Interview: Energy projects consolidate Turkish-Russian relations
And Bulgaria will regret not standing up to western pressure
Russia and Turkey have embarked on a long-term cooperation that could include regional cooperation from the Balkans to Central Asia. The future lies in the East. The big losers could be the US and the EU.
RT Deutsch spoke with Major General Talat Enverovich Chetin, who works at the National Security Academy in Russia. As a Russian citizen of Turkish origin, he is one of the co-founders of the Asian Police Organization for Cooperation, or ASIAPOL for short.
Russian President Vladimir Putin came to Turkey a few days ago to inaugurate the Turkish Stream pipeline. What significance does the bilateral project with Russia have for the Turkish side?
Putin announced at the meeting in Paris on November 10 that he would come to Istanbul to celebrate the completion of the maritime part of the pipeline project. This current energy project is the foundation for two developments for Turkey:
Firstly, beyond the regular contacts of everyday political issues and developments, strategic projects such as TurkStream and the nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Turkey, have finally consolidated inter-state relations between Turkey and Russia and guarantee them like riveting steel. This strengthens the belief in a community of destiny. These two strategic projects make Turkish-Russian relations indestructible like two concrete blocks.
Secondly, with this project, Turkey ceases to be essentially an energy-dependent country. In the future it will be involved in Russia’s profits as a partner.
How could the Turkish Stream energy project change Russian-Turkish relations in the long term?
Turkish Stream is a win-win project for both states. It is, so to speak, a guarantee of security for Moscow and for Ankara, that relations don’t collapse again.
Turkish Stream should also benefit the Balkans. Is there an exact route?
When trying to build the South Stream pipeline to Bulgaria, it quickly became clear that Bulgaria was not withstanding the pressure from the EU and US. Bulgaria will soon regret that and finally want to become part of Turkish Stream. There was also a positive message from President Erdoğan regarding enlargement to Europe via the Balkans. The project will give Turkey more weight over Europe.
Is it likely that the energy cooperation could also lead to a geopolitical rapprochement in the Balkans?
Absolutely, not only in the Balkans, but in the Middle East and Central Asia. That must be noted with every consideration. Central to this is that an equal partnership is possible. Both nations are in similar situations. They could equally benefit from each other, but they could also lose.
In the face of tense relations with the West and denounced dual standards of these states vis-à-vis Ankara, can Russia be an alternative to the West for Turkey?
Russia is no alternative for Turkey. To create a comprehensive alternative requires a Turkish cooperation with the East. A sincere relationship between Russia, India, China, Iran and Turkey would be an alternative to the West. In particular, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as the Asian Police Cooperation Organization, ASIAPOL, which I co-founded, could become a counterweight to NATO, which has been hypocritical towards Ankara for decades.
The US has still not given up its desire to dissuade Turkey from buying the Russian S-400 missile system. Will Turkey be able to withstand the pressure?
Ankara has signed a purchase agreement for the S-400 with the utmost sincerity. It has already made advance payments. In addition, Turkey expects the start of a joint production with Russia after delivery. A departure is no longer an issue.
It is clear that this system will be directed against the West. It will take on an umbrella function against all hostile dangers.
Erdoğan wants to increase the volume of trade with Russia to 100 billion US dollars. Do you think that’s possible?
Turkey and Russia have been discussing this development since 2013. This level should be reached by 2023, Turkey’s centenary. That is the goal. The USA and Europe stand in the way. Despite this danger, such a high number is not unrealistic. But new roads have to be travelded. In particular, both nations need to switch to trading in rubles and lira, and bypass the US dollar. Only in this way can sanctions and provocations from the West be effectively countered.
In the future, Russian will also be taught in Turkish schools. How important could this basic funding be for relations with Russia and in general for the Eurasian world?
This is an absolutely decisive step. Turkey urgently needs rearming and is increasingly teaching Russian and Chinese at schools. The light is coming to the East, and Turkey must take this to heart if it does not want to lag behind.
Thank you for the interview!