A few months ago, when the Ukraine crisis started to flare up, I had included a quote from a senior Turkish security official in this column.
After the Ukraine crisis gave way to an invasion/war, that quote has since taken on an even bigger meaning.
For that reason, I wanted to bring it up again now.
When I asked my interlocutor about U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement on Ukraine in which he said at the time: "If Russia pursues a path of conflict in Ukraine, we will make them pay a heavy price."
“Will this threat make Putin put his plans on hold?” I had asked then, to which he quickly warned, based on his decades-long experience, that one would be remiss to attach significant meaning to Blinken's words, adding that his statement was "Neither a threat nor will there be a price to pay."
Despite his courageous and resolute stance since the beginning of the crisis, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is now disappointed that he had put much stock into the messages of support coming from the West.
Of course, his job was not easy, to begin with, but at least it is clear that he miscalculated.
In a statement before the NATO leaders' summit yesterday, President Tayyip Erdoğan's words carried some criticism.
Referring to the leaders of the leading countries of NATO, he said, “Everyone's handing out plenty of advice, it is not easy to get results from that. No steps have been taken.” said.
"It should not turn into a mere array of condemnation," he added.
When I asked President Erdogan about his expectations from the NATO summit on the plane back from Senegal, he criticized the same leaders by name and said the following:
“Macron came to Moscow, and everyone saw what that was like. Scholz followed suit, and the same thing happened. They said Biden is “holding meetings, there will be a summit, etc.," but nothing came out. If we look at the situation from a state or institutional perspective, there is only NATO left.”
The above words were meant to stress the need to take more genuine steps to stop the war and stand by Ukraine.
But at the same time, it can also be interpreted as a manifestation of distrust on behalf of Ankara with regards to what is currently unfolding.
After all, NATO is unlikely to wage war against Russia.
However, the leading countries in NATO (especially the U.S. and England) may take advantage of Russia's expansionist steps and pressure NATO countries such as Turkey and Germany, which are in a critical position and want to pursue a balanced policy.
It is paramount for Ankara to maintain the approach that has been successfully carried out so far, which rightfully protects bilateral relations with Russia and Ukraine, as well as being a NATO member.
Should Turkey find itself dealing with a discourse of imposition forcing it to choose a side in the upcoming period, it will be clear that whoever utters these words is rubbing their hands in excitement over what is taking place in Ukraine.
We need to be mindful and carefully monitor the use of any “inflammatory' remarks, that drum up a coming war.
We need to watch out for those capable of teaching the devil himself a few lessons with their cunning!