Russia and Turkey have formed a stable strategic partnership in the Middle East, said Alexei Pushkov, member of the Committee of the Russian Federation Council for Defence and Security, commenting on the visit of President Vladimir Putin to Ankara.
„It is now legitimate to speak of a sustainable strategic partnership between Russia and Turkey on regional level. Yes, I believe that it is stable, and this situation is certainly in Turkey’s interest, which demonstrates the intensity of communication between the Presidents of Russia and Turkey. This is also in Russia’s interest, because Turkey is one of the key countries for the final settlement of the Syrian conflict. It is also our most important economic partner“, Alexej Pushkov told the news portal Vestnik Kavkaza.
According to the senator, Moscow and Ankara succeeded in finding a common language in the areas where they previously had differences.
„Yes, of course, we had difficult moments in Russian-Turkish relations, but they were overcome. I think both sides have come to the conclusion that it is necessary to continue strategic cooperation“, he stressed.
At the same time, Alexej Pushkov noted that the possibilities of Russia’s integration process with Turkey are limited by Ankara’s membership of the North Atlantic Alliance NATO.
„We cannot talk about a strategic alliance because Turkey is part of NATO and I do not see the possibility of it leaving this organisation; it is part of the western alliance within the framework of the agreements concluded, while Ankara has a strategic partnership with Russia in the zone where NATO is not represented and where the military alliance cannot solve any problems, as in Libya and Afghanistan“, said the high-level Russian politician.
„Erdogan concluded that it is necessary to interact with the leading regional actors in the Middle East and not with an alliance that does not play a significant role there. Hence Erdogan’s interaction with Iran and Russia in Syria. I think that the Moscow-Ankara axis will remain stable in the near future,“concluded the member of the Committee of the Federation Council for Defence and Security.
While Ankara is the largest supporter of rebels in Syria, Ankara, together with Russia and Iran, was appointed as a guarantor in the context of the Astana mediation to make a decisive contribution to stabilising the peace negotiations. Turkey is militarily present in northern and western Syria. An important strategic goal of the Turkish armed forces is the isolation of the PKK-affiliated YPG militia in the northwestern Kurdish canton Afrin. Ankara lists the Kurdish militia as a terrorist organisation that threatens the territorial integrity of Turkey. Russia maintains military police checkpoints in the Afrin area and is currently preventing a Turkish offensive.