Turkey Russian Relations Escalate

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Turkey has sent a stark warning to Russia over its ambitions in the Black Sea. Following the breakdown of the grain deal between Russia and Ukraine, Turkey is now stepping up to bring an end to the naval warfare.

Turkey has usually taken a middle course between Russia and the West. While it continues to back Ukraine in multiple ways, it has also refrained from using ideological language against Putin. Meduza reports:

Turkey’s government sent a warning to Moscow requesting that it avoid further escalation after Russian forces fired warning shots to stop a cargo ship in the Black Sea on Sunday, according to the Center for Combating Disinformation under the Turkish presidency’s communications directorate.

“After Russia’s interference, our partners in the Russian Federation were appropriately warned about the importance of avoiding such activities, which can lead to the escalation of tensions in the Black Sea,” read the agency’s statement.

Turkey maintains a special role in the Black Sea. Turkey can control Russian warships in the region thanks to the 1936 Convention but it cannot ban Russian ships from transiting either. The Wall Street Journal continues:

The corridor announced by Ukraine earlier in August was primarily intended to allow a small number of ships to leave Odesa that had been trapped in port since February 2022, according to an announcement of the sea lane from the Ukrainian navy.

The Joseph Schulte used a route that stays close to Ukraine’s shores before reaching Romania’s territorial waters. Ukraine’s coastline is protected by Ukrainian antiship missiles and drones, which have pushed the Russian navy back from its shores and limited Russia’s military options in that part of the Black Sea, military analysts said.

While the leaders of Turkey and Russia have sometimes had close ties between them, the geopolitical reality makes the two countries automatically rivals. Turkey’s interest in Azerbaijan against Armenia, its concern for the plight of the Muslim Crimean Tatars under Russian occupation, and its hostility to the pro-Russian Syrian regime, will guarantee Turkey’s continued support of NATO goals in the region.

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