Oleg Voloshyn: Ukraine’s key foreign policy outcome of the year is an obvious tilt of our diplomacy towards an alliance with Turkey
The system of external control of our country created by the globalist Western elites makes this not obvious to non-specialists. However, that system is tailored for internal affairs, and if we consider purely foreign policy activities, then in the conditions of America’s and the EU’s withdrawal into themselves, same as complete impasse in dialogue with Russia, it was Turkey that was able to derive the maximum benefit from Zelenskyy’s ‘omnivorousness’.
The point is not only in such symbolic and unprecedented manifestations of this new reality as the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu in the annual meeting of Ukrainian ambassadors or holding in Kyiv of the ‘quadriga’ format meeting (the heads of the foreign ministries and defense ministries of the two countries). From the side of Ankara, everything is much more systemic and profound. They are trying to attract Ukraine even to the structures of cultural and ideological influence of Turkey, like the Turkic Council and the International Organization of Turkic Culture (Turksoy). Alongside, the most influential crime boss of our southern neighbor Sedat Peker visited Kyiv (they say, to resolve issues on access of ‘right’ Turkish contractors to the pie of the Great Construction: the situation with kickbacks is not same there as among the Europeans).
Moreover, contrary to the assertions (and probably also sincere plans) of the conductors of this course in our diplomatic circles, following in the wake of the increasingly assertive and aggressive policy of the ‘new sultan’ Recep Tayyip Erdogan does not in any way affect Russia. First, because the relations between Kyiv and Moscow have already been worse than ever, and it is already obvious that the settlement of the conflict in Donbas remains again postponed until the change of power in Ukraine. Second, because Moscow and Ankara have their own large-scale dialogue in terms of the list of issues and the importance of the topics discussed. From Libya to Nagorno-Karabakh, the main adherents of power diplomacy in the world, not without difficulties (at times bordering on direct conflict), have been finding mutually acceptable solutions throughout the year, leaving the Western powers out of business. Russian expert Fyodor Lukyanov notes: “It is no coincidence that Russian-Turkish relations have become significant. Russia and Turkey are two major powers with a long imperial tradition that have been participants in European politics for centuries and, after the Cold War, have relied on joining Western (European) institutions. And then they were deeply hurt, realizing that they were denied full-fledged integration. The anamnesis of Moscow and Ankara in relations with Europe are different, but the result is similar.”
Nevertheless, who is really repulsed by such approaches of Kyiv to ostentatious friendship with Erdogan is the EU. Especially France, the leader and elites of which have considered Ankara as enemy number one over the past six months. There were also mutual insults between Macron and Erdogan, and the threat of a battle between the warships of the two countries off the coast of Libya, and the vote of the French parliament to recognize the independence of Karabakh.
In addition, the crisis in bilateral relations superimposed on the new tough course of the French president towards Islamic extremism and political Islam in general, which is precisely the basis of Erdogan’s rule. It is no coincidence that the latter accused the owner of the Elysee Palace of “hostility to all Muslims”. In the confrontation with Ankara, Paris has enjoyed resolute support from Austria, which suffered from Islamic terror, Greece and Cyprus, which have territorial problems with Turkey, and after some hesitation, Germany.
Erdogan is generally a master at breeding enemies. From Israel and Iran to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, he has no one not offended by him in the Middle East (the only exception is Qatar). The EU imposed sanctions against Turkey in December. Joe Biden’s administration will probably not be among the big fans of the ‘new sultan’ either.
It is absolutely unclear why Kyiv is establishing the Crimean Platform as a stage for Erdogan’s benefit, if Turkey itself has been occupying Northern Cyprus since 1974, and this year has begun to actively search for hydrocarbons in the waters that Athens and Nicosia consider as theirs. It is the central role of Turkey in this project that is its most vulnerable point.
In addition, the refusal to support the EU’s position on violations of international law by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean did not go unnoticed not only in Paris, but also in Berlin and Brussels.
Ukraine is not in a position to play on the contradictions between Turkey and the EU or its neighbors in the region. In principle, it contradicts the seemingly still declared European course. It’s only a matter of time before Zelenskyy’s team’s passion for the ‘Turkic world’ will help a completely different ‘world’ show Europe its unreliability as a partner.