In an interview, journalist Fehim Taştekin answered the questions of the chief editor of the news platform +Gerçek, Ergun Babahan, and evaluated Turkey’s stance on the invasion of Ukraine. MedyaNews is presenting a summary of the interview.
Why is Putin blacking out the media within Russia, if he is thinking that Russia is ethically and morally righteous on their invasion of Ukraine?
That’s the first thing done when a country goes to war, whether Russia or any other country. There is the approach that sees the smallest criticism as a threat to the operation and national integrity. This mindset is typical, not just for Russia but for almost all countries.
For example, Russian media outlets have been shut down in Europe, and also for journalists as well. For instance, a French journalist’s social media accounts have been suspended. No country fails to do propaganda for their sake in case of a war. In the West, not everything is democratic and fair as we think it is.
That’s why I am not surprised by what has happened in Russia. Russia is already a very strict country. But, despite this, in Russia, over 100 journalists and over 200 intellectuals and artists have taken a very clear stance against war. In this sense, I can admit that the people in Russia have shown a more progressive attitude against war than in Turkey.
In Turkey, everyone who stood against the war against Kurds in Syria and elsewhere have been violently muzzled. People have lost their jobs, been put in jail, and forced into exile.
In a tweet, the ex Russian Foreign Minister stated that the peace negotiations in Belarus are not taken seriously by Putin, as he assigned “second class” diplomats to Belarus.
Regarding the peace negotiations that are going to take place in Antalya between the Russian FM Lavrov, Ukrainian FM and Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu, is there a better opportunity for peace?
This opportunity has been made possible by the conciliation of Erdoğan and Çavuşoglu, who have been in touch with Putin and Zelensky. This is important because this will be the first high-level contact between the two sides. We cannot know what to expect, but it is very important to have an open channel for peace negotiations.
Turkey is following a very different and cold-blooded strategy. On the one hand, they infuriated Russia with the delivery of the Bayraktar combat drones. On the other hand, they are not implementing sanctions against Russia in an effort to turn the crisis into an opportunity.
Erdoğan actually revealed how they are trying to capitalize on the opportunity by saying that they are not accepting the sanctions implemented upon Russian businesses, implying the Russian oligarchs. In a sense, he is inviting the Russian oligarchs to Turkey, who are no longer welcome in Europe.
Three cities draw attention as new points of interest for Russian Oligarchs, Tel Aviv, Istanbul and Dubai. In a logical sense, the United Arab Emirates’, Israel’s and Turkey’s approaches to Russia are suitable for such a thing. These three centres are very convenient for Russian oligarchs in a geopolitical sense. That’s why it is clear that Erdoğan is trying to utilize this as an opportunity, considering Turkey’s current foreign currency crisis.
Russia is so big geographically, and they are suppliers of many products and raw materials, some up to 50 per cent. But global trade can not be stopped, as war is not an obstacle for trade. After a period of turbulence, new trade channels are revealed.
New trade channels will be opened. Presumably, Erdoğan is going to want to make use of this situation, as he would like to turn Russia into an opportunity going into the elections in 2023. That’s why he is trying not to infuriate Putin and taking the initiative with a curfew.
Selçuk Bayraktar’s (producer of the infamous Bayraktar TB-2 combat drones and the son-in-law of Erdoğan) strong support for Zelenskyy and Ukraine, unlike his father-in-law, should be angering Putin after all.
In January of this year, during Erdoğan’s last visit to Ukraine, the cooperation between the two countries regarding the production of the Bayraktar drones improved immensely. Ukraine and Turkey will produce the drones from then on. Production of the Turkish drones had faced some sanctions by the west along the way. This turned the cooperation with Ukraine into a great opportunity for Turkey.
Turkey is afraid of losing Ukraine’s partnership because Turkey can not manufacture some essential parts of the Bayraktar drones alone, such as the engine and the optics. Actually, the most important components of the drones are being produced by Ukraine. A break in this supply chain would certainly make Selçuk Bayraktar and Erdoğan sad.