While the British Foreign Secretary does not seem to know the name of the Greek Foreign Minister, Turkey’s foreign policy has enjoyed a ‘success’ in hosting the first meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine.
I do not think there is anyone who expected that any significant development could emerge from this meeting. No one could not have imagined that they would agree to end the war.
But there was some hope that, under the weight of the news of the bombing of the children’s hospital in Ukraine, an agreement could be reached to facilitate the evacuation of civilians who are trapped in cities and now lack basic necessities such as food and water. Unfortunately, this was not possible either.
Nevertheless, for Erdogan, this meeting on Turkish soil was a godsend. It gives him something to celebrate. To claim with the well-known Turkish ‘humility’ that distinguishes him, that Turkey today is a country that counts.
That it is respected. That it plays an important role in the international scene.
And this ‘success’ could not have come at a better time for him. Now that the Turkish economy is collapsing, and now that his popularity has been significantly reduced.
However, the average observer in America, and elsewhere, can only wonder which side Turkey is on.
How is it possible for a NATO country to be accepted by both Ukraine and Russia as a host for such talks? Surely, the casual observer will think, “something is wrong.”
And indeed, there is. On the one hand, Turkey is supplying Ukraine with its much sought-after drones – which according to various reports are effective on the battlefield – and on the other hand, it is facilitating the Russians in any way and with any excuse it can.
Erdogan justified this policy on the grounds that Turkey has interests with Russia. Of course it does – but is it the only country that has interests with Russia?
There is no doubt that what now looks like a great success for Turkey will be interpreted in the capitals of various countries, including the United States, as another reason why they cannot trust Turkey.
Because in every war Turkey plays on two game boards, with two sets of diplomatic books. It has always been skilled at the neutrality game. It is no accident that the famous book titled ‘The Evasive Neutral’ is about…Turkey.