12:52 GMT +322 September 2017
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 10, 2017

    Turkey-Europe Rift: 'Ankara Should Get Closer With Russia, China Instead of EU'

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    Ankara would be better off if it focused on establishing more cordial ties with Moscow and Beijing instead of trying to maintain close relations with the European Union, political analyst Mehmet Ali Guller told Sputnik Turkey.

    "Clearly, Turkey can be a member of various international organizations. However, the best solution for the country is to switch from cooperating with the European Union to fostering closer ties with its neighbors in Eurasia, Asia and the Middle East, particularly Russia and China," he said.

    These comments came ahead of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's meeting with Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, scheduled to take place in May. Mehmet Ali Guller said that these summits would be "the moment of truth" for Ankara.

    "Turkey will either say yes to Trump's policies in Syria or normalize relations with Russia. I hope that the choice will be made in favor of greater cooperation with Russia and looking for common ground with the Assad government. I am counting on this as someone who is opposed to the EU foreign policy and the US imperialism. However, the ambivalence and duality of the strategy carried out by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will lead to troubles with the forces Turkey is allied with," he warned.

    Russia and the United States have supported opposing sides of the Syrian conflict. Moscow has provided assistance to President Bashar al-Assad in its counterterrorism efforts, while Washington has backed militants fighting against Damascus. Turkey has also transferred weapons and funds to rebel groups intent on deposing Assad. However, it was also instrumental in helping establish a nationwide ceasefire, an initiative championed by Russia.

    Turkey's relations with the West have long been complex, with tensions escalating following a botched attempt to overthrow Erdogan in July 2016 and the ensuing purges. They have been further complicated by Erdogan's push to alter the constitution, granting the executive branch sweeping new powers.

    In April, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted to reinstate monitoring of Turkey over human rights concerns. This practice with regard to Ankara has not been in place since 2004.

    "If PACE's monitoring had been efficient and successful in bringing democracy to Turkey, then PACE would not have found itself in a situation when it added the country to the watch list. This once again shows that it is irrational and unrealistic to expect democracy from Europe," Mehmet Ali Guller said.

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    Tags:
    foreign policy, Mehmet Ali Guller, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Europe, Syria, Turkey, China, Russia
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