The removal of Armenia from the list of Turkey’s enemies in Turkey’s national security strategy, with Russia remaining on this list, appears to be Turkey’s attempt to “separate strategic partners, consolidate its own positions in the South Caucasus to ‘feel at home’ there,” Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, said in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
“Unfortunately, Russia’s indecisive policy at its southern borders gives rise to such developments. In turn, seeing Russia’s indecision, its allies lose confidence,” he said.
Russia’s remaining on Ankara’s “red list” is evidence that Russian diplomats have failed to work enough at the “Turkish line.”
“We should also remember Turkey is a NATO member. The U.S. must have strongly pressed Turkey into making this decision on Russia. I think it was a swap: Ankara was allowed to list Israel among its enemies – the Turkish society actually considers Israel an enemy – and demanded that Russia remain on this list. It was kind of bargain,” General Ivashov said.
He pointed out the fact that Russia and Turkey are acting as rivals both in the South Caucasus and in the “entire region.” The reason for the decision may also have been the fact that Russia and Israel signed a military cooperation agreement on September 6. “‘It is not an alliance yet, but were already are cooperating against someone.’ It is clear that Russia agreed to get obtain information and supply something to Israel to the detriment of the Islamic world. The response was what we are having now,” General Ivashov said.
He does not rule out a somewhat different approach when Turkey revises its national security strategy in five years. Russia is likely to be removed from the “red list.” Turkey is in transition now. It has not yet been “expelled” from the European community: it remains a NATO member, without being allowed to join the EU. “Turkey made a turn toward the Islamic world without, however, being its ally. It needs partners,” Ivashov said.
The National Security Council of Turkey recently amended Turkey’s national security strategy. The new strategy will be in effect for the following five years. Armenia and Georgia have been removed from the list of states posing a threat to Turkey. On the other hand, Iran Syria, Bulgarian and Israel were listed among such states. Despite expectations, Russia remains on the list of Turkey’s potential enemies.