Turkey urgently needs to revive energy, trade ties with Russia – Think Tank

May 12, 2016 6:15 am 

WASHINGTON, May 11 — Turkey urgently needs to restore its diplomatic and economic relations with Russia to address its energy needs and lagging economy, a Turkish professor of international relations wrote in a report.

The report was created for a US think tank with close ties to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and published on Wednesday.

"A much-needed recalibration of Turkish foreign policy will have to include repairing relations with Russia," University International Relations Professor Soli Ozel wrote in the paper published by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Turkey was hugely dependent on its economic relationship with Russia, and faces major problems without it, Ozel acknowledged.

"This was not an equal relationship. Turkey became increasingly dependent on Russian gas, and as overall bilateral trade expanded beyond USD 30 billion, Turkey’s trade deficit with Russia neared USD 20 billion annually."

Russia imposed far-reaching economic sanctions on Turkey after a Turkish Air Force jet shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber carrying out a strike mission against Islamist terror targets in Syria in November 2015.

Russia presented evidence that Turkey is involved in smuggling large quantities of oil stolen by the Daesh terror group in Syria.

Turkey also angered Russia by energetically supporting the Daesh and other Islamist forces seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, an ally of Moscow, Ozel pointed out.

"Turkey appears to have underestimated Russia and Iran’s determination to prop up the Syrian regime. In its quest to topple Assad, Turkey has actively supported Syrian opposition groups… allowing relatively unfettered access to Syrian and foreign fighters."

The CAP was founded and led for many years by US President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff John Podesta who also served as counselor to President Barack Obama. Podesta now directs former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s presidential election campaign. (PNA/Sputnik)

RMA/SSC

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