Anna Borshchevskaya is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Russia's policy toward the Middle East.
Articles & Testimony
While Erdogan's harsh response to the coup may complicate his relations with the West and sideline any plans for intervention in Syria, Russian observers believe it could bring Turkey closer to Moscow.
The coup attempted in Turkey this past weekend against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mattered for Russia, and for Russian President Vladimir Putin in particular, for many reasons -- it resonated in the pro-democracy community, and raised questions about Putin's next steps in the Middle East and the future of Russia-Turkey relations.
Putin and Erdogan spoke on the phone this weekend. Reportedly, Moscow initiated the call. It came as no surprise that Putin stressed in his conversation with Erdogan, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, "a principal position of unacceptability of government coups, be it in Turkey, Ukraine, Yemen or anywhere else." Putin fears any coup that attempts to overthrow an authoritarian because it might serve as an example for his own people. He is also convinced that the West was behind massive protests in late 2011 to early 2012 against his return to his third presidency. Predictably, one member of Putin's United Russia party, Shamsail Saraliyev, said that the U.S. is behind the coup in Turkey -- the recent improvement in Russian-Turkish relations and the renewed flood of Russian tourists to Turkey were inconvenient to the U.S., according to this view. "Therefore, it would be good for Turkey right now to reset its relations with everyone -- primarily with Russia, its strategic partner," he concluded...