Turkey turning into Russia’s buffer zone?
Baku, Azerbaijan, July 26
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
All world powers create buffer zones around themselves, and this is primarily to protect their territories. For example, NATO expansion is a kind of creation of new buffer zones of the North Atlantic Alliance against Russia (the former USSR). The USSR at one time also was creating a buffer zone in Eastern Europe.
With the collapse of the USSR, it is safe to say that Moscow lost outposts in Eastern Europe. But at the same time, Moscow, just like Washington, didn’t abandon the idea of creating new buffer zones.
Today, as is known, one of the main topics on the agenda of global politics is the acquisition by Ankara - the closest ally of NATO and the US – of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, deliveries of which began July 12 this year from Russia to Turkey.
NATO expressed concern over the reports of the delivery of S-400 missile systems to Turkey.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly stated that each member state has the right to independently make decisions about the types of weapons used. However, the Russian systems will be incompatible with the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense System, and this is a problem, the NATO press service stated.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will begin to actively use the S-400 air defense system in April 2020.
The views on the deliveries of S-400 are varied in Turkey. It caused worries in some political circles. However, this was followed almost immediately by reports claiming that the creator of the S-400 complex, considered the world’s best air defense system (even beating the American-made Patriot with regards to its characteristics, including its target destruction range), is a scientist with Turkic roots.
This is Igor Ashurbeyli, a native of Azerbaijan and former head of the research and production association of the Almaz-Antey company, one of the most secret organizations of Russia’s defense-industrial complex. He developed the S-300 Favorit and the S-400 Triumph missile defense systems.
Ashurbeyli’s achievements surely evoke respect, but attempting to present the S-400 as a product of the Turkic "genius" is nothing more than rumors for local Turkish public.
To understand how the political situation in Turkey has changed, one needs to look back 50 years ago.
Both the youth of the 1960s from the "left" groups and ordinary people in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, opposed the arrival of the 6th US fleet in Istanbul in 1967-1969.
As a result of the protests on February 10, 1969, dozens of people were killed and more than 40 were injured in Istanbul. During those events, young people managed to throw the US soldiers into the sea.
But it is noteworthy that the Turkish nationalists and religious communities accused the "left" groups in treason, as well as "big love" for the Russians. Today, the situation is different. Nationalists, including the Turkish religious communities, welcome the supply of Russian S-400 anti aircraft missile systems.
Turkey has repeatedly proved to the world that national interests are above everything. Ankara has always acted solely in accordance with national interests. At the same time, Moscow’s firm and consistent policy should be also taken into account. The Ankara-Moscow relations are currently actively developing. Time will tell whether Turkey will turn into Russia’s buffer zone.
Rufiz Hafizoglu, deputy editor-in-chief of Trend news agency. Follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu