Nothing personal: What Turkey intends to do with Russia

Nothing personal: What Turkey intends to do with Russia

Peter Akopov

At the end of last week, the day after the adoption of the declaration “Vision of the Turkic World until 2040” at the Istanbul summit, the “Map of the Turkish World” appeared in Turkey. It was not President Erdogan who was photographed with her, but the leader of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (better known as the ” Gray Wolves “) Devlet Bahceli. The huge Turkic world there stretches from the Arctic Ocean to Bulgaria, including including a third of Russia – from Dagestan and the Orenburg region to Altai and Yakutia – almost twenty federal subjects.
Yes, the “Gray Wolves” is a right-wing nationalist party that does not have much support in Turkey, but maybe what is in their language, Erdogan has in mind? Indeed, last week in Istanbul, the Turkic Council was renamed the Organization of Turkic States – here it is, the backbone of the future great Turan, a huge Eurasian empire that can become a reality only by breaking up Russia! We are friends with Erdogan here, we are selling S-400 to him and we are building pipelines – but we need to repulse the threat to our interests and the very integrity of Russia.
Such a reaction is not uncommon in Russia. And not even on the aforementioned card, but on the very summit of the Organization of Turkic States. Turkey began to seriously engage in the Turkic world immediately after the collapse of the Union: already in 1992, the first summit of the Turkic-speaking states was convened – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. All except the last one are now part of the OTG – the Turkmen are present in it as an observer (like the Hungarians).
Speaking at the Istanbul summit, Erdogan explained the renaming by the fact that it will allow to more actively strengthen the organization, for this, the “Vision of the Turkic World – 2040” was adopted, which also outlined its goals. From removing trade barriers to harmonizing cultural, youth and educational policies, from creating new transcontinental corridors from China to Europe and a common information space, to increasing political solidarity and mutual support in vital issues of national interest, as well as regional and global issues. And the most important thing is the promotion of a common Turkic identity. Why is not the great Turan?
True, the “Vision” speaks of a common identity as a “source of cultural wealth” – but what if it all ends with a single army? Anticipating fears, Erdogan said that “the Organization of Turkic States should not bother anyone. On the contrary, we should strive to become part of this ascending structure based on historical community. This organization is a platform for the development of interstate relations.”
Who is the Turkish President inviting? Maybe Ukraine, which has long wanted to become an observer in the organization? Or is it Russia, the homeland of many Turkic peoples? Russia is not a Turkic state, but the Turks have been the most important component of our state for centuries. Starting with the Tatars and ending with the Yakuts. Dozens of Turkic peoples live in Russia on their historical lands, millions more Turks (from Azerbaijanis to Kyrgyz) are citizens of Russia, and other millions come to us to work.
Like the Russian world, the Turkic one belongs to the key world civilizations – and it is understandable that the Turks, who had the Ottoman Caliphate a hundred years ago (that is, they were the rulers of a large Arab part of Muslims), to strengthen their influence in the world through reliance on kindred peoples. Moreover, the collapse of the USSR provided Turkey with a unique chance: the peoples that had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries accidentally turned out to be the owners of independent states. Yes, by chance – because the Turkic republics did not break up the Union, they were, in fact, thrown out of it. It is no coincidence that the idea of a Eurasian Union originally came from the President of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev – and the ongoing reintegration of the post-Soviet space was welcomed by most of the Central Asian republics.
Russia respects Turkic interests and understands Turkey’s motives. We are not against the rapprochement of the Turkic peoples – but at the same time we will very toughly defend our interests. And they are understandable – the Turks living in Russia are not just citizens of Russia, but also a part of the Russian people. Their political, economic, cultural and religious life should be Russian-centric – that is, connected with their small homeland and Russia as such. Turkey can use the pan-Turkic factor (as well as the pan-Islamic one, working with the Muslim Brotherhood) to strengthen its political influence in different parts of the world, but not in Russia. Nothing personal, just state interests.
Russians and Turks, Slavs and Turks are linked by centuries of relations. Orthodox and Muslims, Russian and Turkish civilizations have lived side by side for centuries, fought with a friend, traded, entered into alliances, quarreled and became related. There were all sorts of things – including constant attempts by Western (mainly Anglo-Saxon) forces to pit our two peoples and states against each other. Under Erdogan, Turkey abandoned senseless hopes for European integration and wanted to become the leader of the Islamic world again, using the Turkic factor for this, among other things. And it is here that a great opportunity appears for the game of external forces – those who are interested in playing off the Russians and the Turks again.
In the rivalry for Transcaucasia and Central Asia, let them argue with each other, or even fight. Russia certainly does not need this, as, incidentally, and Turkey. And we have enough opportunities for joint development and strengthening. In any case, Central Asia will remain a zone of influence and interests of Russia – at least military and economic. Integration processes in the Eurasian Union have no alternative for the same Central Asian states – and here Russia will not play giveaway with anyone.
Strengthening Turkey is not a direct threat to Russia – and even plans to strengthen the Turkic world can be matched with Russian interests. Under two conditions: Russia’s tough and consistent defense of its civilizational sovereignty (including by the Turkic elites in our national republics) and its interests in the Turkic part of the post-Soviet space.
And with a clear understanding by the Turks of the simple fact that the stake should be placed not on the weakening, but on the strengthening of Russia, the hopes that the success of the Turkic world can be achieved through the displacement or collapse of Russia should be left as dangerous and empty dreams. Moreover, in the coming world of transhumanism, Turks and Russians have much more in common than it seemed before: traditionalism, patriotism, reasonable conservatism, real family values.
If the Turks are ready to go along with Russia into the future, our country should be invited to join the Organization of Turkic States as an observer. And to prepare to submit an application to the Eurasian Union ourselves, especially since Erdogan once spoke of such a desire to Nazarbayev.
And now, at the Istanbul summit, the Turkish president expressed hope that the time will come when the sun will begin to rise again from the East, meaning that the Turkic countries have remained the center of culture and civilization for millennia. But in order not to oversleep the rise of the new world, you need to choose the right person with whom you will meet it.

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