“In the Russian-Turkish conflict, Alexander Lukashenko is playing on his own side only,” Andrey Suzdaltsev, Deputy Dean of the Global Economics and Global Politics Department of the National Research University - Higher School of Economics, told an EADaily correspondent on December 3.
“He seeks to sell his stand, as he usually does. At first, he said Belarus had established very good relations with Turkey. If Russia needs Belarus’ support, let it recompense for it again. This is a kind of trading in alliance,” the expert said.
He said Lukashenko does care for how his behavior will be interpreted by the West. This is very important now when the sanctions, especially the visa-related ones, against Belarus were suspended this October. “He fears that these sanctions may be imposed again. Therefore, it keeps silent or responds very cautiously. Actually, we are on the brink of war, while they respond through an office worker from the Foreign Ministry. They do not even sympathize with us – they just ‘regret for the situation,’ not for the fact that their ally lost a man in the fight. Meantime, NATO expressed its solidarity to Turkey immediately. We feel no solidarity,” Suzdaltsev said.
“An ally does not behave so. On the one hand, they hint that we need to bribe them. On the other hand, they have fears. What shocks most is their feeling of absolute impunity. The Belarus authorities behave as if they are our allies only when they want. Meantime, as allies we have been assisting Belarus for already 20 years, and we still supply it with the cheapest electric power on the continent and open the access to the Russian market. However, they show no responsiveness,” he said.
In response to EADaily’s question as to whether he shares the views that the meeting of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Lukashenko might pursue establishment of a dialogue between Turkey and Russia, the expert said: “No, they have very ambitious plans. Do you know that they weigh turning Minsk into a platform for negotiations not only on the Donbass conflict, but also on the Middle East crisis that has continued for 70 years already? They have very high diplomatic ambitions. Meantime, Belarus does not participate in the Minsk process – they just serve coffee. The attempts to “take Azerbaijan, which has good relations with Turkey, and Belarus, which has good relations with Russia, and start negotiating” is the same as to play on upon war, upon tragedies. It is political looting.”
EADaily reported earlier that on Nov 24, Russian warplane was shot down by the Turkish Air Forces above the Syrian territory. President Vladimir Putin called it a “stab in the back” of Russia by “terrorism accomplices.” He blamed Turkey for trading oil with ISIL (a terrorist organization banned in Russia). Moscow imposed a series of sanctions against Ankara. Putin refuses either to talk to or to meet with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan despite his requests.
It is noteworthy that Russia’s official ally Belarus has expressed its attitude to the attack on the Russian warplane. In particular, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dmitry Mironchik said: “Such tragic and very dangerous incidents cause deep regret and grave concern, especially when they occur in the region where the bloody armed conflict has been going on for a period of several years, and when the parties to such incidents are our brotherly Russia and friendly Turkey," Mironchik said. “Such dramatic turn of events is not within the interests of any of the countries involved in it and it may entail political consequences for the common undertaking of the world community in combating international terrorism. In such kind of situations, it is necessary to show self-possession, combined work to de-escalate the tension and clarify all the details of the incident in order to avoid such tragic events in the future.”
Belarus is Russia’s official military ally and part of the Union State.
It should be recalled that after the Russian warplane was attacked over Syria, Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Moscow scheduled for Nov 25-26 was cancelled. Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin were to discuss deployment of a Russian airbase in Belarus – Minsk is trying to avoid it.
Read more: Expert: Aliyev’s visit to Minsk could pursue a dialogue between Russia and Turkey at the level of junior partners