Turkey benefits from Russia-Ukraine tensions - analyst

Turkey is well-positioned to benefit from the increased tensions between Russia and Ukraine over the Donbass region, analyst Nikola Mikovic wrote in The Asia Times on Sunday.

By having good ties to both parties, Turkey can achieve its geopolitical goals in the region, the analyst said, noting that the sale of Turkish TB-2 Bayraktar drones to Ukraine, as well as plans to initiate joint production of the drone,  will deepen its ties to Kyiv. 

Russia has demonstrated its indignation over the drone sales to Ukraine,  over which it has accused Ankara in April of "destabilising" the Donbass and encouraging "militaristic tendencies," Mikovic wrote.

Kiev used the TB-2 drone in an armed strike on pro-Russian separatist positions in the region in October.

Fears of upsetting Russia appears to be driving Turkey to take a measured and diplomatic approach to ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has offered to act as a mediator in the conflict, but this has been rejected by Moscow. 

Russia argues that it is not a party to the conflict despite the documented presence of Russian soldiers and equipment among the pro-Moscow rebels in Donbass. Presently, it is estimated that up to 175,000 Russian soldiers are concentrated on the border of Ukraine in what the West fears is preparation for a military offensive in 2022.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has argued against new Western sanctions on Russia if an invasion does take place. Instead, he urged NATO to develop “meaningful deterrence” to ward off the possibility of a Russian attack.

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