Ankara - Moscow: economic convergence, political differences

Ankara - Moscow: economic convergence, political differences

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 22

By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend: The strengthening of economic relations between Turkey and Russia was one of the main topics on the agenda of the IV meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council, held as a part of the visit of Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Russia.

Five agreements and cooperation memorandums were signed between the two countries during Erdogan's visit to Russia.

In general, economic relations between Russia and Turkey are not satisfactory. But if we look at the history of these relations, we can see that the economic relations are now at a better level than ever. According to official statistics for this year, Turkish construction companies are involved in 33 projects in various regions of Russia. The total amount of these projects is $2.233 billion. The total value of 64 projects realized in 2012 amounted to $2.914 billion.

On the other hand, according to the report of the Turkish Statistical Institute for 2012, Russia exported products to Turkey in the amount of $26,625,286,000 and the country ranks first on this indicator.

The same organization's report said that during this period, exports from Turkey to Russia amounted to $6,680,777,000.

During the meeting between Putin and Erdogan it was noted that both countries intend to increase trade turnover in 2020 to $100 billion. The prime minister stressed that Russia is a number one economic partner for Turkey.

Given the economic potential of both countries and efforts of Ankara on the economic development, we can say that the cooperation will be further strengthened.

Alongside economic issues, the sides also discussed the situation in the Middle East, the settlement of the Syrian crisis, the political situation after the military coup in Egypt and of course, the situation in the South Caucasus.

But the rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow in the economic sphere absolutely doesn't mean that the countries' interests in the political sphere will coincide. We can confidently say that the main differences between the countries are related to the issue of settlement of the Syrian crisis. The joint press conference between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan reaffirmed that the parties stand on different positions on this issue.

Of course the difference in the sides' positions is normal at least because Ankara and Moscow have different views on the ways of settlement of this conflict. But we can say with full confidence that Ankara could achieve serious successes in its Syrian policy.

Russia overshadowed Ankara's policy of criticism by supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and out did Turkey in the policy towards Egypt.

It wouldn't be appropriate to assess Russia's recent policy towards Egypt as rapprochement. This policy is a step aimed at preventing the "Neo-Ottomanism" which is the spread of Turkish influence in the region that is filling the void left by the collapse of political Islam caused by the overthrow of the government of "Muslim Brotherhood" organization, in the Arab world.

Summarizing the results of Erdogan's visit to Russia and talks with Putin, we can say that, despite the strengthening of economic ties between the two countries, there is no point to expect a common political position of the two countries in the near future.

Rufiz Hafizoglu, Trend Arabic News service head

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