What role can Turkey play in Crimea?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today addressed the participants of the third summit of the «Crimea Platform» via video link and repeated everything he has already said several times. Turkey considers Crimea to be Ukrainian and is committed to its de-occupation by Russian forces. Turkey fully recognizes the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine, supports its struggle for independence and territorial integrity, and especially stands for the rights of the Crimean Tatars in their historical homeland. However, President Erdogan also called for a peaceful solution to the ongoing war, stressing that such a peace must be just. In this sense, his words have not changed. What has changed, however, is the context in which they are being spoken.

Today, Ukraine destroyed Russia’s latest S-400 missile defense system in Crimea, which many military analysts believe has created a significant breach in Russia’s air defenses on the peninsula. There will be more to come. Ukrainian drones now attack Moscow almost daily — these are the apparent successes of the «special military operation» launched to protect Donbass. But these attacks are more symbolic, while in Crimea Russian ground and naval forces are being systematically and seriously destroyed, blow by blow. This naturally raises the question of how it will all end and what role Turkey and its leader can play in it.

Recently, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, stated that the de-occupation of Crimea is likely to be a military operation. And this formulation is quite interesting — «probable»… It is clear that Ukraine aims at the military liberation of Crimea and is preparing to fight for it. However, it is also clear that the full liberation of Crimea by Ukrainian forces is not in the immediate future, unlike the systematic shelling of Russian forces that is currently taking place there. The future depends on how persistent the Kremlin madman will be in his madness and how much his environment will allow him to continue.

If the liberation of Crimea really becomes a military operation, which would involve a bloody army operation and be preceded by no less bloody battles for the Black Sea coast of Ukraine, Turkey will not be able to influence it in any way. However, if the remnants of sanity prevail in the Kremlin, in a few months they may grab Erdogan as a lifeline and ask him to negotiate with Ukraine for a peaceful scenario, similar to the resolution of the Karabakh war. In such a case, Turkey’s role would be substantially different, not only in ending the military phase of this conflict, but also in post-war Crimea, and with it the role of the Crimean Tatars.

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