Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, delayed his planned Washington DC visit, due to cabinet reshuffle; though he did not delay his Moscow visit, due to nerve gas scandal.
Çavuşoğlu visited Moscow on 12th of March and tweeted “In Moscow to attend the 6th Joint Strategic Planning Group Meeting of #Turkey–#Russia High Level Cooperation Council. We will also deliver a speech on “Turkish Foreign Policy” at #MGIMO University and visit Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition #MITTMoscow
He stayed in Moscow for two days.
In Moscow to attend the 6th Joint Strategic Planning Group Meeting of #Turkey–#Russia High Level Cooperation Council. We will also deliver a speech on “Turkish Foreign Policy” at #MGIMO University and visit Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition #MITTMoscow pic.twitter.com/atBfIRBPDs
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) March 12, 2018
The spy poisoning scandal, Theresa May’s harsh response, the World gathering behind May did not resonate much in Turkish politics and politicians have hardy even mentioned it. It is not such a hot topic in Turkey. In a sense this is understandable considering the existing chaotic situation of Turkish politics itself.
On the other hand, this situation is quite tricky for Turkey. After a harsh period with Russia, Turkey has been able to mend relations albeit with a lot of difficulties. Turkey had to pay a high price after the downing of the Russian jet. For two solid years, there have been nearly no Russian tourists in Turkish coasts; tourism sector would hardly survive a third year.
England on the other hand, is a new door of opportunity for Turkey, both politically and financially, after Brexit. As two non-EU members, in the peripheries of the old continent, both countries seem to see each other as potential partners on many issues.
The silence about the spy saga in that sense is understandable. Politicians are not talking but probably they are thinking about this incident. And it is not hard to guess or even understand what they are thinking. Although politicians do not talk, there are journalists who are writing for, instead of them.
These days the power mechanism in Turkey tends to explain every incident with meta-conspiracy theories. You can bump into tens of them especially in pro-government media.
Once a big supporter of former Foreign Minister of Turkey Davutoğlu’s foreign policy, pro government newspaper Yeni Şafak writer İbrahim Karagül, writes about England, Russia spy standoff. He explains the incident as: “The World has been watching the East-West standoff through the Baltic and Europe. There are the Black Sea, Syria and Eastern Mediterranean aspects of this front. It is not only about Russia, but all the Asian powers standing against the West.”
He further claims Turkey is one of the battlefields. Thus Karagül claims, “the attacks” coming from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel axis is a part of that standoff.
Of course it is not only the opinion writer Karagül who thinks in West-East dichotomy, these days. It can be found in almost every speech of President Erdoğan.
Karagül writes, “in this New World Order, nobody will pity each other. Every country is making their trenches stronger. Turkey is quiet decisive in this new war, and getting ready for bigger battles. After 15th of July we should not be facing a new international intervention. So Turkey will be reacting very harshly to ‘internal operation’ attempts.
Even the the latest stand off between England and Russia, is an excuse for Turkey to shut down opposition voices. Everybody should pull themselves together and decide where they are standing. The time to take the small actors into consideration has passed. Turkey is giving the greatest battle of all times. We are now calling this front ‘the mean resistance’”.
Karagül greatly reflects very much the perspective of the power mechanism in Turkey. There is no need to even read between the lines, though it is quite clear. Even the stand off between Russia and England, is a new excuse to crush any sort of opposition in Turkey.