Published On: Sun, Nov 26th, 2017

Article: Russia’s winning the war for Turkish public’s trust (All Monitor)

An article worth reading about the “clever” diplomacy of Putin and how he handles the USA as far as relations with Turkey is concerned.

Russia’s winning the war for Turkish public’s trust (Al Monitor)

The United States and Europe are on the verge of losing the Turkish public to Russia. Since November 2016, when reports appeared of Turkey’s decision to purchase S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia, Moscow has been trying hard to win the hearts and minds of the Turkish people.

Russia has never deviated from this objective despite major crises in the military/security arenas with Turkey, such as the assassination of Russia’s ambassador in Ankara, Andrei Karlov, by a Turkish police officer in December 2016; embargoes on Turkish agricultural product exports to Russia; and the mistaken killing of three Turkish soldiers by a Russian plane Feb. 9 during Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria.

A study of news, comments and analyses in Turkish social and conventional media since October, when the debate on the S-400 became a hot public topic, clearly shows Russia has taken steps to improve its strategy to alter the perceptions and thinking of the Turkish public.

It’s unlikely that Turkey would deploy the S-400 before 2020, and there are still serious outstanding issues, such as financing and technology transfer, so it is too early to declare a done deal. Moscow, however, persists in disseminating reports designed to manipulate and extend coverage of the deal.

Since November 2016, I have been emphasizing that for Moscow, the actual deployment of S-400s in Turkey is not of paramount importance, but the process is. So Russia is happy to spread out news of the $2.5 billion deal over time.

Russia is trying to make sure the S-400 story continues to erode Turkey’s traditional NATO-centric orientation and fortify the Turkish public’s opinion that Russia is its most dependable ally; ensure Moscow a chance to create a structural crisis between Turkey and the Western security bloc; and advertise its weapons systems to facilitate its military presence in the Middle East. Moscow is negotiating with Saudi Arabia and Egypt and also has initiated negotiations with Morocco for the S-400…

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