Europe believes that the convergence of Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan is an attempt of the Turkish president to demonstrate that Russia may become an alternative to the EU, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The day before, the first meeting of the presidents of Russia and Turkey took place in St. Petersburg after the crisis in bilateral relations. During the meeting the politicians agreed to normalize relations between the two countries.
However, according to an EU’s senior official, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, in the long term, Russia’s and Turkey’s interests are absolutely not the same, particularly in Syria, as well as on the economy and energy. “Therefore, it is important that we maintain our channels for Ankara open,” the official concluded.
According to another European official, Erdogan’s visit is a “demonstration of power, which seems larger than it really is.”
“Most of the major allies have more serious doubts about Russia, even if they want to ease tensions,” said ex-adviser of the presidential administration of George W. Bush, Thomas Graham, who headed the Russian program at the National Security Council in 2004-2007 and now is the executive director of Kissinger Associates consulting company. According to him, although Turkey is a NATO ally, its protection will have “another context,” if Turkey “becomes a totalitarian state, which sucks up to Russia.”
As the Wall Street Journal noted, Erdogan’s visit to Russia, the first one after the coup attempt in Turkey, demonstrates his willingness to rely on Moscow. At the same time, European leaders believe that Ankara, which has a key role in operations against the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) and has the second largest army in NATO, will remain unchanged ally of the West.