A few months ago, after the end of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, we wrote about the grandiose plans of the Turkish President to create "Great Turan". But, as often happens, the topic turned out to be of little interest to a wide range of readers. The euphoria from the end of the bloodshed, another beautiful move by Russia and other things accompanying any victory turned out to be more important than geopolitical problems.
Today, after a certain time has passed, when it became clear to everyone who and what received after this war, we have to return to this topic. First of all, because President Erdogan did not confine himself to Azerbaijan. The expansion of the Turks to the east continues. Imperceptibly and in small steps, Turkish askers and janissaries sneak along our southern borders.
Until the thunder strikes
The mentality and disregard for danger quite often play cruel jokes with our people. We "harness for a long time", in the hope that the danger "will pass by itself" or "common sense will win." And then we "drive fast", crushing enemies left and right and covering the rear with the graves of heroes. At the same time, we scratch the back of our heads with questions about why we did not strangle the reptile in the bud and why did not we believe in the danger that many warned about?
You don't have to go far for an example. A neighboring, once fraternal, state. While we “harnessed” and waited for “sobering up”, a complete reformatting of people took place. Even today we live with the dreams of a first-grader - “to find a suitcase full of money on the road”. The political power will change, and the Ukrainians will become brothers again.
Tell me, do you believe it?
Do you believe that everyone, both we and they, will suddenly forget everything and return to the early 2000s? Do you believe that there will be a sudden enlightenment of the Ukrainian people, in the broadest sense of the word, and the east will love the west, and Lviv will become a twin city of Lugansk? Do you believe that all Donetsk residents want to become Russians and sever ties with Ukraine?
What happens when people really want something, Crimea showed well.
Alas, in my opinion, the time when the issue could be resolved with little blood is over. And the process of the disintegration of Ukraine that has begun cannot be stopped. How the civil war cannot be stopped without external force. All meetings of leaders, the desire of politicians and other clichés of the press that we hear and read every day are broken on the soul of an ordinary person, on his desire to defeat the enemy, and on both sides. There are a great many of those who have suffered somehow from the war.
It is the bitter experience of Ukraine that makes us talk today about the dangers of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ideas. Already simply because the spread of such ideas is no longer something outside our borders, but something that will happen directly inside Russia, including. Let me remind you that our Turkic-speaking population lives compactly not only in the Central Asian region, but also in the North Caucasus, Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Chuvashia, Yakutia, Altai and Crimea.
Politics is the armor-piercing shell of the economy
Much has been written about Erdogan's plans to recreate a huge state based on the ideas of Pan-Turkism. Including on the pages of our publication. It is difficult to add something significant or open some other "closed page" in this matter. Therefore, let us consider the very idea of Pan-Turkism from an economic point of view. Ultimately, the goal of any war, in whatever form it may be waged, is not just victory, but also compensation for costs at the expense of the loser.
Remember what happened immediately after Azerbaijan's victory in NK? The triumph of Azerbaijan with the open support of Baku by the Turks was somehow not overshadowed by the fact that Russian peacekeepers entered the region. No, there was some discontent among the radical nationalists from among the Azerbaijanis, but on the whole everyone took this fact calmly and with the understanding that this should be so.
Remember the assumptions about the composition of the peacekeeping force from the beginning? Most were inclined towards the Russian-Turkish MS. As a result, Turkey limited itself to the rights of an observer. In fact, abandoning the further stay in the region. Although, theoretically, there were no obstacles to the creation of joint MCs.
Hence the simple conclusion. Turkey at that time had already solved most of the tasks set for this time period, and the further presence of Turkish units there was considered inexpedient. Is it so?
Agree, after the victory, Ankara's influence on Baku increased significantly. First of all, the people of Azerbaijan. Now talk about the fraternal Turkish people can be heard much more often. Hence the economic interest of these states in each other grew. But is this the main thing? Ultimately, Azerbaijan will not be able to become the main foreign economic partner of the Republic of Turkey simply because it has a fairly limited sales market.
But we somehow keep silent about another task, a more global one. Transit of goods from China to Europe! For some reason, most readers forget that, in addition to the northern (through Russia) "Silk Road" and the southern (through Iran), there is also a "middle road". The one part of which Turkey took control of, helping Azerbaijan in the war. China - Central Asia - Transcaucasia - Turkey - Europe.
I think now we can see the places where the activity of Turkish diplomats, military and businessmen should be expected. Republics of Central Asia. First of all, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. To some extent, Tajikistan. Simply put, I have listed the states where the interests of Russia and Turkey will directly clash.
Pan-Turkism as a sedative for some and a reason to open a wallet for others
After a short excursion into history economic desires of Ankara, a reasonable question arises about how we will divide these very paths and what threats arise for Russia from the point of view of security. That's right, from a security point of view! And here Pan-Turkism emerges again. Already as a single ideological platform of the Turkic-speaking peoples of several countries at once.
Remember the borders of the "Great Turan", according to the desires of the Turks? From the Mediterranean Sea to Altai, and possibly to Yakutia! Rave? I fully admit this interpretation. Moreover, I am sure that Altai and Yakutia are of little interest to Erdogan today. It is clear that there is a lot of wealth there, but Turkey will not be able to organize their extraction. And Russia, the same "Russian bear, will not give up its taiga to anyone (s)".
But what about Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan?
We will not give them away either? Or will we again hope for "sobering up politicians" and "the genetic memory of the people"? It's not in vain that I reminded about Ukraine. And also about how such hopes usually end.
I foresee objections from some readers. Russia should, we are to blame, and everything is in this style. Just yesterday I read one such interview, which concerns the Donbass, and wondered if we need such allies? Maybe the Americans and the British are right, who shamelessly rob and spread rot colonies and at the same time educate and feed the national elites? Do we have little experience of the USSR?
“I have repeatedly said that in order to return Ukraine without firing a single shot, it is enough to create a showcase of the Russian World in Donbass. In order to regain Russia's influence in the post-Soviet space and in the world in general, it is necessary to make Russia a showcase of a better life. Russia has gas, oil, diamonds, gold, smart, hardworking people, there is everything to develop. And if (or when) Russia becomes rich and strong, everyone will come and ask for it themselves. "
We reassure ourselves that Pan-Turkism today is more widespread in the cultural, ideological or diplomatic spheres. And for some reason we do not want to notice at all that these ideas are already being fully implemented in the military sphere. It is no longer a secret that our CSTO partners are actively cooperating with the Turks on military issues. It is no secret that joint exercises are being held in the Central Asian republics.
It seems to me, if we consider what is happening today, from completely radical positions, Pan-Turkism in perspective could lead to the creation of a new military bloc... Bloc of Turkic-speaking states. It is clear that this may not happen tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow. But can it?
I will try to clarify my position with some examples.
Is the idea of a military bloc based on Pan-Turkism so utopian?
Let's go back a little to the past. 2018 year. An agreement on military and military-technical cooperation was signed between Turkey and Kazakhstan. Exactly the same agreement was signed in the midst of the Karabakh war (October 26-27, 2020) between Ankara and Tashkent. What is so unusual about that?
But let's look at what happened in two years in Kazakhstan. 200 officers of the Kazakh army were trained in military universities in Turkey and, accordingly, Turkish officers in Nur-Sultan received the same training. Moreover, if you just look at the photos of those who studied in Kazakhstan, you get an interesting picture. For some reason, Turkish officers bear little resemblance to the Turks. Some neutral persons without nationality, and some, in general, can be attributed to Europeans ...
The military specialties in which the training was carried out are also interesting - intelligence specialists, special forces, propaganda units, and the general staff. The purpose of the training is a deep study of post-Soviet military regulations and models of behavior, as well as practical work in a Russian-speaking environment.
Do you think that's all? The story has a continuation. It is possible that some of the Kazakh "graduates" actively worked in Azerbaijan during the war ...
And we are silent and wait for "sobering up". Even then, we are silent when the army of Kazakhstan decided to purchase the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones. Despite the fact that we see an increase in military cooperation between a CSTO member and a NATO member. We are silent. And we listen to the peaceful rhetoric of Kazakh politicians.
Isn't that weird?
Even a completely "fresh" agreement with Uzbekistan has already borne fruit. Those who were born in the USSR remember the Friendship Bridge in Termez. So, it was near this bridge, at the training ground that was once used to prepare Soviet soldiers for sending to the DRA, on March 26, the joint exercises of the special forces of the armies of Turkey and Uzbekistan ended. The exercises were attended by the heads of the general staffs of both armies - General Yashar Guler and Major General Shukhrat Khalmukhammedov.
By the way, the Uzbek general expressed an interesting idea in an interview. I will quote Shukhrat Khalmukhammedov:
“The peoples of the two countries are linked by bonds of friendship and brotherhood.
Tashkent attaches particular importance to the development of cooperation with Ankara. "
Tashkent attaches particular importance to the development of cooperation with Ankara. "
It is clear that today there are many people who will join the ranks of “fighters for all that is good, against all that is bad. “Do not push, do not invent, we believe in the minds of peoples” ... and so on. I already talked about this at the beginning of the article.
To be honest, I have not "pumped up" once. And I believed in all these slogans about genetic memory, about healthy forces within the people, etc. It was in 2013, when an interesting organization called the "Association of Law Enforcement Agencies of Military Status" appeared. And the composition of the organization will surprise you: Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.
Draw lines connecting these countries ... And add the thoughts that you just read above. So what? Stop pumping? Or, after all, take a sober view of the situation and think about the answers to new dangers.
It is already clear today that Erdogan's geopolitical plans are much broader than the interests of his own state. And the creation of the "Association ..." is unlikely to have passed without agreement with NATO. It is somehow difficult to believe in the complete autonomy of a member of the alliance.
Moreover, I will take the liberty of suggesting that the policy of the Turkish president is not so much a challenge to Russia today as to everyone who is against the policy of the alliance, and therefore the United States and Great Britain. This includes China, Iran, and all those who resist expansion. And the fact that during the post-Soviet period the Turks were able to educate the pro-Turkish elite in Asian countries proves this.
You read the Turkish press and notice how the supporters of Pan-Turkism have become more active. Especially in matters of military cooperation.
Knowing about the danger is already half the victory. And we know ...