Saturday, August 6, 2022

Turkey 'Deepening Cooperation With Russia': Alarms West

Erdogan’s diplomacy with Russia alarms West

Western officials are “increasingly alarmed” that Turkey, a NATO ally and prospective EU member, is deepening its cooperation with Russia, the Financial Times has reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently returned from Sochi vowing to boost trade after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Six unnamed Western officials told the newspaper that they were “concerned”about the plans of Russia and Turkey to cooperate on trade and energy. One EU official said that Brussels was monitoring relations between Ankara and Moscow “more and more closely,” given how Turkey seems to be “increasingly” becoming a platform for trade with Russia.

Following a four-hour meeting with Putin on Friday, Erdogan welcomed Russia’s role in building a nuclear power plant in Turkey. The two nations aim for bilateral trade turnover of $100 billion, and are cooperating against terrorism and toward peace in Libya and Syria.

Putin pledged that Russia would supply Turkey with oil, gas and coal “without any interruptions,” after the two leaders agreed that Ankara would pay for some of this gas in rubles.

Erdogan has described his diplomacy with Kiev and Moscow as “balanced,” and has refused to sanction Russia over its military operation. Turkey is the only NATO country not to impose such penalties. 

Despite intense pressure from the US, Turkey has integrated the Russian S-400 air defense system into its military, and hampered the accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO in a bid to get both countries on board with his crackdown on Kurdish groups Ankara considers terrorists.

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