US-EUROPEAN UNION, RUSSIA-CHINA. WHERE IS TURKEY?
US-China consultations were held in Alaska last week. An agreement has certainly not been reached, as evidenced by an invitation for Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to visit Peking from a Chinese official who is also a member of the country's Supreme State Council.
The White House owner's address to the Russian president, possibly a very emotional expression, "yes, he is a murderer," prompted Moscow to recall the ambassador from Washington. Earlier, the EU Commissioner for Security and Foreign Policy failed in Moscow, after which Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov unequivocally stated that his country was ready to freeze relations with the EU.
It is noteworthy that on the same days that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is in China, the US Secretary of State arrives in Brussels. NATO is urgently convening a conference of member states' foreign ministers. Not video conferencing, as the pandemic causes when they intend to avoid sharp questions, but face-to-face discussions. It is very likely to be a heated debate, as not all countries in the North Atlantic Alliance agree with the United States' intention to reduce relations with Russia in the style of the Cold War. A number of Western sources even claim the opposite: with its unbalanced steps, the United States is helping Russia and China deepen their partnership. What developments in international politics could follow? It would be ungrateful to make assumptions. For us, perhaps, it is more important to try to answer a question: in case of such polarization of forces, when the US-European Union is considered on one side and the possible Russia-China alliance on the other, where will Turkey be? A country that is a member of NATO and until recently was considered a very likely candidate for EU membership.
Erdogan signed a decree canceling Turkey's participation in the Council of Europe Convention on ‘Women and Domestic Violence’. Some commentators have suggested that this is "the last red line that Turkey has crossed." At the same time, however, Turkey accuses Russia of annexing Crimea and supports the Ukrainian authorities in their military preparations in Donbas. Turkey is also working hard to form a new military alliance with the involvement of Turkic-speaking countries in Azerbaijan and Central Asia. We are talking about the so-called "Turan Army". Do these initiatives have a practical purpose, or is Erdogan throwing diplomatic bait at both the United States and Russia at the same time?
Despite the upward development, the relations between Russia and China are not cloudless either. Peking is gradually exerting influence in Central Asia. For its part, Turkey seeks to establish itself in the territory of China's Uyghur Autonomous Region, with which it has already established railway communication via the Kars-Baku railway. The cargo is then transported by ferry to the Kazakh port of Aktau, and then again by rail to China. Some see the route as a Turkish plan to restore the old Silk Road and play a key role in transporting goods from China to Europe, which may later have a military-political component. In this situation, it seems that Turkey will have to make a choice: does it join the US-EU alliance against Russia and China, does it prefer the Eurasian direction of expansion, or does it take completely independent steps? According to authoritative sources, Turkey is offering a deal to the United States and NATO to abandon the Kurdish statehood program in the Middle East and recognize its rights in the eastern Mediterranean, where natural gas reserves have recently been explored. With the same determination, Turkey offers or has already offered Russia to divide the Caucasus and Central Asia into zones of influence. Russian-Chinese cooperation, if it turns into an alliance, may also mean restraining Turkey in Central Asia. But will China and Russia form a military-political alliance? Analysts believe that the parties "do not need military assistance from each other, they can face NATO and the United States separately, and economically Russia would not want to be a second violin."
It seems that unprecedented developments are expected in international relations. Of course, the situation will not lead to a Russia-NATO or China-US military conflict, but the polarization of the world will obviously complicate the situation in unstable regions. Russian-Turkish tension is possible in our region if Turkey agrees to act within the framework of NATO's common strategy.