This was discussed in the Pravda.Ru video studio by Oriental experts, deputy chairman of the Association of Russian Diplomats Andrei Baklanov and associate professor at the Institute of International Relations of the Moscow State Linguistic University Ikbal Durre .
– Andrei Glebovich, although Astana is now called Nur-Sultan, the Astana process continues. Can we say that there is a permanent axis Russia – Turkey – Iran in the Middle East as opposed to other lines in the region? Or is it still a situational thing related to solving specific problems and tasks in Syria?
Andrei Baklanov: I think that after all the second. This is a situational line aimed at ensuring that when organizations, starting with the UN, which were supposed to work towards the Middle East in general and Syria in particular to unblock the situation, are helpless, able to do something.
Something had to be done. We individually took extreme measures such as organizing direct military-technical and military assistance to Syria. And so the three states were connected in terms of the possibilities of exerting a real influence on what is happening there. And they have already found themselves together because in many ways at a certain stage in the development of the situation in Syria and around it, our interests coincided.
If you take the Warsaw Pact, then the appointment of generals to the structure of the Warsaw Pact was considered as a very honorable, but the last step before retiring. Because everyone understood that in terms of operational actions, the organization of the Warsaw Pact was mostly symbolic. But really, something was decided by our individual actions as a superpower. About the same thing happened with NATO.
– So after all, as soon as the Warsaw Pact collapsed, NATO began to bomb Yugoslavia, began to invade Libya, Iraq, etc.
– Any bureaucracy is interested in living on and feeding their children, grandchildren, etc. I was in NATO. Its headquarters is not much like a military organization. She looks like such a thug research institute. There are seminars, some other similar things. Beautiful girls go, everything looks beautiful, but somehow it is hard to believe that this is a military-political organization.
They do not pull on a serious defense unit. And they themselves know about it, therefore, they try somehow to look more threatening, look for a job and sometimes find it. God forbid that they find work, as in Yugoslavia, etc. Although in this case, behind the signboard there is a very definite state – the United States of America.
In those cases, when necessary, they pull someone by strings to complement. I think that instead of such heavyweight alliances, whether defense, or offensive, or simply military-political, the format that we made in Astana will be increasingly applied.
Such a situational bundle, designed to solve a specific problem and having, probably, a certain certain period of time, until it is transformed, maybe into some other structure, or there will simply be no need for precisely this type of coordination of your actions.
– Iqbal, the guarantors of the Astana process are Russia, Iran and Turkey. But there is another axis at the same time: Ankara – Doha. The political axis of Turkey – Qatar is opposed to the axis of Saudi Arabia – Egypt. Because there is a struggle for dominance clearly in the Muslim, Sunni world. Therefore, Qatar has a special relationship with the Turks, based on the Muslim Brotherhood. How does Turkish foreign policy view the combination of these situations?
Iqbal Durre: Still, the main confrontation in the struggle for leadership in the Sunni world is between Turkey and the Saudis. The fact is that the Qatari-Turkish axis, in my opinion, is not yet a serious force in Syria. In practice, we do not see this. Qatar’s relationship with Turkey is good, but this is not enough to make it the force to be reckoned with in the Syrian direction.
– And outside the Syrian direction?
I. D.: Recently, Qatar, during a certain economic crisis in Turkey, as, however, everywhere in the region, has provided quite tangible help, but this was in the form of investments and yet not as much as expected.
Secondly, keep in mind that not only Turkey affects Qatar. Qatar is also influenced by the Western powers, in particular the USA. Therefore, I do not think that, again, the Qatari-Turkish alliance can create some kind of balance in relations with other Arab Sunni countries.
A Turkish policy in the region is determined by several factors. Firstly, until some time ago, when the party of Erdogan gained weight, especially during the previous Minister of Foreign Affairs, Davutoglu, the neo-Ottoman idea dominated the foreign policy of Turkey. There was even an idea to unite the Turkic republics. But over time, it became clear that this is an extremely difficult task.
Now it seems to me that the Syrian direction determines Turkish politics, firstly, the unresolved Kurdish issue in Turkey. Turkey is very afraid, they do not want the appearance of somewhere Kurds with the same status as in Iraq. Today, the Kurds have some autonomy, even a federation. If the same education takes place in Syria, this could be the reason for the same development in Turkey. Ankara categorically does not want to allow this.
Therefore, I think that at the moment, the dominant factor in Turkey’s foreign policy in the Syrian direction is not to let the Kurds, together with the Americans, create an autonomous zone in northern Syria. Moreover, in the future she could hypothetically reunite with Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey wants to prevent this process in every way. This is now the main task for Turkey.
Interviewed by Said Gafurov
Prepared for publication by Yuri Kondratyev
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