Putin beats Trump in Turkey

Turkish media still try to guess the reasons behind Vladimir Putin's visit to Ankara on September 28. Turkish analysts assume that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who took an umbrage at his arrogant US counterpart Donald Trump, decided to spite Washington by strengthening relations with Putin. 

Turkish journalists note that Erdogan takes criticism painfully. If someone insults Erdogan, he takes revenge. For example, Erdogan has not been able to build normal cooperative relations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump. The German "iron lady" was too intrusive to teach Erdogan democracy, and Erdogan eventually compared her policies with those of Hitler.

The Turkish leader does not take risks to "award" such insults to US President Donald Trump, but Erdogan is not going to forgive betrayal. During a meeting with the head of the White House in the Oval Office, Erdogan asked Trump to immediately cancel his order to send American weapons to Kurdish rebels in Syria, whom Ankara considers "terrorists." Trump promised to think, but as soon as Erdogan left Washington, the US president ordered to launch generous arms shipments to Kurdish troops in Syria, whom the US considers its allies.

Trump's move has deprived Erdogan of his last illusion about Washington's sincerity, and the Turkish president turned to Moscow. To take revenge on Trump for his haughtiness for the NATO ally, Erdogan decided to purchase S-400 air defense systems from Russia.

The plan of the Turkish leader was accurate. The White House could barely conceal its fury over Ankara's decision. Furthermore, Erdogan and Putin agreed to divide Syria into zones of de-escalation that one may interpret as "zones of influence."

To crown it all, Erdogan and Putin found a common denominator on both the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project and the outcome of the Kurdish referendum in Iraq.

All these topics were discussed in Ankara on Thursday, during Putin's work visit to Turkey. Putin was given a royal welcome, and Erdogan called the Russian president "my friend" at least seven times at the final press conference.

Erdogan confirmed during the meeting that Ankara had made the first payment for Russia's S-400 systems. Russia is to start their deliveries to Turkey within two years.

"No one has the right to criticize Russia and Turkey for their cooperation in the field of defense, which is being conducted in strict accordance with international law and is in no way directed against any third countries," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated responding to criticism from Washington about Turkey's decision.

Putin and Erdogan also agreed on the implementation of two large-scale projects - the Turkish Stream gas pipeline on the bottom of the Black Sea and the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant Akkuyu, which is being built with Russia's help.

As for the ban on the activities of Turkish companies in certain sectors of the Russian economy, Russia lifted remaining restrictions on imports of agricultural products, raw materials and food from Turkey in June. In addition, Russia resumed selling tours to Turkey and lifted restrictions for charter flights to the country. In September, Russia resumed imports of pomegranates, peppers, lettuce, iceberg lettuce, squash and pumpkins from Turkey. To crown it all, during the meeting in Ankara, Putin promised to lift restrictions for imports of Turkish tomatoes.

Aydin Mehtiyev

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Author`s name Aidyn Mehtiyev