Will Turkish-Russian rapprochement survive the Syrian test?

Immediately after the July 15 coup attempt, orchestrated by Fetullah Terror Cult (FETÖ), Turkish-Russian relations entered a new phase, seemingly leaving behind the high tensions that appeared after Turkey downed a Russian jet on November 24 last year after it violated Turkish airspace.


Ankara strongly believed that the West was somehow involved in the orchestration of the coup, at least both the EU and the U.S. were reluctant to grasp the nature of the threat, posed by the FETÖ. Dozens of FETÖ members were granted political asylum in European countries, mainly in Germany. In addition, Turkey has warned the West, especially the U.S. to refrain from supporting the PYD, PKK’s official Syrian branch. However, the relations with the West have deteriorated as the European Parliament made an unbinding decision of freezing negotiations with Turkey. The disputes with the West made Turkey closer with Russia which stopped explicitly supporting PYD and condemned the coup attempt, claiming even that it had warned Turkey before.


But it remains as a question whether a real Turkish-Russian alliance is possible as the two countries are on the opposite sides in the Syrian war. The killing of at least 5 Turkish soldiers near al-Bab by the regime air forces, apparently under control of Russia, shows that a permanent alliance is not likely, but Russia remains a trump for Turkey against the West as the EU, primarily Germany, is concerned with Russia’s expansion into the Middle East and especially to Scandinavia, after the annexation of Crimea and Ukraine’s east. It can be said that Turkey is playing a balanced game. It has started using its hard power through driving its own army into Syria alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
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