steps towards democratisation. Yet, democratisation faltered at two critical junctures. Turkey worked with Russia to partition parts of northern Syria, removing US forces and spreading extremism. Though, overall validity of the vote was only seriously, etc. Such was the case with the sale of the S-400 to Turkey. Hence, the EU should strongly support pro-democracy forces in Turkey by increasing its support for civil society, intellectuals, and the remaining independent media. Russia was demoted back in 2004, at the end of Putin’s first term. However, the Bolshevik takeover in 1917 put an end to gradual liberalisation. … The military was defanged thanks to EU-led reforms and, later on, through a series of highly controversial trials. Their relationship is all about spheres of influence and balances of power, and their ambitions have brought them into conflict from North Africa to the Caspian, via the Levant and the Black Sea. In 2018, the international watchdog Freedom House downgraded Turkey from “partly free” to “not free”. Although Russia will remain authoritarian for some time to come, Turkey is approaching a historic crossroad: Either authoritarianism will be consolidated or some sort of return to parliamentary democracy will prevail. Russian polity is destined to remain authori, by concrete measures to support pro-democ, https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/about-swp/ quality-management-for-swp-publications/, State and society of a country / a region, Download Defying expectation… (3) See Igor Delanoë, ‘Russia extends Black Sea control’, Le Monde diplomatique, English edition, February 2019. Erdoğan controls state resources, major parts of the media, and, most importantly, the Supreme Election Council. oligarchs, the siloviki (security elite), and civilian technocrats. Turkey, Russia maintain delicate balance in three hotspots. Turkish-Russian joint center to be ready in two weeks: Aliyev BAKU- Anadolu Agency. The two countries are jointly monitoring a Russian-mediated truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region after a six-week war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that claimed more than 6,000 lives. Although there were improprieties in the Ankara election in 2014, the overall validity of the vote was only seriously questioned in the constitutional referendum of April 2017. Erdoğan, too, has been rallying the public behind the flag for years: holding mass rallies during the Mavi Marmara crisis, which aimed at breaking Israel’s embargo on Gaza in 2010, labelling Gezi Park protests a foreign conspiracy, blaming the US for the 2016 coup attempt, and intervening in Syria to fight the outlawed PKK. In Russia, Putin has amended the constitution so as to be eligible to rule for another two six-year terms after 2024. Turkey found itself seeking loans or swap deals from the US and UK and hinted at freezing the deployment of the S-400 air defence system. In contrast to Russia, Turkish elections are contested and, as the 2019 local polls demonstrated, the opposition has a chance to win. Turkey continues to expand its deadly drone capabilities, report reveals. But the joy of those who welcomed the release proved short-lived.