Turkish week – spy journalists, S-400, sanctions and parade in Baku
There were many interesting things in Turkey last week.
Let’s start with the case of the journalists of the Russian TV channel NTV, who were detained near the building in which the company specializing in the production of Turkish military unmanned aerial vehicles is located Baykar Savunma.
In an interview with the Sabah newspaper, retired Turkish intelligence agent Joshkun Basbug qualified what Russian journalists “tried to do” as banal espionage. “This is industrial espionage. This is a war of the special services. The scouts used a journalistic cover to achieve their goal. Perhaps, in the background of this incident, other connections and other goals will be revealed, ”he said.
The case of the detainees was referred to the court, which released the NTV journalists and immediately deported them to their homeland. Which is also common practice in espionage cases, unless, of course, the country’s authorities do not want to spoil relations with the authorities of the spies’ country of origin. Ankara is not going to spoil relations with Moscow now, so they sent spy journalists quietly. True, they are unlikely to come to Turkey again. at least in the next ten to fifteen years. By the way, Aytaj Dzharchieva, a Turkish citizen of Azerbaijani origin, who works as a correspondent for the Rossiya TV channel, turned out to be a citizen of Turkey who was detained together with the journalists. I don’t think you were not surprised by the place of work of the detainee. However, she was also released, there is no need for unnecessary noise, the stakes are too high now, and there is nothing surprising in attempts to find out the secrets of Turkish Bayraktar after what happened recently in the region.
An equally funny story is Turkey’s contract for the purchase of Russian S-400 systems. The head of the state corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov, by the way a close friend of President Putin, said at a briefing that Russia had fulfilled the first contract for the supply of S-400 air defense systems to Turkey, the second deal will depend on decisions of Ankara. It is the second contract that enables “joint production” and “technology transfer”. Technology transfer is the main thing. Of course, Turkey, as a regional power, needs modern air defense systems, but it’s one thing to use it, and quite another to participate.
It was this circumstance that greatly upset Turkey’s allies on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. On December 8, the House of Representatives of the US Congress approved an initiative to impose mandatory sanctions against Turkey over its purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. This initiative was included in the country’s defense budget bill for fiscal 2021. In fairness, it must be said that the States have long threatened the Turks with Egyptian executions for cooperation with the Russian Federation. The only pity is that no one has guessed to offer an alternative in the form of Patriot complexes.
Now about the sanctions. The Turkish press writes that President Trump for three years personally restrained the introduction of sanctions against Turkey in connection with the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems by Ankara, and now, a month before his departure, he gave the green light to the sanctions. After the decision of the US President, the dollar in Turkey jumped to 8 Turkish lira. Erdogan regarded this decision of Trump as disrespect for his NATO partner and recalled that the previous president, Barack Obama, considered him one of the most important among the five friends-world leaders and would never go for it. It is clear that this was an allusion to the fact that the new US President Biden was working with Obama on the same team. By the way, Biden has very good personal relations with Erdogan, but this is probably the end of the good news for Ankara – Biden’s party members generally treat Turkey much worse than Trump’s party members. But with the European sanctions, Turkey was carried over, however, frankly, there were not so many options under the EU. Turkey today holds back millions of refugees from Syria and not only from Syria. So Erdogan assessed the results of the summit of EU leaders positively.
On Thursday, a victory parade was held in Baku, which was received by President Erdogan along with President Aliyev. Almost three thousand Turkish soldiers took part in the victory parade. Aliyev called Erdogan a brother, promised to come to Karabakh with him and confirmed the key role of Turkish drones in the war in Karabakh. After the parade, the leaders of the countries signed a protocol to amend the Agreement between the governments of the two countries on a mutual visa-free regime. Citizens will soon travel between Turkey and Azerbaijan with only identity documents.
In his speech at the Baku parade, Erdogan referred to “Western imperialism” after reading the poem “Araz-Araz” by the poet Bakhtiyar Vagabzade. But then another problem arose – the poem read by Erdogan is a symbol of separatism for neighboring Iran, as a result, the Turkish ambassador to Tehran ended up on the carpet at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and his Iranian counterpart in Ankara at the Turkish Foreign Ministry. The Turkish Foreign Minister explained that Erdogan was not aware of the sensitivity of this work for the Iranian side and demanded respect for the president of his country. Well, this is another confirmation of the immutable truth that we live in a very complex region.
And in the conclusion about the covid epidemic, how can it be without it. Recall that the Turkish authorities have decided to buy the Chinese vaccine “Corona Vac”. The Turkish health minister said the authorities intend to vaccinate 100 million doses by the end of April next year, of which 25 million doses of the vaccine will come from BioNTech (Pfizer).
But the Turks decided to politely refuse the Russian vaccine. Nothing personal, just as the Minister of Health of Turkey explained – “With regard to the vaccine produced in Russia, it was important that toxicological tests were carried out in our country. We are already launching these tests. And if they are successful, I can say that there will be no problems with the purchase of the Russian vaccine ”. The minister also said in an interview with the HaberTürk observer that the problem arose due to the issue of compliance with GLP requirements.
In Turkey, about 31 thousand people are infected with the coronavirus per day. This is a lot, but less than ours if we count per capita.
Next week will be just as interesting, stay tuned.
Review prepared by Gulsafa Bayramova, GSAC