Recent improvements in the bilateral relations between Russia and Turkey have provoked intense discussion among analysts and media experts across the Middle East.
Ankara, in the opinion of local commentators, has paid a high price for the downing of the Russian SU-24 over Syria. President Tayyip Erdogan, according to Arab commentators, “is not used to recognizing his mistakes,” yet he “drinks the bitter cup of apology.”
The UAE newspaper Al Khaleej is convinced that Moscow acted wisely in this situation, while refraining from reckless steps and spontaneous claims, choosing the path of applying economic pressure on Ankara.
Many analysts have noted that bilateral relations between Moscow and Ankara regarding the situation in Syria, have become a point of intersection of different geopolitical interests of external forces.
The responsibility for the decline in Turkey’s role in the region, according to some political analysts, weighs on the shoulders of the Turkish political elite. Ankara didn’t expect that the flames which were devouring its neighbor would spread to set the region ablaze. Turkey would have to recognize that it was foolish to watch those flames with apathy.
The editor-in-chief of the influential Al-Hayat newspaper, George Samaan, believes that Erdogan was late to recognize the need for pragmatism in the country’s foreign policies, while being unable to turn his back on the old Ottoman dreams. The new pragmatism in Turkey now returns its economic well-being at home, which has been the basis of the weight and influence this country has been enjoying in the Middle East.
In clearing points of contention in the relations between Moscow and Ankara, according to the Turkish journalist Hakan Aksay, the former will take rapid steps, since it will be observing Turkey’s steps in Syria, and since it will have to stop supporting militant groups fighting there in order to achieve reconciliation with Russia.
But what can be ultimately achieved is the normalization of relations between the two countries, and they are now returning to the point where bilateral relations were before the crisis.
A prominent Lebanese expert on Turkish affairs, Dr. Mohammed Nuriddin, notes that there can be no serious discussion of Russia’s relations with Turkey unless the latter changed its standing on the support of radical groups in Syria and Iraq.
Experts continue to argue that the normalization is only a matter of time, provided that the parties continue moving gradually towards overcoming the bitterness regarding the downed Su-24 and the different challenges in order to improve their relations.
Turkish President Erdogan has found himself in a Syrian trap, says a prominent Lebanese-American expert Raghida Dergham,and he’s convinced that he needs Russia in order to get out. Vladimir Putin has benefited from the evolution within Turkish leadership not only because he received an apology from Ankara, but also because it drew Erdogan onto the track of reconciliation in Syria.
The Iraqi newspaper Al-Zaman sees the joint actions that Russia and Turkey take to fight terrorism will benefit both of these states. This would be by far a more productive step than Turkey’s cooperation with Washington, whose policies have been plagued by vagueness, uncertainty and unreasonable delays.
Yuri Zinin, Leading Research Fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.