English: Vectorised image of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sean Walker, the Guardian’s correspondent in Moscow writes an insightful article. He reports that Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, steps up the war of word after Russia’s latest retaliatory measures in the wake of the downing of its fighter jet.
Source: Russia ‘playing with fire’, warns Turkey, as Moscow imposes visa regime | World news | The Guardian
In my view this article sympathizes with Russia. The Russian response of visa restrictions and limited trade embargoes are a measured response. Banning Russia’s travel companies from going to Turkey is another carefully targetted restriction. Collectively these are economic measures which will ratchet up the political risk in Turkey. I would expect Western travel companies and tourists to think twice about choosing Turkey too. Similarly, US multinationals must increasingly factor in political risk in their investment and commericial dealings with Turkey. Without sustained foreign investment and trade, Turkey’s economy will contract quickly – this will potentially put millions of young people out of work – President Erdoğan relies on the popular working class vote.
If you read the news carefully Russia’s response is cold, measured and targeted. Whereas the outbursts from President Erdoğan seem desperate and emotional. Erdoğan made a mistake when he thought he could treat Putin like Barack Obama and Angela Merkel. Obama is desperately trying to hold the alliance with Turkey together. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel is appealing to Turkey to stop the flow of refugees.
What has changed is that Russia’s political leaders supported by the Russian media are highlighting Turkey’s links with ISIS. The mainstream Western media seem to have cautiously raised questions too. Ambitious journalists will also ask questions about Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.
Surely, it’s time for leaders like Obama and Merkel to come clean with their respective electorates?