U.S. Moves to Thwart Russia-Turkey Partnership, Russian Media Say


The United States is actively trying to use its sway over the contacts of its NATO partner Turkey with Russia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports.

Russia and Turkey are gearing up for another meeting of the high-level Cooperation Council due to be held in Ankara in early April. The upcoming event was discussed during a recent phone conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, bilateral ties are facing some bumps in the road, the paper says.

The sweeping expulsion of Russian diplomats by a host of countries amid the Skripal saga in Salisbury, England, was a test for Russian-Turkish relations. NATO announced a decision to expel seven staff members of the Russian permanent mission to the alliance in Brussels. The accreditation request by three other Russian diplomats was rejected. Ankara refused to veto the move although Turkish experts say it could have done so since all decisions in the alliance are made by a consensus.

Recently, tensions have mounted in Ankara’s relations with its Western partners so Turkey chose not to distance itself even more, Turkish political scientist Kerim Has told the paper. However, as a sovereign state, Turkey showed its position by refusing to kick out Russian diplomats and will stick to this stance in the future, he noted.

Turkey has come under great pressure from the United States of late, the paper says. Washington has threatened to stonewall the deal on selling F-35 multirole stealth fighters to Ankara over the Turkish leadership’s plans to buy Russia’s S-400 missile systems. However, Turkey doubts that the S-400 deal will affect the purchase of the F-35s from the U.S., the newspaper said.