Eastern Express 15.08

During Turkish President Erdogan’s August 5 meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that “the international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Russia - diplomacy and peace must prevail.”

The Turkish official stressed that the agreement that was reached demonstrates the success of Turkey’s efforts and direct diplomacy between the two countries. What role is Ankara playing in the war in Ukraine?

When Russia attacked Ukraine, Turkey actively supported the invaded country by sending it aid and selling unmanned Bayraktar drones. The Turkish company, Baykar Makina, has been active in donating its drones to Kyiv without expecting money and donating the fundraiser proceeds to humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Turkey has also closed access for Russian warships to the Black Sea and shut off its airspace to some Russian military flights from Syria.

At the same time, Ankara is trying not to irritate Russia.

In June, a Turkish representative of the Defense Industrial Agency and a senior official in President Erdogan’s government, said that Turkey should be cautious about supplying Ukraine with more armaments. He explained that Turkey is the only country asking both sides of the conflict to sit down for peace talks, saying at the same time that peace talks cannot be held if tens of thousands of weapons are sent to one side.

Moreover, Turkey was also accused of being involved in buying stolen grain from Ukraine.

Turkish authorities denied these accusations. However, a BBC investigation into the stolen grain clearly indicated that it was being exported and sold to Turkey and Syria. It seems that Vladimir Putin is needed by President Erdogan when it comes to cleaning up the war in Syria, for example. The relationship between the two leaders is based on necessity and common interests.

The Russian strongman needs his Turkish counterpart for propaganda purposes, to show that he is still meeting with one of the important politicians in the world, and a NATO member at that.

Mr Erdogan, on the other hand, needs Vladimir Putin for raw materials and economic reasons.

What's more…

Washington and Moscow are currently discussing a potential prisoner exchange to save American basketball star Brittney Griner who has been sentenced to nine years of prison in Russia.

Russians are scrambling to obtain Schengen visas following several European countries demanding a travel ban for Russians to Europe.

Hungarian diplomacy has informed that Russia has started to deliver additional gas following trade negotiations with Gazprom.

The flow of Russian oil to the Czech Republic through the Druzhba pipeline has resumed according to the Czech pipeline operator.