Turkish President Recep Erdogan should have thought twice before saying that Turkey was not recognising Crimea as Russian territory. He should not have said that Turkey was going to protect Ukraine's national sovereignty either. These statements may boomerang on him.
It goes without saying that Erdogan's statements seem to be highly inappropriate on the eve of his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia.
Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the speech that the President of Turkey delivered at the 76th UN General Assembly and said that Russia found it regrettable.
From the UN rostrum, Recep Erdogan noted that the reunification of Crimea with Russia was allegedly a gross violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
It goes without saying that Erdogan could not help but know that such rhetoric would cause a very painful reaction from Moscow.
Analyzing the comments made in the Kremlin, some experts suggest that the Turkish president wanted to be heard in Russia in general and in Crimea in particular.
Turkey and the Crimean Tatars have had a special relationship since the time of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, one may suggest that Erdogan was translating ideas of neo-Ottomanism.
Erdogan is trying to present Turkey as a defender of the interests of all Turks, although, of course, Turkey will never be able to reinstate its protectorate over the Crimea, which the Ottoman Empire had had until the end of the 18th century.
In theory, Erdogan needs to be reminded of his importance for the Muslim world, especially from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly.
Considering that Erdogan's position on Crimea is in line with NATO's official approach, solidarity is obvious.
At the same time, one may also suggest that Erdogan is bargaining: by agreeing to recognize Crimea as part of Russia, the Turkish leader will seek more concessions from Russia, in particular, in the Middle East.
Erdogan is visiting Russia for negotiations with his Russian counterpart on September 29.
It is worthy of note that in one of his recent interviews, Recep Erdogan said that he would like the USA to pull out from Syria and Iraq.
"Of course, if I have the choice I would, I would want them to get out of Syria and Iraq. Just like the way they have withdrawn from Afghanistan. Because if we are going to service peace around the world, it's no longer meaningful to remain in those parts of the world. We can just leave those people, leave those administrations to make up their own minds," the Turkish president said in an interview with CBS.
This passage of his actually relates to the issue that he is going to discuss in the Kremlin. Perhaps Erdogan will ask Putin not to annihilate 3,000 Turkish troops that had been deployed in Syria's Idlib Province, ostensibly to curb the flow of refugees.
Not that long ago, Turkey's military presence in Idlib was limited to Turkish checkpoints and the Turkish proxy army called the Free Syrian Army, but now there are regular army units there, which can already be categorised as official occupation of a part of Syrian territory.
Well, it is easy to understand Erdogan, because the poor fellow has no chance of being re-elected. Does he want to occupy a piece of Syrian land to gain political scores? The Ottoman Empire is long gone. This appears to be a very interesting game, and we all can wait and see how Putin and Assad are going to play it.
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