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SEPTEMBER 2020

Gulf Issues And Narrative Spin Within Russian-Turkish Cooperation

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Gulf Issues And Narrative Spin Within Russian-Turkish Cooperation

Putin, left, and Erdogan attend a ceremony marking the formal launch of the TurkStream pipeline [Umit Bektas/Reuters]

Over the past years, it has become popular to debunk various fake news and apparent media forgeries. In this article, we want to demonstrate how mainstream media outlets spin results of talks on the highest level.

On January 8, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin participated in the launch ceremony for the TurkStream gas pipeline and held a face-to-face meeting on various topics, including the Turkish-Russian cooperation, the conflicts in Syria and Libyam, and the recent increase of tensions between the United States and Iran. The leaders also released a joint statement (link, link).

On the same day, Russia’s authoritative and influential news agency Interfax released an article on the Persian Gulf crisis aspect of the joint statement:

Gulf Issues And Narrative Spin Within Russian-Turkish Cooperation

SOURCE: militarynews.ru/story.asp?rid=1&nid=525026&lang=RU

Putin and Erdogan named the killing of Suleymani and US actions in the Persian Gulf as risky and illegal – joint statement

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan based on the results of negotiations in Istanbul adopted a joint statement in which, in particular, they spoke about the situation in the Persian Gulf, US actions were assessed as risky and illegal, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“A joint statement was adopted (…) the presidents confirmed their firm determination to advance and expand the bilateral partnership across all areas. The presidents discussed the situation in the Persian Gulf triggered by the unlawful and very risky campaigns of the United States in Iraq against Iranian citizens, including Commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Qasem Soleimani.”

According to Lavrov, “On account of the events of the past few days, the presidents spoke assertively in favour of resolving all the issues in the Persian Gulf and the region in general solely by peaceful means and in line with international law.”

From the Interfax article, it appears that Erdogan and Putin named the US actions as “risky and illegal”. Thus, Turkey, as a NATO member state, unilaterally condemned actions of the United States. This does not correspond to the facts.

The full text of “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement for the media following talks between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Istanbul, January 8, 2020” can be found on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The part related to the Interfax article is here:

Today, in addition to the launch ceremony for the TurkStream gas pipeline that you witnessed, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan held intensive bilateral talks. They adopted a joint statement following the talks. I would like to highlight several points of this document.

The presidents confirmed their firm determination to advance and expand the bilateral partnership across all areas in every possible way.

As concerns the international agenda, they discussed the developments in the Persian Gulf triggered by the unlawful and very risky campaigns of the United States in Iraq against Iranian citizens, including Commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Qasem Soleimani.

(COMMENT: Here, Lavrov provides his personal position towards the recent developments in the Persian Gulf)

On account of the events of the past few days, the presidents spoke assertively in favour of resolving all the issues in the Persian Gulf and the region in general solely by peaceful means and in line with international law.

(COMMENT: Here, Lavrov directly refers to the content of the joint statement by the Russian and Turkish presidents.)

Therefore, the Interfax article provided the personal position of Lavrov as a part of the joint statement of the Russian and Turkish presidents (that does not include such a part). This is an apparent negligence or a deliberate distortion of facts aimed at the internal audience. In any case, this undermines all the efforts of the Russian leadership to strengthen its image as the side that seeks an open and fair dialogue both within the state and on the international scene.

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