In recent days, a series of diplomatic developments between Turkey and Russia have taken center stage, raising concerns over a potential crisis. The return of Azov commanders to Ukraine by Turkish President Erdogan, in violation of the prisoner exchange agreement with Moscow, has sparked heated debates and reactions in Russia. Renowned Russia expert Dr. Kerim Has sheds light on the situation, cautioning that if the tension is not promptly addressed, it could escalate into a full-blown crisis.
The repercussions of Erdogan’s decision have reverberated across Russia since yesterday, dominating the country’s main agenda. While the Kremlin has reacted to the situation, its stance reflects a desire to avoid an escalation. However, the delicate balance may be disrupted if the tensions continue unabated.
Shortly after these developments unfolded, contact was established between Turkey and Russia at the request of the Turkish side. Erdogan enlisted the assistance of Fidan, emphasizing the significance of the matter. The Turkish intelligence chief, Fidan, reached out to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, resulting in a communication exchange between the two parties. Notably, the Russian side’s response has been characterized by a notably harsh tone, reflecting their dissatisfaction with the situation.
One of the primary points of contention is the return of the Azov leaders to Ukraine. The move has elicited an initial reaction from Russia, expressing disapproval of Turkey’s actions. Furthermore, the Russian Foreign Affairs information note includes warnings about Turkey’s military aid to Ukraine. According to the note, this policy is deemed non-constructive and carries the potential for negative consequences.
Preserving the “trust-based” relationship between Russian President Putin and President Erdogan has been highlighted as crucial in the statements issued. While Russia values projecting an image of not being isolated in the world, any misstep in maintaining this relationship may prompt an unexpected retaliatory response from Putin’s administration.
In addition to the military aspect, Fidan and Lavrov also engaged in discussions concerning a grain agreement. Russia has raised concerns over what they describe as “package deals” that encompass not only the export of Ukrainian grain but also Russian grain and fertilizers. Criticizing the West for not taking necessary steps, Russia emphasizes the uncertainty surrounding the extension of such agreements.
However, former Turkish diplomat and foreign policy expert Omer Murat presents a different perspective on the matter. ‘Erdogan delivering the Azov commanders to Zelensky without consulting Putin has somehow or another diminished the Russian leader’s image in his own public opinion. Putin, just like Erdogan, values projecting the image that Russia is not isolated in the world to his people. It would not be surprising if he retaliates against this attitude.’
As tensions continue to simmer between Turkey and Russia, the international community watches closely, hoping for a diplomatic resolution that will avert any potential crisis. The actions and decisions taken by both sides in the coming days will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of their relationship and impact regional dynamics.
Erdogan delivering the Azov commanders to Zelensky without consulting Putin has somehow or another diminished the Russian leader’s image in his own public opinion. Putin, just like Erdogan, values projecting the image that Russia is not isolated in the world to his people. It would not be surprising if he retaliates against this attitude.