The areas of the activity of the Russian-Turkish commission on Syria have become clear. The Turkish Foreign Minister said that Syria's next government must be "comprehensive" and "secular." Russia insists on closing the Turkish-Syrian border. Is Turkey willing to be in the wake of Moscow's policy in the Syrian conflict?
As a result of the meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St. Petersburg, a tripartite mechanism was created consisting of commissions of representatives of intelligence, military and diplomatic representatives on each side," spokesman for Turkish President Ibrahim Kalyn said. The committee held its first meeting on August 11.
"Turkey and Russia have agreed that the next government in Syria must allow everyone to freely practice their beliefs, it must be comprehensive and secular", Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Cavusoglu said in an interview with Turkey's NTV.
"Our vision of the future of Syria coincides with the Russian one, - he continued. - The situation in Syria is getting worse every day. We have always said that it is only a political solution that can give Syria stability within the framework of saving the lives of civilians, distinguishing between moderate counteraction and terrorist groups and ensuring humanitarian aid."
Thus, it is clear that the Turkish side no longer insists on the immediate resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it still support "moderate" insurgents.
Russia demanded Ankara should close the Turkish-Syrian border. Most likely, Turkey will meet the requirement, the Izvestia newspaper wrote. It will be easy for Russia to find out whether Turkey closes the border with Syria or not: space satellites will do the job quickly.
What is the reason for optimistic forecasts?
Russia's most optimistic forecasts about Erdogan's actions have very good chances to come true because of the situation, in which the Turkish leader has been staying during the recent months. Erdogan does not want to be hung like Saddam Hussein, nor does he want to be lynched like Muammar Gaddafi. The last thing he wants is to be sentenced to life in prison, like Mohammed Mursi. Erdogan knows who made the above-mentioned personas vanish from the public eye.
Erdogan has made two ultimatums to the West. The first one was to Brussels, regarding the refugee program. The second ultimatum was to Washington. Turkey will consider leaving NATO if the country sees enough support from the alliance. According to Erdogan, the USA will have to choose between democratic Turkey and the terrorist organization of Fethullah Gülen.
It appears that the Turkish president is currently preoccupied with his own personal safety rather than with Turkey's NATO membership. It appears that Erdogan would also like to see an initiative for discussion coming from NATO officials rather than vice versa. The Turkish army still remains one of the most efficient armies in Europe, despite the recent cleansing. Thus, one may assume that Erdogan will take Turkey out of NATO and suspend relations with the West, if the USA does not deliver Gülen to Turkey.
Cavusoglu said in an interview with NTV that the United States was cooperating with Turkey on his extradition. He also said that Turkey requested the extradition of two fugitive colonels from Italy. "If the West loses Turkey one day, it will not be because of Turkey's improving relations with Russia, China, Central Asia and Islamic countries - it will happen because of its own mistakes," said Ahmet Cavusoglu.
Russia should cooperate with Erdogan pragmatically. We have not forgotten anything, and the cool reception in St Petersburg says this clearly. Yet, Turkey must take a decisive action to cut all supply channels for ISIL terrorists in Syria. An independent Kurdish government in Syria is Erdogan's sore point. This is where Russia can take its advantage over Turkey, promising that there will be no such government during Assad's presidency. In addition, Russia must convince Erdogan that the organizations that he supports - Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam - are terrorist organizations, rather than modern opposition groups.
"Washington realizes that Erdogan has gone too far - this what the coup has shown, - Vladimir Bruter, an expert at the International Institute of Humanitarian and Political Studies told Pravda.Ru. - Yet, Turkey's NATO membership is a pass to the club that makes decisions on the planet. The USA does not want to lose Turkey because Turkey acts like a conductor of USA's policy in the Middle East. As we can see, they both depend on each other, so the complete rupture of relations is not going to occur, at least not now," the expert said.
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