17:55 GMT +317 November 2019
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    Syrian Arab Army troops take part in a rally in Tarus in support of the Russian Aerospace Force operation in Syria

    Major Come Back: Russia is 'Setting the Tune' in Middle East

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    Russia is returning to the Middle East and the West is worried about Moscow setting the tune in the region, according to former Turkish envoy to NATO Umit Pamir.

    “The Middle East is considered by the West to be an area from which Russia has been absent since the 1970s, but now Russians are coming back. For the West, which considers itself a big friend of the region, there is now another player calling the tune. There is now a different game. That’s why we can see the current sudden flurry of France and Germany in the region,” Ümit Pamir said in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.

    Russia in recent years has been more and more involved in the Syrian crisis settlement. Russian military bases are present in Syria and that gives Russia the opportunity to implement changes in the region.

    The state of affairs has caused great concern in the United States, Britain and other Western countries. According to the former diplomat, “Now they realize that because they have been inactive for so long, the new map will be mostly designed by Russia.”

    Describing the relations between Turkey and NATO, Pamir stated that Ankara has always had its own position on what is happening in the region. Because of this, some member states of NATO felt as if Turkey was a member of the organization, but had other regional objectives.

    “On the one hand some of our allies feel that Turkey is a bit estranged from the Atlantic community; on the other hand they ask why Turkey pretends to have an independent line but knocks at their door when things get complicated. They say 'when you see a threat you come to us but whenever the worries are dispelled you challenge us and go to some extreme positions.' This is incompatible in their minds with membership of a Western institution,” Umit Pamir said, Hürriyet Daily News reported.

    Now with the threat of Daesh (Islamic State) militants looming over the region and relations with Russia have entered into a state of crisis, it seems that Turkey has sided with NATO more than before. This is not a good situation because Ankara’s behavior raises doubts among NATO allies over its reliability, the former diplomat explained.

    According to Umit Pamir, “the Cold War never ended”. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West thought that Russia would become a part of their system but this did not happen. While the differences between interests exist, new conflicts are always possible, the former diplomat noted.


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