Russia and Region: Moscow-Ankara relations take a turn for the worse over Syria strikes

Relations between Russia and Turkey may get worse because of Moscow’s interference in the Syrian crisis, and analysts in Yerevan are trying to figure out how it can impact Armenia.

Turkey has accused Russia of twice violating its airspace, i.e. the airspace of NATO, while Russian warplanes have been delivering air strikes against ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria in a bid to strengthen the positions of President Bashar al-Assad. NATO convened an urgent meeting, urging Russia not to violate the airspace of the alliance. And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that with Turkey Russia may lose not only a friend, but much more than that.

Most experts tend to believe that it is difficult to spoil the relations between the two countries because they are cemented with some binding treaties and agreements. In particular, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire the Armenian lands were divided by the Russian-Turkish Moscow and Kars treaties that are in force till today. And a major rift between the two countries could lead to the revision of the treaties, so both countries will try not to escalate the confrontation.

That is why analysts speak more about the “imitation” of differences. They say that both Turkey and Russia, which have appeared in international isolation because of the policies of their leaders, in fact, help each other to survive. The thing is that one of these countries or, perhaps, both may suffer a geopolitical fiasco.

The Karabakh problem is also one of the issues that go back to the Russian-Turkish agreements. In recent months, there has been a new escalation of tensions at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and in the Karabakh conflict zone and there have been some hints at a possible scenario of Russian peacekeepers being introduced into the region. However, judging by the aggravation of confrontation between Russia and Turkey, as well as Russia’s engagement in Syria, the talk about the introduction peacekeepers in Karabakh faded away.

Moreover, Azerbaijani experts argue that Russia and Azerbaijan failed to agree on peacekeepers, which is linked with the weakening of both Russia and Turkey.

Russia’s attempt to deploy an airbase in Belarus also failed. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday that a Russian airbase in Belarus, near the border with the European Union, is not needed.

This indicates that Russia is in a do-or-die situation and may lose its geopolitical positions. Experts have already calculated some of the consequences of this possible failure for the countries connected with Russia politically and economically. In particular, there is an opinion that the pro-Russian blocs – such as the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization – may fall apart.