By Amina Nazarli
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have vowed to restore an “axis of friendship” between Ankara and Moscow amid Turkey faces strained relations with the West.
But to which extent the Russian-Turkish rapprochement could affect Western interests in the region and beyond?
An expert claims that the visit of Erdogan to Saint Petersburg will send strong message to the West meaning as “Ankara has options”.
Yusuf Cinar, president of the Turkish international research center Strategic Outlook said that the Turkish president’s visit to Russia means that the relations between Ankara and Moscow are entering a new era following the downed aircraft incident.
He stressed that this convergence between Turkey and Russia may come as a surprise to the West and dramatically change the balance in the region.
“This rapprochement may sharply estrange Turkey from the West, since Turkey's relations with Europe and the U.S. have sharply deteriorated after July 15,” said Cinar.
On July 15 evening, Turkish authorities said a military coup attempt took place in the country. Meanwhile, a group of servicemen announced about transition of power to them.
However, the rebelling servicemen started to surrender July 16 and Turkish authorities said the coup attempt failed. Erdogan said the death toll as a result of the military coup attempt stood at 246 people excluding the coup plotters and over 2,000 people were wounded.
Turkish president declared a three-month state of emergency in Turkey on July 20.
Erdogan has strongly criticized West for the tepid response to the coup attempt, and experts believe that Putin may have seen an opportunity to provide a supportive shoulder for the Turkish leader, despite the past months tensions.
Analysts say that in a light of elevated anti-Western sentiment, Erdogan’s move to warm relations with Russia may harden Turkey’s alienation from its traditional allies.
Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli
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