News ID: 174924
Published: 0726 GMT January 01, 2017

Russia-Turkey alliance in the spotlight

Russia-Turkey alliance in the spotlight

By Seyyed Hossein Mosavi

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a nationwide ceasefire in Syria which went into force at midnight (10pm GMT) on Thursday.

The Syrian army halted its military operations as the truce began. The military, however, said the ceasefire does not include Daesh and Fateh al-Sham terror groups as well as their affiliates.

Moscow and Ankara noted that they would act as guarantors of the peace process.

The truce drew worldwide reactions as Iran, the US, and the UN welcomed it as a way which can help establish peace in the Arab nation.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the ceasefire has raised a challenging question.

Russia and Turkey had divergent views over the Syria crisis until a few months ago. The question is how they have managed to 'settle their differences' and describe themselves as the guarantors of the truce?

The following tips can shed light on the issue.

Turkey has been accused of supporting foreign-backed terrorists since the Syria crisis began five years ago.

Likewise, Ankara has explicitly called for toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad who rose to power through public vote.

Elsewhere, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed Washington for backing US based cleric Fethullah Gulen who is held responsible by Ankara for orchestrating July's aborted coup.

The Erdogan administration has arrested thousands for alleged involvement in the abortive military takeover which has drawn the ire of the European Union.

 The bloc has threatened that the arrests hinder efforts aimed at expediting Turkey's membership to the EU and allowing its citizens to enter the Schengen zone without visa requirement.

The Turkish president has hit back at the EU accusing it of adopting double standards.

Russia is aware of all of these events which have cast their shadow on Turkey’s foreign policy. Moscow is also aware that Turkey’s divergence from NATO’s military buildup would adversely affect the intergovernmental military alliance, which is strategically important for the Kremlin. 

Russia is further aware of Turkey’s influence on armed groups fighting against the Syrian government.

As a result, Russia’s cooperation with Turkey can benefit Moscow. This is because such cooperation can help meet the demands of the Syrian government and its regional allies which are Russia’s allies in the battle against terrorist groups. Likewise, it can come to Moscow’s aid in its efforts to prevent the expansion of NATO around its borders amid Turkey’s sour ties with the US and Europe.

Besides, the US Congress has been allowed to provide some of the anti-Syria groups with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. Moscow has described the move as a threat to Russian forces in Syria.

Given Ankara’s influence on such groups, Russia-Turkey bonds can also help foil such threats.




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