Is the Kremlin trying to bring Erdogan into the club of outcasts?

The article by Sergei Izraitel, better known by his maternal surname Kirienko, dedicated to the so-called Russia Day, was characterized by many not only as another manifesto of Russian imperialism, but also as his personal bid for the presidency after Putin. In fact, it is so open that it was quickly removed from the «Izvestiya» website, but those interested have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with its text here. It can be analyzed for many things — the ideological foundations of Putin’s Russia, the open declaration of annexation of the territories of the neighboring internationally recognized state, and the realization that Russians will have to live even poorer because of it. But there is one fragment that will be of direct interest to those who study political processes in the Islamic world.

Izraitel writes: «…the questions of the will of the Russians of Kherson and the Sea of Azov cannot be the subject of negotiations. Just like the question of Chinese Taiwan, raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping. And also the issues of the Mediterranean islands raised by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.»

Now this is interesting because it is well known that the Kremlin is trying to play along with China. However, it is not working very well yet, because although China is preparing for a military seizure of Taiwan, it is not in a hurry to start it while observing the Kremlin’s «military operation» against Ukraine. Although it was clear in Moscow that they hoped it would happen simultaneously, which would allow some of the pressure from the West to be shifted to China. But for now, in fact, the entire blow has fallen on Russia, while China is watching from the sidelines.

Now, watching the escalation of the conflict between Turkey and Greece, they are hoping that by starting a war against the latter, Erdogan will bear some of the pressure from the West and thus help them to relieve the Kremlin.

There are two components to this problem. First, from the perspective of international law, the situation with the open annexation of parts of Ukraine by Putin’s Russia is fundamentally different from China’s claims to Taiwan and the dispute between Turkey and Greece over islands in the Mediterranean.

Regardless of one’s attitude toward Communist China, the unfortunate fact remains that Beijing’s authority is recognized by almost the entire international community as the legitimate authority of China, just as most countries recognize Taiwan as part of China. And while there are important nuances to this issue that we will not go into now, in general, the situation is such that China has internationally recognized rights to Taiwan.

Similarly, the continental shelf dispute between Turkey and Greece is a classic territorial dispute between two states. At the same time, Turkey does not claim to «regain» its Ottoman dominions, including Greek territories, including Turkish-populated Western Thrace. Moreover, it does not include the Turkish part of Cyprus in its composition, as Russia did with Crimea and apparently intends to do with newly seized territories.

Therefore, both China and Turkey, despite the complexity of the two issues mentioned, remain fundamentally within the framework of international law and do not call for the redrawing of internationally recognized borders. And this is exactly what Moscow is trying to do by relying on China and Turkey.

Secondly, one really hopes that the Turkish leadership will not succumb to these provocations and will not start a war against Greece now, while the Russian-Ukrainian war is still going on, in order not to be included in the same club of outcasts as Putin’s Russia. But for this, of course, it is necessary that Western politicians influence the Greek leadership and convince them by their actions not to open another front that would weaken the positions of NATO as a whole.

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