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TURKISH-RUSSIAN RELATIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF 2018

Turkey has started the new year with an important new military operation directed towards the Afrin region in Syria. Turkish government deems it necessary to sanitize its border area from being prone to all kinds of terrorist activities.

In Syria, the international community identifies ISIL and other derivatives of radical extremist organizations exploiting Muslim religion as “terrorists” and fails to comprehend Turkey’s subjective security concerns. Turkey’s “olive branch” operation, therefore, may not receive the understanding it deserves.

A military operation to Afrin region in Syria has been on Turkey’s agenda since the summer of 2017. Obviously, the strategic decision to launch it required serious strategic coordination. The reason why it has been delayed for such a long period has much to do with Turkey’s relations with Russia. It is important, therefore, to review the dynamics of Turkish-Russian relations within the last three years.

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A. Unal CHEVIKOZ
Ret. Ambassador

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