How will the Ambassador's assassination affect Turkey-Russia relations? - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

How will the Ambassador's assassination affect Turkey-Russia relations?

The downing of a Russian plane on November 24, 2015, had created a serious crisis in the Turkey-Russia relations. Our strong trade relations, starting with the Turkish Stream Project, were temporarily suspended. This was followed by Russia putting an embargo on Turkish imports and tourism.

In the past year, however, both sides have shown a reconciliatory attitude to solve the crisis. Because both Russia and Turkey are dependent on each other in many areas.

July 15 is, however, a milestone in fixing the relations between the two countries. Russia supported the elected President and elected government during the July 15 coup attempt; thus, Russia's support for democracy led to the relations cultivated the two countries' recovery.

President Erdoğan's visit to Russia, Putin's attendance in the 23rd World Energy Summit in Istanbul and the Turkish Stream Project Agreement being signed were all strategic moves in recovering the relation between Turkey and Russia. Prime Minister Yıldırım's visit to Moscow was an announcement that the plane crisis was a matter of the past.

Besides the trade that came back to life between the two countries, deciding to use local currencies in this trade indicated that new partnerships would be happening for the two.

And that's exactly what happened. While the Akkuyu Nuclear Energy Plant construction was continuing concurrent to the Turkish Stream Project, giving this investment the “strategic investment” status and the cooperation on the Syria issue moved the relation from being only a trade relation to being a relation that has the potential to change the regional balances.

Last Friday (December 16) the Foreign Affairs Ministry Research Center (SAM) and the Russian International Relations Committee (RIAC) organized a conference in Ankara which was named “Deepening the Turkish-Russian Relations.” I was one of the speakers for the “Energy and Economy Relations” session of the conference.

In short, everyone was very hopeful about the future of the relations in the new period. Moreover, an emphasis was made on accelerating the speed of these relations.

Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was one of the people who stressed the significance of accelerating the speed of the two countries' mending relations in the new period.
Karlov, who showed serious effort to normalize the two countries' relations after the plane crisis, was unfortunately killed on December 19. Karlov's assassination clearly shows what the motive was; as the normalization was continuing with great speed, a meeting was on its way between Turkey-Russia-Iran on the Syria issue, the foreign Ministers were traveling to Russia.

Everything is permissible if the aim is to hurt Turkey

At a time when we were discussing how the relations between Turkey and Russia have improved and how the Turkish Stream and the Akkuyu Projects are continuing as planned, it is clear that the aim of killing the Ambassador, Andrey Karlov, is to disrupt the relations that have the power to change the balances of the region.

Both Turkey and Russia mutually acted temperate against this plan. The aim was to postpone the meeting in which Turkey, Iran and Russia would talk about the future of Syria; but with Turkey and Russia's reasonable and cooperative attitude, the meeting was not postponed.

This isn't the first attempt at putting Turkey in a difficult situation. Let's remember how the Gezi incidents started in May after we had ended our debtor/creditor relationship with the IMF, or the coup attempt on the judicial system and the police forces on 17-25 December, or maybe the “ditch politics”, the plane crisis and of course the July 15 coup attempt. And last of all, the assassination of the Russian Ambassador.

The only aim of the attempts was to decrease Turkey's prestige in the international arena and create a negative perception.

The FETÖ members, who have international support to push Turkey into a corner, also believe that everything is permissible in this respect. Turkey is under political and economic siege, and they will attack without paying regard to any moral and human value to ensure that this siege is successful.

The aim is to hinder Turkey's economic and political stability and implement a program they desire. In return, we have to make sure that we cooperate as a country and prevent them from besieging our country.


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