What is Turkey’s position as Russia and Ukraine go on war
Turkey–On March 10 foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met in Turkey on sidelines of the Antalya Diplomatic Forum in a “trilateral format”. That means Turkey was present in the room as an active mediator.
The position as a mediator between Russian and Ukraine was always intended by Turkey. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted, “Upon President @RTErdogan’s initiatives and our intensive diplomatic efforts, Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine have decided to meet with my participation on the margins of @AntalyaDF.”
Coming down to Turkey’s position, it enjoys a rather unique status between Europe and Asia. It is a NATO member and at one point was thought to be fit to become a European Union member. But when talking about religion, the highly conservative and authoritarian leader Erdogan wants to turn the weight back to Islamism. Turkey is an age-old geopolitical rival of Russia dating back to Russo – Ottoman wars, but both countries also enjoy a cordial bond at the same time. But Russia’s annexation of Crimea hasn’t sit well with Turkey – Erdogan has made it clear that Turkey is never going to recognize this “illegal action”. Also, Russia and Turkey are at opposing sides in Syria.
But Erdogan and Putin have come through and overcame a bad phase in their relations. And now Ankara and Moscow are major trade partners. Turkey’s economy is heavily dependent on Russian imports. Now talking about Ukraine, Turkey is also holding a close trade deal with Ukraine and both are now strategic partners in this arena. Turkey is a exporter to Ukraine with their bilateral trade reaching at least $2.15 billion in 2019. Turkey also supplies Kyiv lethal missile carrier drone that it has been using during ongoing conflict against Russian tanks.
This has been one point of stress between Putin and Erdogan after latter signed a Free Trade Agreement with Kyiv in February for co-manufacturing armed long range Bayrakthar drone in Ukraine. Turkey has criticized Russia’s invasion on Ukraine a threat to regional peace. But keeping into account its own personal partnerships with Russia, it is evident that a lot is on stakes for Turkey in the ongoing war. And restoring peace is the only logical way that would benefit all.