Are Turkey and Russia Heading For A Clash?

by David Mark

With the war in Ukraine dragging on, NATO has tried its best to stay united. However, Turkey who is a NATO member is beginning to get nervous.

Turkey invoked the Montreux Convention earlier in the war , which allows them to close the Bosphorus to military ships not normally located in the Black Sea. This has severely hampered Putin’s ability to expand the war to Odessa. Turkey has also decided to prevent Russian overflights to Syria using Turkish airspace.

“We closed the airspace to Russia’s military planes – and even civilian ones – flying to Syria. They had until April, and we asked in March,” Turkish media quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying on Saturday.

Despite the actions, Turkey is trying to navigate between NATO and Russia.

Turkish President Erdogan said the following:

“Following the NATO’s Foreign Ministers’ meeting, it was the impression that…there are those within the NATO member states that want the war to continue, let the war continue and Russia gets weaker.”

Why would Erdogan make such a comment?

Turkey knows that the longer the war goes on and the longer Turkey keeps the Bosphorus closed to Russian ships it chances a real conflict with Russia. Erdogan wants to keep Russia at a distance, while keeping the West placated.

Biden might project unity, but Turkey doesn’t care about NATO’s needs especially if it draws Putin into attacking Turkey. At the end of the day, the great balancing act Erdogan has decided to undertake, may not help – Turkey may have to decide if NATO is still worth it.

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