From wars upto alliance…
History of the mutual relations between Russia and Turkey is very long and complicated. This history includes wars, mutual withdrawals and hot relations. Being Moslem and Christian country these two forces appoint the contours of their foreign policy basing on the regional strategical interests rather than religious ones. That’s why the interests of these two states both intersect and join in some points. History of the relations between Turkey and Russia leans against the ancient times. Christianity was lieng from Byzantium upto the ancient russian lands. In order to get the exit to sea at times wars had happened between Russia and Turkey. The first russian migrant wave has begun to settle in Turkey within some years. These peculiarities connect these two countries closely.
Study Turkish in Russia was necessity arising from political requirement.
In reality turkish languages were known in Russia long ago. Some turkish words have entered the russian language before tatar periods in our history (for example, let us remember turkish elements in the lexsicon of “Epos of Igor’s regiment”).
It’s possible to find number of information about peaceful and hostility relations between the russians and turks in the russian written sources. In the XI century in Russia occured turkish speaking kins. Primary reliable sources about the turkish settlement in the russian lands belong to the 1080-1097th years.
As a result of the Russians’ centuries-old and direct intercourses with the turks the russians have acquainted with languages, habits, morals and cultures of turkish people in detail. Afterwards teaching of the turkish language was begun in Moscow. In the XVII century in Moscow in Posol region tatar and turkish translators carried out activities. Holding of the first state ceremonies on preparing of turkologist specialists is connected namely with Peter I.
Turkey-Russia wars were a demonstation of the strongest state in the region in reality.
Russia has always considered Turkey a competitor and she has pursued politics of weakening the competitor as soon as possible, occuping more lands and increasing influence in the region. So Azov marches of the 1695-1696th years are considered to be tsar Peter’s first steps in foreign policy. It was a new direction of the fight with The Ottoman Empire and it became a foundation of tense struggles.
In summer, 1695 russian troops move forward to the Azov surroundings under guidance of Golovin, Lefort and Gordon. But they failed to capture turkish lands. Next year Azov is surrounded by russian troops and on July 18, 1696 the garrison of fortress surrenders. In 1697 Russia, Austria and Venice create a unity against The Ottoman Empire.
Rivalry and strength were demonstrated not only by Russia, but by The Ottoman Empire also. In turn the turks did not conceal their plans to occupy more lands, to get the exit to sea and to create hegemon state in the region. In 1735 next Russia-Turkey war begins with the purpose to get the exit to the Black Sea. The main cause of the war was crimean-tatar troops’ of 20 thousands men breaking russian borders in the Transcaucasia. Military operations between Russia and The Ottoman Empire began in autumn, 1735 and troop of 40 thousands men moved forward to Perecope. This war came to an end with signing of Belgrade peace treaty in September, 1739. But Russia could not get the exit to the Black sea after this bloody four-year war.
Russia-Turkey war of the 1768-1774th years was remembered with number of losses. As Russia refused taking out her troops from Poland, The Ottoman Empire declared war against her. On the 10th of July, 1774 peace treaty was signed with The Ottoman Empire in the village of Kichik-Kaynarjan. According to this treaty, the crimean, cuban and boudgak tatars went out from turkish subordination, Kerch and Yenikale in the Crimea, Kinburn in the shore of the Black Sea went to russian subordination. Russia achieved success to strengthen Azov. Turkey allowed the Russian ship to pass strait without any obstacles and paid dues of 4.5 million roubles. Russia patronized Valakhiya and Moldavia.
Turkey did not want to agree with the lost of her lands. So intensive preparations of the new war were carried out. At last the new war was founded. The new Russia-Turkey war began in 1787. Turkey founded military operations with the purpose to return the Crimea and other territories back. Russia was taking part in this war like an ally with Austria. Peace treaty was signed in Yassakh in 1791. According to this treaty Russia moved off along the shores of the Black Sea from southern Bug upto Dniester.
Russia-Turkey war began again in 1806. Turkey made a start to the new military operations in order to own territories in Caucasus and in northern shores of the Black Sea again. Turkey got political and military support from Napoleon who was acting like a mediator between these sides. Napoleon helped Turkey in fighting against Russia. According to the treaty signed in Bucharest in 1812 borders were appointed from Prut upto the Danube, Russia gained the right of keeping trade ship in the Danube, Serbia was given an autonomy.
In 1828 one-year Russia-Turkey war began. Military operations started around the Danube in spring, 1828, Russian troops of 95 thousand men had gathered here. At the end peace treaty was signed on the 14th of September, 1829. Russia got islands in the Danube delta, shores of the Black Sea, castles of Akhalchikh and Akhalkalaky and 33 million golden roubles. According to the treaty russian and foreign merchants gained the right of moving in the Black Sea without any obstacles. Besides, independence of Greece, autonomy of Moldavia, Valakhiya and Serbia were declared in the very treaty.
The 1853-1856th years reminds the Crimean war. As Turkey failed to fight against Russia decently, England and France were helping them. Russia separated the Balkan Peninsula from Turkey. The cause of the war was a conflict arisen between Catholic and Orthodox churches on belonging of holy places in Palestine, especially Vifleem church. Although, solution of this problem belonged to The sultan, Napoleon I and Nikolay I were looking for an excuse to influence Turkey. Thats’s why they got into argument: the first was on the Catholic church side, the second was on the Orthodox church side. Religious argument turned to the hard diplomatic conflict. Peace treaty was signed on the 30th of March, 1856 in Paris. According to the treaty occupied territories in the war time have been changed. Russia lost the right of keeping her Military Fleet and offshore military -sea armoury in the Black Sea, lands along the Danube and southern Bessarabia.
Russia, gradually sacrificing her interests in the region, did not want to agree with a range of these failures. So it was high time to return back lost territories and to gain previous authority in the region. Russia-Turkey war flamed again in 1877. In order to increase authority in the Balkans the war was started by Russia. In 1875 slavic provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina began to rebel against the Ottoman Empire’s influence. At last, on the 19th of February, 1878 peace treaty was signed in San-Stefano. According to this treaty Turkey recognized whole independence of Chernogoria, Serbia and Romania. New state named Knightage of Bulgaria arose. Bosnia and Herzegovina gained autonomy. Some territorial part of Bessarabia was returned back to Russia. Ardaghan, Batumi, Kare, Bayazet in the Caucasus were taken under the russian control. Turkey paid indemnity of 310 million roubles.
The Russians’ migration to Turkey was a join of two civilizations too.
The result of civil war was 150 thousand russians’ run via Bosporus: 27 thousand women, more than 100 thousand soldiers, 6 thousand ill and injured men were obliged to live like a migrant. The witness of these events, writer Ilya Surguchev described refugees’ moving in 1920: “65 russian hospital ship with yellow flags had stood on the shores of Constantinople, number of people in these ship were eating American cookies and red unboiled English potatoes. It was long ago that they were in need of simple water”.
In the result of serious discipline, soldiers and officers living in tent and huts not only had kept the numbers of the military units, but they had turned the settlement they lived to the original military camp. Row trainings, company and battalion practices, parade and reviews were held here. The main objects of the discussions in officers’ assembles were plans of establishing of theatres, founding of journals and organizing of exhibitions. Knight Dolgorukov was writing: “Soldiers and officers, striding and welcoming generals were being met in the streets. At the same time officers in rags, having left the army were selling match, pencil and knick-knack in streets”.
Today you can see silent fisher troughs, tourist buses, ferries passing Dardanelles in the city of Gelibolu. No trace of the last camp of russian army remained here.
Russian migrants in Istanbul had made their way in society independing on the posts.
Refugees had settled mostly in the European part of the city, on western shores of the Bosporus, in the region of Qalata and in the street of Pera, being main European artery of the city.
The most important part of the russian refugees’ motley activities was their influence to the cultural life of the city. Unity of russian painters in Istanbul were organizing exhibition of the best drawings. Turkish spectators were interested in “light jenre” mostly and the famous operetta singer Vladimir Smirnov had established a cabaret-theatre named “Pariziana”.
Russia and Turkey seem more like an ally in the background of the modern international relations.
Russia and Turkey military-technical cooperation makes the USA, Europe and Iran to worry.
If we pay attention at the end of the XX century -at the beginning of the XXI century we shall see that Russia and Turkey are not enemy states as being in the previous centuries, but they are close allies and partners in some spheres of the life. There are strings of the successful military-technical cooperation between these two super states.
Turkey takes the second place in NATO according to the number of army and battle training. The annual volume of weapon sale in the turkish market amounts 3-5 milliard dollars. During 1997-2007th years 27 milliard dollars has been spent on modernizing of the turkish military forces and developing of defence industry. Generally, it is intended to spent 150 milliard dollars on modernizing of the Turkish Military Forces till 2020.
Military-technical cooperation between Russia and Turkey has begun since1992. Turkey was the first country among NATO members to cooperate with Russia in this sphere. Bilateral military-technical cooperation was founded with Prezident of the Russian Federation B.Yeltsin’s meetings with President of Turkey S.Damiral in Moscow (May, 1992) and in Istanbul (June, 1992). At that time it had been agreed essentially to send Turkey Russian weapon and military technology in amount of 300 million dollars.
According to the interstate agreement signed in 1992-1993th years BTR-60, BTR-80 armour cars, Mi-17 helicopters, 4 auxiliary ship, machine-guns, snipers and weapon in the amount of 190 million dollars have been given to Turkey, concretely to the Gendarme Forces’ Head Office and National Defence Ministry. 100 million dollars of this sum have been paid in stead of the debt of Russia to Turkey. Cooperation with Turkey is carried out not only by “Rosoboroneksporta”, but by the companies of “Rostvertol” and “Kalashnikov”. Moreover, problems of the sale of different appointed helicopters, tanks, landing and auxiliary ship for the military air forces are discussed.
According to the contract signed in April, 1994 between two governments on the military-technical cooperation united production of tactical rocket complex, shots and different kinds of weapon with State Machinery and Chemistry Coperation of Turkey was intended. In 2001 united russian-turkish commission on military-technical cooperation was created and it aimed to make this cooperation more stable and long-term. Two assemblages of the commission were held in September, 2002 in Ankara and in 2003 in Moscow.
Perspectives of Russia andTurkey military-technical cooperation have been intended to create stability in the region.
Perspectives of Russia-Turkey military-technical cooperation meet objective obstacles. Employment of NATO standards in Turkey and financial difficulties between two sides may be put as an example. These causes include strong competition demonstrated by the USA, taking durable part in military and political spheres in Turkey and by other western countries. Despite of it, cooperation with Turkey in this direction assumes perspective and great political importance for Russia.
The most important project of Russia-Turkey military-technical cooperation is “ATAK” – Russian companies of “Rosoboroneksport” and “Kamov” have taken part in licenced production of 145 scout-attack helicopters in Turkey. Basic competitor in the tender of this project was American company “Bell Textron”. This company carried out wide and intensive political lobby propaganda with the purpose of her offer to be approved in the tender even drawing President George Bush into intervention. But conditions offered by Russia – quality of the weapons proposed to the turks, boundless opportunities of the military technology and offered prices were more suitable than that of the Americans. Deputy of the National Defence Ministry of Turkey, chief of the defence industry apparatus D.Erdjan desided to conclude a treaty with the russian company “Kamov” on the 15th of October, 2003.
But in a month this official was sent to resignation. On the 14th of May, 2004 the same tender was liquidated not being declared a winner. The next tender on “ATAK” project was held in August, 2004.
Cooperation between Russia and Turkey has succeeded in the sphere of space. United commission on the military-technical cooperation between Russia and Turkey has expressed her interests in the spheres of space and military appointed satellites. Moreover, Turkey is interested in training of turkish cosmonauts and space specialists within this cooperation.
All of these prove that Turkey considers Russia a potential seller of weapon. In case of regional problems and western countries’ influences Turkey gains a guarantee to receive possible military-technical aid from Russia. In other words, Turkish military-industrial complex looks at Russia like a producer of potential exclusive technologies (aviation, fleet, space, shot). So, Turkey cannot get these weapons from western and other traditional partners.
Experience shows that development of the mutual relations between Russia and Turkey in the military-technical sphere depends on today’s political relations and military attitudes between the sides. In the experts’ opinion, signing of interstate documents is requred in the future development of the military-technical cooperation between Russia and Turkey. These documents must reflect the defence of intellectual property and protection of confidential information in the sphere of military-technical cooperation .
Generally, another cause of political approaching of Russia and Turkey is their intention to achieve peace in the Caucasus. The offer of creation Peace Pact in the Caucasus shows Turkey’s desire to play the greatest role in the world politics. Turkey is the only country among NATO members that borders on the tensest countries of the world – Iraq and Georgia. It would be a failure at least not to use such a situation for own favour. On the shores of the Bosporus it is understood very well. So today Turkey does her best to use this historical chance maximally and to demonstrate herself not only like a powerful country in the region, but like an important factor of the international safety system too.
In order to achieve her ambitions in foreign policy official Ankara strives very much. That’s why approaching of Turkey and Russia draws special attention in some problems of the international policy. In order to achieve understanding in some important problems not only simple dialogue is required, but dialogue should base on the concrete results.
In other words, it is high time to become clear. Moscow and Ankara have understood this in time. It is not accidental that position of Turkey in the time and after “five-days war” in the Caucasus prevented the region from bad results, otherwise if Ankara was on the side of official Tbilisi, the events would burst out. In general, war in Georgia gave Turkey great chance to demonstrate her power. In this way Turkey authority in the Caucasus began to increase. Now official Ankara puts forward a platform offer in the Caucasus and tries to be a guarantor of stability in the region. Naturally, it will be incorrect to forget Russia factor here. But in fact Turkey tries to reduce Iran influence in the region by approaching with Russia. How to say, Turkey aims to render harmless her competitors one by one: first Iran, then Russia. In reality Turkey strives to solve her PKK terror problem by reducing Iran influence in the region. So, first of all Iran have to be neutralized in order to render harmless kurd separatists, leaving Iran for Irak and waging war with Turkey with claims of territory.
Long-term interests of Turkey and Russia in the Caucasus coincide. The level of country leaders’ political relations and intensifying dialogue in some important directions of the regional and international politics show this clearly.
Approaching of these two countries proves itself in the solving process of the complex of regional problems arisen around the conflict of Nagorny Karabakh. The dialogue begining between Ankara and Yerevan in September and being supported actively by Moscow, admiting with conception in Baku has been reflected in the meetings and consultations of the country leaders. President of Russia D.Medvedyev’s meeting with Azerbaijan and Armenia leaders in Moscow concerning with solution of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict has been possible as a result of the efforts of Ankara. Ankara meets activity of Moscow in this problem gently. The main is a result. Turkish politicians declare directly that turkish-russian approaching will play the positive role in the solution of this frozen problem.
Nevertheless, political approaching of Moscow and Ankara is being met meaningly in Europe, much more in other side of the ocean. Even it has been sentenced that Ankara must make choice for herself: With whom and which game she must play afterwards.
There is a special idea concernng with this problem in Anadolu. Private interests have always been put forward like a fundamental principle of the foreign policy here and Turkey does not intend to move away from this principle. At first time since 1962, election of Turkey to the UN Security Council a temporary member was not a cause for this country to correct his foregn policy. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey A.Babacan has noted it in his recent speech. He has declared that Turkey will not step back from Cyprus problem and she will take the same position in the Caucasus problem too.
It is necessary to note that trading and industrial terms have developed enough as bilateral political relations are in high level. So, Russia takes the second place after Germany in the foreign trading turnover of Turkey. The volume and character of mutual investments draw attention too.
Capital invested to the russian economy by the turkish businesmen in 2007 is approximately 3.9 milliard dollars. Capital has been invested in the following spheres: food, glass, electric, electrotechnology, timber industry, production of building materials, life chemistry, service, trade, tourism and bank sector.
At present the greatest investment project between Turkey and Russia is mobile communication system of Turkey – let us remember that russian company “Alfa Telekom” owns the sum of 3.2 milliard dollars, i.e. 13.2 percent parts of turkish mobil operator “Turkcell”. Lately it is observed that russian companies are interested in other spheres of turkish industry. The russians intend to put capital in heating-power engineering, ferrous metal industry and production of building materials.
Russia-Turkey Business Council tries to establish and strengthen business relations with regions of Russia and this council includes 36 russian regions and more than 150 turkish companies.
Of course, form of investment cooperation may change in the frame of world economical crisis, but it is nonsense to say that investment projects have finished or interests of both countries’ businessmen to each other have diminished.
The first international economical forum on Europe and Central Asia held in October, 30 – November, 01, 2008 in Istanbul may be put an example.
Russia and Turkey have been competitors during some centuries. This rivalry was resulting in long wars in some cases. Ambitions of these states were growing on the ideology of national hegemony. But ideas and stereotypes in the past change its place with rational schemes and pragmatic moves, arisen in the period of political realism, in the result the level of mutual relations rises and it changes tactical unity into the strategical partnership. This process passes so intensively that presidents try to make mutual visits and raise relations between countries.