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Eastern vector is much more important to Turkey than northern front is: expert

Mikhail Neyzhmakov

Turkish language experts are already disputing about the nuances of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement, but, whatever they are, Turkey’s attempts to improve relations with Russia are not new, Mikhail Neyzhmakov, Head of International Policy Analysis Center at IGSO, has told EADaily , when asked to comment on Erdogan’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So, the forecasts that there will be a large-scale conflict between Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea region have no come true.

“I have already said that the ‘eastern vector’ is much more important to Turkey today than the ‘northern front’ is. The Turks are much more concerned about their own Kurds and the situation in Syria and Iraq. So, it was just rumor that they were planning to deploy a military base in Georgia and to use it against the Russians,” Neyzhmakov said.

“All the Turks have managed to do about Crimea is to say that it has been “occupied. Their position was the same before the ‘cold autumn.’ In Aug 2015, when addressing Crimean Tatars, Erdogan said that the region was ‘illegally annexed.’ But that statement caused no problems with the Russians and the Turks continued their exports to Crimea,” Neyzhmakov said.

He noted that the Russians were no less hopeful that things will improve. In late May 2016, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the pipeline they were going to lay to Greece might run via Turkey. Later Putin made it clear: “We also want to restore our relations.”

“Yes, besides the Su-24 case, Russia and Turkey had contradictions on Syria. But Iran is also involved in the Syrian conflict and is also opposite to Turkey but this is not an obstacle for the sides to cooperate,” Neyzhmakov said.

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