Turkey has recently applied to Russia, asking for materials from the extradition file of one of the leaders and major ideologists of the Chechen gunmen, Movladi Udugov. A year and a half after an inquiry from Moscow, the Turkish government agreed to consider the requirement pertaining to the arrest and extradition of the terrorist.
Russia perceived that step in a positive way. The presidential administration stated that it was the evidence of Ankara’s readiness to cooperage with Moscow in the struggle with terrorism. As Sergey Yastrzhembsky, Russian assistant president, said in an interview to a Russian radio station, “we are starting a more constructive cooperation so as to detain the people involved in international terrorist networks. There are no doubts that Moscow will send the requisite documents and give an opportunity to Turkey to make the final decision.”
It should be mentioned that in December of last year, the heads of the Russian and Turkish foreign ministries signed the schedule of the joint actions on the development of cooperation in the Eurasian region. The document was called “From the bilateral cooperation to the multilateral partnership.” Moreover, Turkish special forces are currently participating in the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, and Ankara has started the struggle with the Kurdish rebels, which is also connected with the anti-terrorist struggle.
At the same time, one should not really hope that Turkey’s position towards the Chechen extremists is going to change fundamentally. Turkey may demonstratively draw a boundary between the most odious people of the Chechen republic, like Basayev, Khattab, or Udugov, making its reputation as an upholder of struggle with the international terrorism stronger. At the same time, Turkey is still realizing its geopolitical interests in Eurasia, which are far from being peaceful.
The bilateral cooperation or the multilateral cooperation with Russia can be documented, but as a matter of fact, it is good for Turkey to make the internal situation in Russia worse.
For example, the military relations between Turkey and the former Soviet republic of Georgia are developing to Russia’s detriment. The pro-Western regime of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze gives permission for the Turkish specialists to gain entry to the former Russian army base in Vasiani. The Turkish Air Force will most likely be deployed there in the nearest future. Chechen separatists can still find a shelter in Turkey. The Chechen diaspora in Turkey is a very strong one.
As far as Udugov is concerned (Johar Dudayev, former Chechen president’s press-secretary, later the minister for state policy and information of the Chechen republic, Udugov was one of the basic organizers of the incursion in Dagestan in 1999), he is not in Turkey now. The Russian department of Interpol believes that Udugov is calmly living in one of the countries of the Persian Gulf or somewhere in the Middle East, maybe in Saudi Arabia, where he owns real estate. Therefore, Turkey’s last initiative regarding Udugov is nothing more than a political game.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
On the photo: Movladi Udugov