23:37 GMT24 November 2020
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    Turkey could become a "bridge" between Russia and the United States as the country is trying to pursue a more balanced foreign policy that has already seen Ankara restore its relations with Moscow and adopt a less rigid approach to Damascus, political analyst Igor Shatrov told Radio Sputnik.

    "I think that Erdogan could become a kind of a 'bridge' as he is trying to improve relations with Russia and preserve ties with the US," deputy director of National Institute for Modern Ideology Development said. "Since Washington does not want to lose Ankara, policymakers in the US could opt for a more constructive approach towards Russia."

    Both anti-Daesh coalitions could then increasingly coordinate their efforts in Syria. In this case, "they will be able to defeat terrorists faster," he said.
    Turkey made a U-turn in its foreign policy when Binali Yildirim replaced Ahmet Davutoglu as the country's prime minister. The latter is said to have been the architect of Turkey's previous strategy in Syria that involved supporting radical groups trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

    For his part, Prime Minister Yildirim has adopted a more nuanced approach to resolving the Syrian conflict, stating that Turkey's main goal is to make friends and reduce the number of its enemies. Earlier this week, he said that Assad will not lead Syria in the long term, but the prime minister did not insist on his immediate resignation.

    Meanwhile, the unsuccessful attempt to forcefully remove Recep Tayyip Erdogan in mid-July reinforced Ankara's thaw with Moscow and Tehran, much to Washington's discontent.

    "The response to the July 15 coup showed who Turkey's friends and enemies are," Shatrov said. Russia and Iran expressed their firm support to the Turkish leadership, while reaction from the West was largely muted, focusing on the subsequent purges rather than the coup itself.

    These developments have already brought the three countries closer together, but they could go as far as forming a coalition that would focus on resolving the Syrian crisis.

    "Clearly Turkey has its own perception of the situation in Syria. Russia and Iran have backed Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey still insists that the Syrian president has to go," the analyst said. But there is room for political maneuver. "Erdogan is ready for any compromise so that he would not remain isolated in the 'burning' Middle East. This is why at least for now this scenario is possible."

    The alliance, comprising Russia, Iran and Turkey, could last for a long time, but it would take "tectonic shifts" since Turkey is a NATO member.

    The West will not be happy with these changes, should they occur.

    "Russia's improving relations with Iran and the deployment to the Hamadan airfield have already caused a stir," he observed.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey April 16, 2016
    © REUTERS / Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Palace
    The response from the West will be more negative if the three countries develop closer ties. "I think that the West will try to meddle with this process. By building a new coalition with Russia and Iran, Turkey will in a way move away from the US. This is a serious matter for Washington," Shatrov said.

    Shatrov maintained that Erdogan needs to decide what his priorities are: dealing with the Kurdish issue, domestic opposition, Fethullah Gülen and his supporters, backed by the US, or Assad. "I think he will make certain decisions with regard to these issues soon," he said.

    Topic:
    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

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    Tags:
    Syrian crisis, Russian aerial campaign, Syrian conflict, counterterrorism, geopolitics, Binali Yildirim, Bashar al-Assad, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, US, Russia
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