Our Analytics 6 october — 11:48

Ilham Aliyev's factor in tandemocracy of Putin and Erdogan (Our analysis)



Recently, in his sensational speech in the liberated Jabrayil district, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev emphasised the role of Russia and Turkey, acting as guarantors of the regional security system. According to the Azerbaijani leader, Baku is satisfied with the model of the balance of forces in the region that has developed after the second Karabakh war.

Baku skilfully uses both orbits of integration -- Eurasian/Moscow and Turkic/Ankara -- receiving economic benefits from both projects, keeping a distance from political risks and situational tensions between these geopolitical centres.

Azerbaijan uses the advantages and positive aspects of interaction between the 'fields' of Moscow and Ankara

Big goal of Erdogan and Putin is yet to come

The problem is not in Russian-Turkish relations as such, but in the interpretation of their interaction, which is not typical for the understanding and standardised view of a number of experts and the media.

On the one hand, we have many indicators of positive dynamics in the trade and economic sphere, on the other, there is a very serious lack of information on military-political agreements, especially at the junctions of the expanding spaces of Russian and Turkic integration projects.

There are three known 'joint' regions, where it sparks especially: Syria, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, potential friction on the Ukrainian theme.

The uniqueness of these relations lies in the fact that Putin and Erdogan managed to clearly distribute the spheres of trade and economic interpenetration and the spheres of military-political friction within the common framework of interaction between the two countries.

It is obvious that if the conflicts were of an exclusively irreconcilable nature or were presented by the leaders as fundamental long-term contradictions, then the two regional powers would rather quickly distance themselves from each other. But just the opposite happens -- both go in the same direction, feeding each other, despite friction and scratches by the 'hulls.' This means that an important and big goal is ahead, and not the current situations of practical interaction, which, what can be done, can lead to local emergency situations.

If the conflicts were exclusively irreconcilable, then the two powers would have parted long ago

Therefore, to understand the situation where Putin and Erdogan are heading, it is necessary to analyse the following achievements in Russian-Turkish relations:

- in May 2010, a contract was signed for the construction of three units of the Akkuyu NPP with the possibility of a fourth; by the turn of 2022-2023, the first unit will be launched. The topic of the prospects for the construction of two more nuclear power plants is being discussed;

- in 2015, it was decided to start the construction of the Turkish Stream, in January 2020 it was put into operation, with its help Turkey became a gas distribution hub for South-Eastern Europe;

- in 2017, Turkey signed a contract for the purchase of a regimental set of the S-400 anti-aircraft system, a second contract and the production of some components in Turkey are being discussed, which will allow Ankara not to depend on critical technologies of the Euro-Atlantic bloc in this area.

During the Sochi meeting, the presidents discussed options for cooperation in the field of military aircraft building, engine building, shipbuilding, including the construction of submarines. If problems in Syria or friction over Ukraine were irreconcilable, Moscow and Ankara would find new partners in these technological areas.

A serious indicator of the deepening of cooperation was the transfer during June-July 2021 of tenders for the construction of a part of the new Russian icebreaker fleet to Turkish shipyards -- a total of more than $500 million.

Kuzey Star Shipyard has become a subcontractor for the construction of two icebreakers for Rosmorport with a total cost of 18.5 billion roubles. At the same shipyard, dual-fuel ferries for the Ust-Luga-Baltiysk line are being built, and a contract from Rosatom for a floating dock for nuclear icebreakers for 5 billion roubles is being implemented. Another shipyard, Sefine Shipyard, received a contract for the construction of an 18 MW rescue vessel for the Northern Sea Route, worth 13.3 billion...

Thanks to Aliyev's political prowess in the South Caucasus, Russia and Turkey acted as partners

The art of Baku manoeuvring

Baku is located at the intersection of the force fields of the two integration centres -- coming from Moscow and from Ankara. But Azerbaijan finds itself not just in the zone of interference of integration projects, but -- unlike for instance Georgia -- as a hub of independent management capable of pulling different interests around itself: it uses both channels of investment, two trade flows, two markets/sources of arms.

Moreover, this applies to other subjects of these integration projects. Within the Moscow/Eurasian project it is building up relations with Kazakhstan and Belarus. Within the framework of the Turkic project with Pakistan, joint ventures are planned in light industry, pharmaceuticals, and the defence industry.

An important characteristic of such multi-vector manoeuvring, by the way, let us note, lies in the personal factor of Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan uses the advantages and positive aspects of the interaction of the 'fields' of Moscow and Ankara, but distances itself from friction and crises. Thus, avoiding the known negative consequences. Therefore, Putin and Erdogan together at the meetings, and independently of each other, emphasise that they have no clashes of interests in Azerbaijan.

The idea of ​​a 'platform of six' can systematically formalise the Azerbaijani experience of conflict-free modulation of the regional junction of the Moscow and Turkic integration projects. Over time, this initiative will certainly be able to acquire the features of a permanent regional forum.

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