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Russia supports secular or Islamic Turkey?

The interlocutors of Moskovskaya Gazeta analyzed the statement of the Turkish opposition politician, the “fork” facing Turkey, and what this fork means for Russia

If they win the upcoming elections and come to power, the Turkish opposition will remind Russia that Turkey is a member of NATO, Unal Ceviköz, an adviser to opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroglu, said. At the same time, the politician noted that the opposition would strive for “equal” relations with Russia.

“As a person who has worked as a diplomat for 6.5 years, I can say that this statement is on the verge of meaninglessness,” Mehdi Mehdiyev, senior researcher at the Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation, commented to Moskovskaya Gazeta on the words of the Turkish politician. “Apparently, before the elections, the leader of the Turkish opposition decided to please everyone at once: both those who are set on rapprochement with the West, and those who want to distance themselves from the West and get closer to Russia, China, etc.”

Most likely, the statement of adviser Kemal Kılıçdaroglu was made for the Turkish electorate, for which the opposition is fighting, the expert believes.

It turns out that some part of the Turkish society would like to hear from politicians a more restrained position towards Russia?

“I think yes, there are pro-Western segments of the population in Turkey,” Mehdi Mehdiyev said. “However, the statement made is ambiguous: we are talking about equal relations with Russia, and about staying in NATO.”

This was also emphasized by RIAC expert, Candidate of Political Science Kamran Hasanov.

“The words “equal relations with Russia” and “we will remind you of NATO membership” attract attention,” the expert told Moskovskaya Gazeta.

According to Kamran Hasanov, if the new Turkish government is led by the Republican Party, Turkey will be more NATO-oriented and act more tentatively on the issue of sanctions and parallel imports.

“Most likely, in this case, Turkey will comply with the sanctions so as not to spoil relations with the West. It should be noted that before Erdogan, Turkey did not behave so independently as to object to the United States. In fact, the opposition wants to return Turkey to the Euro-Atlantic “bosom”. If we also remember that the opposition’s program includes a project to revise the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which is being built according to the Russian project, there is nothing good for Russia in the coming to power of the Turkish opposition,” the expert said.

During Erdogan’s rule, the population of Turkey became disillusioned with the European Union and does not want to join it, the political scientist believes:

“Therefore, in my opinion, the opposition in these statements is guided not by the domestic public, but by the United States and Brussels. And now the alliance has put a tough choice before the NATO countries: either you are with NATO or not. Western NGOs and the media will do everything to make Erdogan lose in the upcoming elections. From the headlines of the Western press and the covers of magazines, you can see how Erdogan is called a dictator and they wish him a speedy political death.”

The opposition wants to get Western support in the elections and demonstrate readiness for the European path of Turkey’s development, political analyst Dmitry Bridzhe told Moskovskaya Gazeta.

“The opposition is needed and the support of Europe is important, since many EU countries oppose Erdogan,” the political scientist said.

Does the Turkish opposition have electoral support?

“In Ankara, Istanbul, Esmir and many other Turkish cities, where they adhere to the policy of “secularism” in Turkey, says Dmitry Bridge. “In those regions where people are far from political Islam and closer to the concept of a historical figure, the Ottoman and Turkish political and military leader Kemal Ataturk.”

Now there is a struggle in the country between “political Islam” and secular parties, secular Turkey,” the expert said.

“We see an alliance of nationalists with Islamists, led by the republican alliance, the Justice and Development Party, joined by the new Refah party, led by the son of the former Turkish prime minister, Fatih Erbakan. “Turkey should follow the Islamic path, solve the problem of refugees, revive the Islamic financial system, close everything related to the LGBT community,” Fatih Erbakan takes this position. Whoever wins in the struggle between secular parties and political Islam will continue to guide Turkey – either along the path of Islam, or along the path of “secularism”, freedom, democracy, European values. Therefore, the upcoming elections are the most important for the President of Turkey, the opposition and for the country in general. Each of the parties understands that the loss will be bitter and will significantly change Turkey,” Dmitry Bridge said.

Which Turkey is more beneficial for Russia as an ally and partner – Islamic or secular?

“At this stage, of course, secular, since secular Turkey is pan-European, stands for the European path. But even Turkey under “political Islam” can become a rival of Russia in certain circumstances. At one time, Turkey supported separatism in the North Caucasus,” Dmitry Bridge concluded.

Source: mskgazeta