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Russian diplomacy cracks as Erdogan challenges Russia in Syria & Ukraine (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 463.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss a military operation by Syrian government forces that killed eight Turkish military personnel in Syria’s northwest Idlib region. The conflict between Syrian forces and Turkish troops has jeopardized the fragile Russian-Turkish truce in Idlib.

Turkish President Erdogan meanwhile was in Kiev, blasting Russia for its alleged “annexation” of Crimea, stating, “we fully support and will support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.”


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Via The Daily Signal…

Turkish President Recep Erdogan joined Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy outside Kyiv’s 18th-century Mariyinsky Palace to review an honor guard of Ukrainian troops. A band played the anthems of both countries. Along the nearby streets, Turkish and Ukrainian flags hung side-by-side on light poles.

The Mariyinsky Palace was originally built as a residence for the Russian Czars. Thus, it was a fittingly symbolic place for the two leaders to meet on the day Erdogan announced $36 million in Turkish military aid for Ukraine—a country currently at war against Russian forces in its southeastern Donbas region.

“We fully support and will support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea,” Erdogan told reporters Monday in Kyiv, referring to a Ukrainian peninsular territory that Russia invaded and illegally annexed in 2014.

Erdogan’s visit to Ukraine on Monday came at a time of heightened tensions between Turkey and Russia. On Feb. 2, seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian were killed in Syria by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s Russian-backed dictator.

The attack happened in Syria’s embattled Idlib region. Turkish officials said they gave advanced notice of their troops’ positions to the Russians. Russian officials said the warning never came.

In turn, Erdogan reportedly told Russia “to not stand in our way” as Turkey retaliated against Syrian government forces with airstrikes and artillery.

“Those who test Turkey’s determination with such vile attacks will understand their mistake,” Erdogan said, adding: “It is not possible for us to remain silent when our soldiers are being martyred.”

Tit for Tat

Amid the backdrop of Ankara’s latest row with Moscow, some saw Erdogan’s offer of military aid to Ukraine on Monday as a direct rebuke against Russia’s support of Assad.

Yet, according to Luke Coffey, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy, Turkey has had a “complicated” relationship with Russia for a long time—well before the current war in Syria.

“For centuries Russia and Turkey have been competitors, and at times enemies, in the Black Sea, the South Caucasus, and in the Middle East,” Coffey said.

Those historically fractious Russo-Turkish relations have certainly had their highs and lows in recent years.

In November 2015, a Turkish F-16 fighter shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M attack aircraft near the Syria–Turkey border. Less than four years later, however, Ankara took possession of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems it had purchased from Russia. The move strained Ankara’s relations with the U.S. and other NATO allies.

The Turkish military went on to test its Russian missiles against U.S.-made F-16 fighter aircraft—the same type used to shoot down the Russian Sukhoi in 2015.

After the S-400 deal, Turkey’s relations with Russia seemed to be on the mend. For one, a new gas pipeline connecting Russia to Turkey under the Black Sea just recently went online, allowing Gazprom, Russia’s national gas conglomerate, to bypass Ukrainian transit pipelines, which have moved Russian gas to Europe since the Soviet era.

Known as TurkStream, the new Russian pipeline comprises two strings, each of which has the capacity to deliver 15.75 billion cubic meters annually. According to information on Gazprom’s website, the first string is meant to deliver gas to Turkey, while the second string will directly deliver Russian gas to southeastern Europe.

Yet, tensions over the war in Syria have soured the budding bonhomie between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan. So, too, has Russia’s systematic persecution of a Turkic ethnic group living in Crimea—the Tatars.

“Turkey has been one of the most vocal supporters of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and has been one of the only Muslim-majority countries in the world to criticize Russia’s treatment of the Crimean Tatars,” Heritage’s Coffey said. “This is why, when commentators and pundits say that Turkey has shifted its foreign policy to be more aligned with Russia, they fail to understand these old divisions that exist.”

Erdogan and Zelenskyy signed a sweeping bilateral agreement on Monday, pledging a tighter strategic partnership between their two countries with the goal of doubling bilateral trade to $10 billion by 2023.

“We need to strengthen strategic partnership in the economic field,” Zelenskyy told reporters. “We talked about everything: roads, housing, and enterprises.”

In January, the two countries struck a $600 million deal for Ukraine to supply Turkey with cruise missile engines. On Monday, Ukrainian and Turkish officials agreed to more joint military-industrial projects. Also, Ukrainian and Turkish defense officials pledged ramped-up joint security operations on the sea and in the air.

“We are looking forward to developing cooperation to step up security in the region by exchanging information on the naval situation in the Black Sea region, as well as enhancing air defense capabilities,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk told reporters.

New Kid on the Block

Erdogan’s visit to Kyiv came only three days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a long-awaited visit to the Ukrainian capital city.

The back-to-back visits by delegations from NATO’s two most powerful militaries underscore how Ukraine is playing an increasingly outsized role in counterbalancing Russia’s destabilizing influence across Eastern Europe.

“The Ukrainian people should know the United States understands that Ukraine is an important country,” Pompeo said in Kyiv on Jan. 31. “It’s not just the geographic heart of Europe. It’s a bulwark between freedom and authoritarianism in Eastern Europe.”

Pompeo pledged America’s continued support for Ukraine’s armed forces.

Ukraine has been locked in a stalemated, static trench war against Russian forces in its southeastern Donbas region since April of 2014. Over the course of the war, Ukraine has revamped its armed forces to meet the immediate needs of combat in the Donbas. Yet, looking forward, Ukraine’s military aspirations extend further than the Donbas battlefields.

Overall, Kyiv’s strategic goal is to field a military capable of repelling a full-scale Russian invasion. Also, Ukraine’s national security strategy calls for the country’s armed forces to adopt NATO operating standards with hopes of one day joining the Western alliance.

Ukraine now fields 250,000 active-duty soldiers—second only to Russia in terms manpower among European militaries. Moreover, Ukraine’s troops are battle-hardened after more than six years of constant combat against Russian forces in both conventional and hybrid warfare. No NATO country rivals Ukraine in terms of combat experience against the modern Russian military.

“For Ukraine, a sovereign state subjected to a multi-year campaign of ongoing Russian aggression, the stakes are high,” said James Gilmore, U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, during a Feb. 6 meeting in Vienna.

“The United States fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including its territorial waters,” Gilmore said. “We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea.”

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

“Turkish President Erdogan meanwhile was in Kiev, blasting Russia for its alleged “annexation” of Crimea…”

At the very moment when thousands of Turkish soldiers are illegally on Syrian soil, and have virtually annexed a strip right along the North of Syria which they treat as if it were Turkish territory.

And they have send hundreds more soldiers deep into Idlib to portect their pet terrorists.

Mr Erdogan has a very, very short memory. I suspect he is riding for a very hard fall any time now.

SteveK9
Guest
SteveK9

It’s worth pointing out these injustices and unfairness, but at the end of the day, only power matters. That is the World the US has created by ignoring any pretense of abiding by ‘the rules’. Diplomacy still matters … some. But, the idea that having right on your side alone will effect the outcome you desire, becomes less and less plausible as the US Empire acts completely arbitrarily.

penrose
Guest
penrose

RE: Mr Erdogan has a very, very short memory. I suspect he is riding for a very hard fall any time now.

I hope so. Ergodan is already doing well in the “Jackass of the Year” competition for 2020 and he still has time to do a lot more.

cudwieser
Guest
cudwieser

Their pet terrorists? As I recall the pretense was the YPK and Turkish desire to rid Turkey of a Kurdish threat going by their words. Where have we seen that play before…

Brian Gray
Guest
Brian Gray

Why is The Duran posting shit from the Daily Signal… nothing more than a propaganda sewer pipe for lunatic neo-con Heritage Foundation?

Huh?
Guest
Huh?

Daily Signal? They still have that neo-nazi Nolan Peterson on board?

Actually, now having read the article, I suspect Herr Peterson probably wrote it. He was always gung ho for singing the praises of Ukraine’s neo-nazi battalions.

Brokenspine66
Member
Brokenspine66

Erdogan is a treacherous POS and untrustworthy as it gets, he would kill his mother chop her in pieces and sell the parts to the highest bidder if it helps him in any way for his ambitions.

TravelAbout
Guest
TravelAbout

Perhaps Erdogan was so pissed at what the Saudis did at their embassy in Turkey not because of the horror of having done such a thing but more out of jealousy in that it wasn’t him doing the vile act?

SteveK9
Guest
SteveK9

At what point do countries like Turkey get fed up with ‘sanctions’ … the control of their governments by a foreign power? The Turkstream pipeline is completed, but gas does not have to flow through it. Russia is building a nuclear power plant in Turkey with 4 reactors at a cost of at least $25B, which at the moment Russia is funding entirely. Turkey was talking to France and Japan about building reactors, but that went nowhere … Russia and China are the only two countries in the World that can actually build reactors without endless delays and absurd cost… Read more »

cudwieser
Guest
cudwieser

Eddy swore to protect Turkey with the elimination of the YPK and other Kurdish forces operation within and near Turkish borders. Syria has sought to pick up the kurds to aide in protecting its northern borders, something that Turkey is set against.

Fred Johs
Guest
Fred Johs

Well – Alex Christoforou is not what he was anymore – Sorry to leave you

tom ellerbe
Guest
tom ellerbe

I am a big fan of the Duran and follow all the emails and editorials they produce. I do not always agree with Alex and Alexander on some issues. I am married to a Russian and spend a lot of time in Russia. They do not under estimate Erdogan. They have a plan that has been well thought out and know that along with the Syrians, they can clean out Idlib and they will step up the process soon. Erdogan is just running at the mouth and playing to his base. His military entered Syria without advising Russia. (this was… Read more »

Rick Oliver
Guest
Rick Oliver

All this posturing of positions by the Turkish leader , messing the US against Russia , all the while looking for a bigger carrot dressed with oil and gold , well , Putin will have to separate the NATO out of Turkey , otherwise hungry eyes will be scrutinizing S400 missiles for much needed technology !! One could not trust Erdogan for one minute .

TravelAbout
Guest
TravelAbout

Erdogan is both an ingrate and has a very short term memory. If it wasn’t for Russia we’d be talking about him now in the past tense!

ManintheMoon
Guest
ManintheMoon

Thankyou Alexes for drawing our attention to this story – as with much else of importance, totally ignored by our MSM. It does seem right that the main flaw in Russian diplomacy is expecting others to act rationally and in their own interests. Erdogan may be a loose cannon, but he risks hurtling off into the sea. He really is playing with fire in trying to play off Putin and Trump (another loose cannon). Has he forgotten that it was Russia that allowed him to forestall a US backed coup against him? I expect that the next time his military… Read more »

Terry R
Guest
Terry R

Russia, Syrian and Iran partnership in Syria is now unstoppable. News today published on Tass confirms that the entire 432 km Damascus -Aleppo highway is now fully under Syrian government control. The Hama-Aleppo section had been in jihadi control since 2014.

Erdogan can make all the threats he wants , but the ratchet is tightening and with every click the Syrians gain more ground and the jihadis are forced into a smaller area of Idlib.

oldandjaded
Member
oldandjaded

the only leverage Erdogan has with either side is a pivot toward Russia. He is playing a very dangerous game.

.............
Guest
.............

Russia should blow up Turkstream mid-sea and blame it on the Turks. Then blow ’em all out of Idlib. Enough is enough with this guy.

Oops, now that I see it’s from the BS Daily Signal, never mind. Nothing to see, just more Goebellian gobbledegook.

frigga karl
Guest
frigga karl

The Donbas region is a Russian speaking region and is culturally much more conjoined to Russia. Why should this Russian speaking people bear the disdain of a fascist leadership in Kiev? These people have been mistreated since the western backed coup in 2014. How can the people of Ukraine trust western politics since the continued aggressions of NATO against Russia ? Ukraine is an ancient Russian territory, what does NATO look for in Ukraine if not make troubles and problems on the Eurasian continent. The time of NATO is long over in Europe. No European people want this aggressive entity… Read more »

Nobody Special
Guest
Nobody Special

I believe the Saudis have teamed with Netanyahu to destroy Israel. And that Erdogan has similar ambitions but more so focussed on the confiscation of previous Ottoman Empire countries of Europe along the way to destroying Israel and in the aftermath. Before some of you might be tempted to regurgitate any CNN/MSM narratives or a geopolitical mish-mash in protest, hear me out… Why would they want to do that? To manufacture an apocalyptic war that they believe will usher in the anti-christ. Yes, I know this sounds like tin foil hat territory, but I see all these Middle East incongruities… Read more »

oldandjaded
Member
oldandjaded

Interesting theory, in the mid sixties, Arthur Toynbee predicted in an interview that Israel would only exist for 75 years, which would put its demise at 2022. Then in 2016, both Rothchild and Kissinger, in separate interviews, predicted that Israel would be gone in 2021. All were/are powerful NWO figures.

Nobody Special
Guest
Nobody Special

FYI – that is not my picture beside my comment (don’t know how it got there but it was automated)

Paul
Guest
Paul

Was it necessary to frame this in this way? “On Feb. 2, seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian were killed in Syria by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s Russian-backed dictator” Are you trying to distinguish yourself from mainstream media or in line with it?

Dizzz
Member
Dizzz

I can remember the last election held in Syria, so it’s not a dictatorship.
Headlines from the MSM below.
Bashar al-Assad wins re-election in Syria.
Assad captures another seven-year term after winning almost 90% of the vote.

padre
Guest
padre

And in which country that is in war they had an election?

William H Warrick III MD
Guest
William H Warrick III MD

Russia is not persecuting Tartars. 70% of them voted in the Return Referendum in 2014 with a “Yes” majority of 80%. I ate at a Tartar restaurant near Yalta 2 years ago and I went to Bachessari the Tartar mayor who had a framed copy of the US Declaration of Independence in his office.

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