Companions or rivals? Russia and Turkey navigate awkward alliance | Latest News Table

Companions or rivals? Russia and Turkey navigate awkward alliance

Earlier than Wednesday’s summit in Sochi between Putin and Erdogan, a abstract of the ties that bind and the rifts that divide.

Turkey’s defence purchases from Russia have alarmed Ankara’s NATO companions however the two nations stay rivals in wars from the Center East to the Caucasus, highlighting the faultlines operating by means of their awkward alliance.

Turkey has purchased Russian missile defence techniques and will purchase extra tools from Moscow. It imports Russian fuel, hosts thousands and thousands of Russian vacationers and has mentioned membership of the Western NATO alliance is not any barrier to constructing ties with Moscow.

Nevertheless it has additionally deployed troops in north Syria to push again Russian-backed Syrian authorities forces, and the 2 nations backed rival sides within the wars in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Upfront of Wednesday’s summit between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, here’s a abstract of the ties that bind and the rifts that divide Moscow and Ankara.

Regional rivals from Syria to Ukraine


In Syria, Turkey backs fighters who as soon as appeared near toppling President Bashar al-Assad, till Russian intervention shored up the Syrian chief and helped drive the fighters again to a small pocket of northwest Syria on the Turkish border.

In February 2020, when an air raid killed at the least 34 Turkish troopers, Turkey poured reinforcements into the northwestern Idlib area to stall advances by Russian-backed Syrian authorities forces which had displaced a million folks.

Within the build-up to this week’s summit, Turkey-backed insurgent fighters say Russia has escalated air raids.

They are saying Turkey has once more despatched extra forces to the area, though officers in Ankara say they’ve been primarily troop rotations, somewhat than reinforcements.


In Libya, Turkey’s navy intervention turned again an assault on the internationally recognised authorities in Tripoli by the eastern-based forces of Khalifa Haftar.

United Nations consultants have mentioned the Russian Wagner Group has despatched fighters to assist Haftar’s forces, whereas Turkey has despatched Syrian fighters to again the Tripoli authorities.

Below a ceasefire reached final October, international fighters have been presupposed to have left by January, a deadline all sides seem to have ignored.


Turkey supported Azerbaijan’s navy assault to drive ethnic Armenian forces out of a lot of the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh enclave within the south Caucasus final November.

Moscow has a defence pact with Armenia and views the area on its southern flank, made up of former Soviet republics, as a part of its personal again yard. Putin brokered a peace deal to stave off a complete defeat of ethnic Armenian forces.


Turkey has not recognised Russia’s annexation of Crimea and says you will need to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty – a message which has irked Moscow and which Erdogan repeated on the United Nations final week.

When Erdogan pledged in April to assist Kyiv amid a build-up of Russian forces alongside the Ukrainian border, Russia warned Turkey to not gas “militaristic sentiment”.

Partnerships, of which some anger the US

S-400 deal

Two years in the past, Turkey took supply of Russian S-400 missile defence batteries, finally triggering US sanctions on Ankara’s defence industries.

Regardless of warnings from Washington that additional Russian arms purchases would convey further US sanctions, Erdogan mentioned no nation may dictate Ankara’s acquisitions and prompt it might purchase a second batch of S-400s.

Power ties

Russia has to this point this yr accounted for about half of fuel imports to Turkey, which is closely import-reliant for its vitality wants, after slipping to one-third final yr when a fundamental pipeline was underneath restore for 4 months.

A restoration in consumption from final yr’s pandemic-induced dip additionally boosted volumes of Russian fuel.

Russian nuclear conglomerate Rosatom is constructing a nuclear plant at Akkuyu in southern Turkey, which Putin has mentioned will begin working in 2023.


Seven million Russian vacationers visited Turkey in 2019, the biggest quantity from any nation, earlier than the pandemic drastically lower international journey. Tourism stays a major supply of arduous foreign money for the Turkish economic system.

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