Al-Jazeera Net correspondents
Moscow- With clear interest and moment by moment, the Russian media and observers followed the course of the presidential elections in Turkey until the announcement of its results, in an indication of the importance of the event for Russia, which is preoccupied with arranging the conditions of its regional environment, and seeking to fortify this environment from turning into an additional springboard for Western threats against it.
Following the initial announcement that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a new term, analytical programs and the media were crowded with readings of various observers and political analysts about the impact of the Turkish election results on the future of relations between the two sides and the potential impacts on the relationship with the West, in light of the ongoing realignment process on the impact of the crisis between the two countries. Russia and the West.
From here, it seems logical that Russian observers consider the results of the Turkish elections an event of global importance, not only Turkish citizens.
guarantee the continuity of understandings
Director of the Center for Political Forecasting, Denis Karkodinov, considered – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that Erdogan’s victory in a new presidential term constitutes a guarantee for the continuation and strengthening of the existing understandings between Moscow and Ankara, which were reached after a “complex labor” that entered bilateral relations, especially because of the Syrian and Ukrainian crises.
According to him, Moscow sees Erdogan as a pragmatic figure who enjoys a wide margin of independence in making decisions related to regional and international affairs, which was evident in the steps taken by Ankara in the Syrian and Ukrainian files, which were clearly disturbed by the US administration.
Karkodinov gives an example of what happened in October 2022, when the European Parliament presented – as a separate topic for discussion – the file of Turkey’s refusal to impose sanctions on Russia and its transformation into a Russian “transit center”, which European politicians considered a real problem.
In other dimensions, Karkodinov continues, Turkey, headed by Erdogan, became more important to Russia after the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, as it turned into an increasingly vital market for Russian minerals, as it bought nearly twice as much Russian oil in 2022 as in 2021.
He explains that as a result of the recent understandings, Turkey is playing an important logistical role, as Russian cargo ships pass through its waters to the Mediterranean Sea, “hence the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend additional gas pipelines from Russia to Turkey, and to establish a gas center in the country.” .
Karkodinov continues that the policy adopted by Erdogan is still beneficial to Moscow, because he is one of the politicians who thinks first and foremost about the prosperity of their state, and he has the ability to “twin” stability in the internal situation with the settlement of files that directly concern him on the external arena.
In addition to the previous data, international affairs analyst Dmitry Kim believes that even if Erdogan loses the elections, it will not be easy for the general political course in the country and Ankara’s foreign relations to take on a new character overnight, given the radical transformations that Erdogan and his party have dedicated.
And he continues that, regardless of who will be in power, this politician will have to rule the country in accordance with the important local and global trends that have developed in recent years, and it will no longer be possible to stop or reverse them.
Kim asserts that the results of the presidential elections in Turkey, which led to Erdogan’s victory, will, of course, be positive and welcome for Moscow, given the positions of the candidates.
In his opinion, the anti-Moscow rhetoric of the opposition presidential candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, was not directed at the Turkish voter, but rather at foreign political forces. The purpose of Kilicdaroglu’s attacks on Russia is to show the outside powers that – if he wins – he will choose a pro-Western path.
In this context, Kim draws attention to other statements by the opposition candidate, in which he explicitly declared that it is necessary to show Russia that Turkey is a NATO member state, and that he will join the sanctions imposed on Moscow, describing these words as not coming because there is a “buyer” inside Turkey, but rather outside it.
And he confirms that the course of Russian-Turkish relations after Erdogan’s victory will continue according to the same trend that preceded the elections, because of the common interest that Moscow and Ankara both have in preserving.
– Al-Jazeera channel (@AJArabic) May 28, 2023
Russia is important to Turkey as a source of energy resources, and Russian citizens represent more than 10% of the tourist flow, which is a vital source for the tourism sector, which accounts for about 10% of Turkey’s GDP.
In addition, Kim points out that Russia and Ukraine are major food suppliers to Turkey, and Moscow’s approval is necessary for the “grain deal” to work, thus allowing the import of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports.
He concludes that the United States continues to gradually lose its leading position in the world, and many of its allies pursue an independent policy without regard for Washington, against the background of the growing role of China, India and Brazil, as well as Turkey, which ultimately benefits Moscow.