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Is it possible to buy allies?



In the new issue of Diplomatic History, Samuel Hurst and Onur Ishchi prove that such a policy has not worked in Soviet-Turkish and Russian-Turkish relations over the past hundred years.

Is it possible to buy allies?

1. Both Soviet / Russian and Turkish leaders often felt rejected in the West and tried to develop and strengthen their countries through cooperation with each other to the point where they would be accepted in the West. The main reference point for both Moscow and Ankara was the West, the center of which shifted, but invariably included Western Europe and the United States. At the first opportunity, both Moscow and Ankara betrayed each other for minimal handouts from the West.

2. Soviet Union/The Russian Federation made many economic concessions to Turkey. Under Khrushchev and Brezhnev, the Soviet side built serious industrial enterprises in Turkey, including modern aluminum and steel mills (still leading!) in return for the supply of Turkish fruits and other insignificant products. The problem was to get at least a supply of wool. Nevertheless, Turkey has consistently remained an active member of NATO, and American missiles were removed from its territory by Washington itself, amid Ankara's enthusiasm for their deployment. In the 1980s, the Soviet government began to "successfully" supply Turkey with gas, and again on dubious terms: by clearing, and a third of the gas money went to huge contracts for Turkish builders in the USSR. The issue of paying for gas with real money remained unresolved until 1998 – all this time, by the way, Turkey was a reliable base for the Chechen resistance.

3. That is, history has already answered the question about the possibility of Erdogan's withdrawal from NATO. It is impossible to "outbid" Turkey and similar regimes, it is a waste of money if it is not combined with soft power, a convincing global alternative, an attractive political and socio-economic model that Moscow would offer. Soviet diplomats were proud that even liberal, pro-Western Turkish politicians were happy to accept expensive gifts in the form of entire factories. And then the same politicians waged the toughest anti-Soviet policy in all of NATO, and strangled the left and communists.

4. The only time when Turkish politicians really approached Moscow was in the decades before World War II. There were gifts in the form of enterprises even then, but in the 1930s, leading Turkish politicians like Inonu perceived Soviet concepts, up to the introduction of Soviet economic plans. This remark adds a Stalinist note to the Hurst-Ishchi article. We will add that in the even more ideologized early years of Soviet power, even former leaders of the Ottoman Empire, like Cemal Pasha, went to work for the reds and helped create the alliance of Afghanistan-USSR-Turkey and Weimar Germany.

To find allies, fresh ideas and convincing concepts of development and world order must be offered. Do not put everything on money and self-serving political manipulations.



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