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Is Russia "pivoting" to Turkey?

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posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:00 AM
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West Asia has long been dominated by three regional powers: Russia, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire. Each has alternately fought wars or allied with the others. Russia conquered parts of the Persian Empire and incorporated them into its own, keeping many of these territories until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Britain and Russia essentially ruled Persia until the eve of the 1914-1918 war. In the wake of that war, the Ottoman Empire collapsed, allowing France and Britain to create new nation states out of its remains. This created the "Middle East" we know today, divided and ethnically torn. Meanwhile, the Russian Civil War swept southward, resulting, briefly, in a Persian "Soviet Republic."

By the end of the 1938-1944 chapter of the war, the Soviet Union was cultivating cultural and economic ties with Turkey, the former heartland of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, the Western Allies were engaging the Pahlavi government in what was now called "Iran," which displaced the older monarchy in a military coup. The Soviet Union needed Turkish good will in order to access the Mediterranean Sea from the Black Sea through the Bosporus. Their Baltic ports, though accessible year round, were potentially vulnerable to blockade. The Western allies needed Iran to act as a brake to southward Soviet expansion.

Thus, as the Cold War began (Chapter Three of the Great War, by my reckoning), the western allies were prepared to accept any regime, however anti-democratic, that blocked Soviet access to the Gulf through Iran. The longstanding enmity between Russia and the Ottomans resulted in a breach between the Soviet Union and Turkey. Turkey joined NATO, though guaranteeing the USSR access to the Med.

The Pahlavi dynasty played the Soviets and Western powers off of one another. Eventually, there was a revolution which took them definitively out of the West's orbit for decades. Soviet operatives assisted this process covertly, but the religious fanatics they thought they were using got the better of them. (The Marxists were liquidated in mass executions.) Nevertheless, since "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," Iran and the Soviet Union began to seek out connections, despite the USSR's support for Iraq during the bloody and pointless Iraq-Iran war.

The United States imposed an economic embargo on Iran in retaliation for its attack on the American embassy, resulting in a hostage situation. Ultimately, Iran had no choice but to become a client state of the Soviet Union, then, the Russian Federation.

This brings us to the current knotty situation. The Obama administration has eased up on Iran in exchange for promises not to develop nuclear weapons. (Iran had been working towards this since the days of Reza II.) This has led to tension with Israel and condemnation from the American right. The move seems to be an effort to turn Iran from its dependence on Russia. Note that Iran and Israel have more in common with each other than either has with the other nations in the region. Both are industrialized, non-Sunni republics. Reconciliation between Iran and Israel is a diplomatic possibility under the right conditions.

Russia, on the other hand, has been cultivating new ties with Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian Turkey. Now that Russia has access to Syrian ports on the Eastern Mediterranean, cementing friendship with Turkey takes off the pressure to reacquire the Baltic states. The trilateral negotiations between Russia, Turkey, and Iran over the fate of Syria might indicate the beginning of a Russian pivot away from Iran and towards Turkey.

Just for fun, look what they are starting to say about one another, Iran on Russia;s relationship with Turkey:


Assassination boosts Russia’s leverage against Turkey: Analyst

[Edits for Brevity. --DJW001]

Marcus Papadopoulos, publisher and editor of the Politics First from London, told Press TV’s Top 5 that after the assassination of Ambassador Karlov, Moscow has more leverage to exert pressure on Turkey over Syria and other issues of difference.

“That (the assassination) will give the Russian government even more leverage over the Turkish government and that could be a good thing in the context of Syria,” Papadopoulos said on Wednesday.

According to the analyst, “Russia does have a lot of leverage over Turkey,” and “this year, President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan was groveling for forgiveness from President Putin” over Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane.


www.presstv.com...

It almost sounds like Iran is hinting that the assassination might be a "false flag." It certainly makes it clear that Turkey is an underdog in comparison to Russia. Meanwhile, in the Russian press:


Russia, Turkey, Iran Trying to Resolve Syrian Crisis But There is a Key Obstacle

Although relations between Moscow and Ankara have recently been tested by the downing of a Russian bomber and the murder of a highly reputable Russian diplomat, it is the relationship between Turkey and Iran that is the "weakest link" when it comes to nascent trilateral efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.

Professor Erel Tellal of Ankara University told Sputnik that Russia and Turkey will "work increasingly more closely together" to tackle terrorism. Turkish diplomats said as much during a recent meeting with their counterparts from Russia and Iran in Moscow, he noted. The assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov, who was fatally shot in Ankara on Monday, has also reinforced this trend instead of disrupting it.


sputniknews.com... [Emphasis mine. --DJW001]

Interesting, no?
edit on 22-12-2016 by DJW001 because: Edit to polish style.--DJW001




posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:03 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

This does not surprise me at all. There were several think tank white papers put out in the early 2000's which spoke of a pivot of Turkey from NATO to Russia.

It also detailed the United States shift from the Middle East to the Far East which we are starting to realize now.

Excellent Original Post.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:11 AM
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a reply to: DJW001
Last night CNN was highlighting Russian comments to the effect that their communications with the U.S. had almost ceased.
If there is a growing understanding between Turkey and Russia, that would be very humiliating to the foreign policy of the Obama administration. If Americans were behind the coup attempt, or if Erdogan thought they were, that could be part of his motivation for switching sides. One element of "Obama's legacy".
Such a "renversement des alliances" could be of historic importance, like the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of a hundred years ago, or the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756 which ended three centuries of hostility between France and the Hapsburgs and turned them into alllies ready for the next war.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:15 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Erdogan has placed the blame for the alleged "coup" on someone resident in the United States. The Turkish government wants the cleric extradited, posing a difficult choice. Returning him to Turkey is a death sentence. Not returning him provides Erdogan with a further pretext for turning from its American alliance. This, on top of the EU's rejection of Turkish membership, bodes ill for NATO.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:18 AM
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With Turkey demanding that their entry into the E.U is fast tracked, something the E.U can't possibly allow, it appears to me that Turkey may well secede from NATO.

The Geo-Political world could be changing, the prospect of Russia and Turkey forming an alliance is still a strange one. Where would this leave Assad? Turkey want rid of him, would they be willing to work with him under this alliance?



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:22 AM
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a reply to: Cobaltic1978


The Geo-Political world could be changing, the prospect of Russia and Turkey forming an alliance is still a strange one. Where would this leave Assad? Turkey want rid of him, would they be willing to work with him under this alliance?


I have been saying for a while now that if Assad is smart he will pack his bags with money and "pull a Yanukovych." The Russians will continue to support him publicly, but if the military stages a coup I don't see any of the three nations deciding Syria's fate rushing to his aid.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:23 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

Nice write up OP.


My question is what do you think would change if Turkey were to leave NATO?

I know that Turkey host tactical nukes and loosing them would be a big deal to our bargaining and deterrence in that area of the world. Turkey also hosts the X-band radar which is very important as part of NATO's missile defense program.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:28 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

Good thing that the Syrian military remains loyal to Assad, even after 5 years of war. I think that possibility is not a realistic one.

I also don't know based on what did you come to a conclusion that Russia felt the need to reacquire the Baltic states, when they hold very little strategical meaning, at least in my opinion. It's Crimea that was always important for Russia, Baltic states, not so much.

I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with this, but Russia and Turkey have conflicting interests on Balkans as well. That being said, I do not see a possibility where these two countries can form a strong alliance, any time soon. This "friendship" that we currently see developing between them is nothing more than a mutual cooperation against the common enemy. We will have to wait and see if that's going to lead anywhere



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:29 AM
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a reply to: FauxMulder
Russia gets more freedom of access to the Mediterranean. Turkey has always been the cork in that bottle. Catherine the Great would have been delighted.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:52 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

Interesting extrapolation.

To paraphrase Elizabeth from the Video Game Bioshock Infinite 'there are constants and variables.' The constants are Russia and Turkey wanting to maintain control of their own borders, and there is the variables such as technology and tactics and i'll quote another video game that states "war never changes" which is a falsity as war can be fought with a pen, a bayonet, or with a spy-it was either parley or death hundreds of years ago.

What worries me is that history might repeat itself; Does Franz Ferdinand come to mind?



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:59 AM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie
A Franz Ferdinand parallel would see Russia declaring war on Turkey, and the allies of both getting drawn in. These latest reports are heading in a different direction.

At the moment, it's looking more like 1756, when the alliance of France and Prussia against Britain and Austria suddenly turned into an alliance of France and Austria against Britain and Prussia, and the Seven Years' War.


Perhaps a closer parallel, on second thoughts, is Mussolini putting aside a thousand years of Italy fearing invasions across the Alps, and opting for an alliance with Hitler.
edit on 22-12-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 08:12 AM
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a reply to: Nikola014


Good thing that the Syrian military remains loyal to Assad, even after 5 years of war. I think that possibility is not a realistic one.


No, it's been a bad thing for the people of Syria. Still, there may be some officers willing to stand up.


I also don't know based on what did you come to a conclusion that Russia felt the need to reacquire the Baltic states, when they hold very little strategical meaning, at least in my opinion. It's Crimea that was always important for Russia, Baltic states, not so much.


Russia lacks good year round ports. The Baltic has it flaws, but it has good access to the Atlantic. The drawback is that it has a very narrow "mouth," which was a detriment to the German Kriegsmarine. There are several problems with Crimea. First, it is part of Ukraine. Putin's invasion has successfully solved that problem. Second, it is not contiguous with Russia. This can only be solved by acquiring Ukraine east of the Dnieper. Putin is working on this. Finally, access to the Mediterranean is only possible through Turkish waters. Putin seems to be working on securing that better now.


I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with this, but Russia and Turkey have conflicting interests on Balkans as well. That being said, I do not see a possibility where these two countries can form a strong alliance, any time soon. This "friendship" that we currently see developing between them is nothing more than a mutual cooperation against the common enemy. We will have to wait and see if that's going to lead anywhere


Of course they have conflicts in the Balkans... that has been the case for 1,000 years. They have also had conflicts with Iran for about the same length of time. This is just the latest swing of the pendulum.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 12:21 PM
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Well, there is a long history of animosity between Russia and Turkey, in all their different guises. There still is.

Recent projections of warmth should not fool people into thinking that Turkey does not trust Russian motives, and probably visa versa. Turkey - for example - wants Assad gone, but Russia think the murderous dictator is OK. Turkey wants to be a regional player, but Russia wants Iran to be the top dog.

For all the rhetoric and actions, Turkey still covets closer ties with the EU and the West. That is the path to stability and economic growth. Russia is a dead-end with motives that are obvious and short term, and doctrinal rather than practical.

No doubt Turkey and Russia will seek to improve relations, but Turkey is no fool, President Erdogan not withstanding. They know which side of the toast has butter and marmalade.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: paraphi


Well, there is a long history of animosity between Russia and Turkey, in all their different guises. There still is.


There is also a long history of animosity between Russia and Iran. Right now, Russia needs access to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus more than it needs Iran as a client state. Although I have not mentioned it, there is also the question of where China fits in to the changing balance. If President Elect Trump antagonizes China while warming up to Russia, it might leave Iran in the cold, with China's influence contracting to its immediate neighborhood.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:07 PM
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Erdogan is a two bit despot.Hes jailed 1000s not even involved thereby silencing any opposition to his dictatorship.
NATORI would be well off without this flake who could start WWIII by himself.



posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:17 PM
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originally posted by: TDawg61
Erdogan is a two bit despot.Hes jailed 1000s not even involved thereby silencing any opposition to his dictatorship.
NATORI would be well off without this flake who could start WWIII by himself.


NATO would be better off without Erdogan, but would be impotent without Turkey. Putin is aware of that; that's the point. The Cold War compromise was to form alliances with unsavory regimes in order to contain worse ones. I'd say Erdogan and Putin are at about the same level.



posted on Dec, 23 2016 @ 08:17 AM
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originally posted by: DJW001
Right now, Russia needs access to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus more than it needs Iran as a client state. Although I have not mentioned it, there is also the question of where China fits in to the changing balance.


Relations with Turkey do not impact Russia's ability to navigate the Bosphorus. At the moment, Russia just needs friends, but the price does seem quite high in mayhem and disruption if the stories from Aleppo are true.

China does not fit in anywhere. They have no love for Russia either.



posted on Dec, 23 2016 @ 09:47 AM
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a reply to: paraphi


Relations with Turkey do not impact Russia's ability to navigate the Bosphorus. At the moment, Russia just needs friends, but the price does seem quite high in mayhem and disruption if the stories from Aleppo are true.


The Bosporus is a bottleneck that can be blockaded in the event of war.


China does not fit in anywhere. They have no love for Russia either.


China and Russia are rivals. The next administration seems to be telegraphing a pivot away from China towards Russia, while resuming hostility towards Iran, which is currently Russia's client.



posted on Dec, 23 2016 @ 04:21 PM
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Neither here nor there ; given that there is a huge Turkic minority in Russia , it makes sense to have friendly relations with Moscow but traditionally US was/is an ally of Turks too.



Russia - Iran - Turkey axis will only last till the fall of EU .



posted on Dec, 23 2016 @ 05:13 PM
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a reply to: 23432


Russia - Iran - Turkey axis will only last till the fall of EU .


A Russia-Turkey axis would probably not include Iran; this would allow Russia to reassert itself in Central Asia. Europe would then turn to Iran for gas.




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