One wonders whether the phrase keep your friends close but your enemies closer is apt in the circumstances.
Sanctions hurt both ways – granted the sanctions imposed by the EU and USA on Russia are illegal – as these were never ratified by the United Nations with the financial impact of Moscow’s retaliation – reported to cost Europeans in excess of 100 billion euros in economic development and jeopardize up to 2.5 million jobs – a study by Global Research disclosed in June 2015. (1)
When Turkey duck-dived and shot down a Russian jet in Syrian territory – in November last year – Russia imposed economic sanctions against Turkey – something that Erdogan – President of Turkey – nor one President Obama – did not calculate into his equation.
Turkeys actions were tantamount to a declaration of war – but the political outcome by Russia served Erdogan – ‘roasted’ turkey for Christmas – Putin and Medvedov tack – of imposing sanctions on Russian tourists to Turkey – and import of fresh fruit and vegetables from Turkey – created huge economic consequences in just December 2015 alone – the subsequent impact of which was that the US State Department became involved – in late December – imploring Russia to cease these sanctions. (2)
Yes slightly hypocritical of the US State Department and Obama – and reported as such in the Russian media – keeping the anti-Russian sanctions in force ‘to ensure the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements on the Ukraine. (2)
Turkey was suffering – and 2016 and the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) study – calculated that Russia’s economic sanctions on Turkey will cost Turkey’s economy a (real) loss of $2.3 billion to $8.3 billion in 2016.
“The sanctions are expected to have indirect effects also. While the direct effect in exports, tourism and the suitcase trade is expected to be $2.5 billion (real), the loss in incomes will be double, economists have said.” (3)
Erdogan and Turkey were in a dangerous situation economically – and it was obvious that something had to be done – increase in unemployment – bankruptcies within the tourism industry and ‘that request’ by the big brother to Russia in December 2015 – via the US State Department – falling on deaf Russian ears.
Erdogan had to eat humble pie and in June – mind you it took 7 months since the initial incident took place – that he wrote to the Russian President and apologized for shooting down the Russian plane and the death of the pilot. (4)
So Erdogan realized the folly of his ways and apologized – Russia however has the ball in their court – that apology was one thing – security for its citizens who visit Turkey is another.
“Russia will remove the economic sanctions against Turkey “on a gradual basis,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
Speaking at a meeting of the cabinet of ministers in Moscow, Medvedev said economic sanctions against Turkey would be lifted in accordance with the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” (5)
Gradually – this is an interesting state of affairs – especially in light of the recent terrorists attack at the airport in Istanbul – those terrorists having been by ‘Russians’ who sought refugee status in the EU – principally Germany and Austria – and the EU denied constant extradition requests by Russian authorities on terrorist charges. (6)
Take the EU actions in denying these extradition to Russia – coupled with both the EU and NATO playing silly war games on the Russian borders – with the obvious consent of the US authorities and Obama – then to top that off – the Ukrainian authorities permitting the excursion by right wing soldiers and the Ukrainian military into the Donetsk region of Ukraine – which is against the Minsk agreement. (7)
Mind you the United Kingdom – may well be exiting the EU but as a member of NATO are joining the war mongering folly – by sending troops to the NATO war games regions. (8)
This saber rattling by the NATO will not bode well for those countries involved including Poland – Romania – United Kingdom – Europe and America – whilst both Putin and Medvedev play diplomacy with Turkey – they both are not interested in playing diplomacy with anyone else.
Traditional factors are at play – the game is on a war footing now – just in case you all missed the single important factor on the Russian side – the dismissal of 50 senior officers amongst Russia’s Baltic Fleet – this seems to be a regular historical precursor by the Russian authorities prior to war – the removal of the doves – replacement with the hawks. (9)
As I said – game on – the writer is wondering as to where the initial flashpoint will occur and by whom – regardless of the spark – Putin has already indicated – last September – in Sochi – that their retaliation will be nuclear.
Then we shall see whether the current belated diplomacy by Erdogan – Turkey being a member of NATO – will be all for nought.
6. http://turkishmonitor.com/dozens-of-terrorism-suspects-among-syrian-refugees-who-entered-germany-via-turkey-2999/ http://newobserveronline.com/istanbul-terrorist-got-asylum-austria/