A recent poll in Turkey showed that the country's population was overwhelmingly supportive of Russia and wanted good relations between Moscow and Ankara.
"Almost two-thirds of those surveyed in 24 Turkish provinces told Gezici research center that Russia was friendly to Turkey, and only 24.2 percent consider Russia hostile," Turkish national TV channel Ulusal Kanal said.
At the same time, the majority of Turkish people treat their NATO ally — the United States — exactly the opposite. Turkey's sympathies for Washington went up in smoke after the attempted military coup in 2016.
"We can say that people feel more detached from the West and more attracted towards the Russians,” Murat Gezichi, President of the sociological agency that conducted the survey said (quoted by Ulusal).
Turkey joined NATO in 1952. The country has the second largest standing army after the United States. The ties between the USA and Turkey have been deteriorating slowly but surely for years now. Suffice it to recall the saga about Ankara's decision in 2017 to buy long-range anti-aircraft S-400 missile systems from Russia. The United States then punished Turkey by striking it out from the F-35 fighter program.
The breakup exacerbated last year when Ankara refused to join Washington's anti-Russian sanctions and offered to mediate between the parties to the conflict in Ukraine instead.
Noteworthy, the Turkish population supports the policy of neutrality and strongly disagrees with the Western narrative according to which no one provoked Russia to start the special military operation in Ukraine.
A May poll conducted by MetroPOLL consulting firm found that only 33.7 percent of the Turks blamed Moscow for the Ukraine conflict. At the same time, 48.3 percent hold Washington and NATO accountable for the conflict in the first place.
Even with all things considered, Turkey is trying in every possible way to observe its own interests: the Turks (not only the authorities, but also the people) still support NATO: 60 percent of the polled said they were supportive of Turkey's NATO membership.
After the New Year holidays the Turkish president made headlines about peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, although there were no real prerequisites for them. Moscow can clearly see that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to catch fish in troubled waters.
"Turkey, in the context of the inaction of the world community and the enrichment of arms dealers against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis, is the only country that is simultaneously negotiating with Russia and Ukraine to find a peaceful solution,” Turkish President Erdogan said.
A Russian fighter with call sign Rassvet (Sunrise) destroyed an Abrams tank in the area of Avdiivka, the 15th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade said