On the cusp of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Turkey’s President Erdogan dropped a couple of turds in the Russian punch bowl — he broke the agreement he made with Russia to imprison AZOV leaders who were taken prisoner at Mariupol in May of 2022, he endorsed immediate membership in NATO for Ukraine and he signed a deal to expand drone production in Ukraine.
Erdogan’s moves have been greeted with anger in Moscow and strengthened the position of hardliners who have long insisted that Erdogan is not to be trusted. It does make Putin look both foolish and weak for trusting Erdogan to uphold his side of the bargain to keep the AZOV leaders penned up until the war in Ukraine ends. This is not going to galvanize Putin’s opponents to force his removal, but it does bring glee and merriment to Western leaders eager to see Putin damaged.
What the hell was Erdogan thinking? Let’s start with the ridiculous agreement to “expand drone production” in Ukraine. This is typical Erdogan corruption. His son-in-law controls the production of these drones and stands to benefit financially if Ukraine is able to build more Bayraktars. Only a couple of problems. First, the drone sucks. It has been proven to be a tactical flop on the battlefield of Ukraine. Second, who in their right mind believes that the Russian military will allow those factories to operate? If production facilities, through some miracle, are erected then Russian hypersonic missiles and FAB glide bombs will be sure to make a visit. The only value of this agreement is the optics — it is a tacit vote of approval for Zelensky just when the Ukrainian military offensive is sputtering towards oblivion. Erdogan can show up in Vilnius as claim, “hey, I’m helping our little cocaine sniffing comedian, what are you doing?”
Then there are the AZOV commanders that Erdogan cut loose. Major Serhii Volynskyi, pictured above, claims that he wound up in Turkey, after surrendering at Mariupol, because of a secret deal negotiated between Russia and the United States that allowed “high-ranking US officers” to escape capture.
I am skeptical of this narrative for the simple reason that there has not been a single leak about such a deal until now. If there really were “high-ranking” U.S. officers trapped in and subsequently freed from Mariupol word of that would have been circulating in U.S. military and intelligence back channels. This sounds more like an information operation — i.e., propaganda — to plant the seed of doubt about Russia’s willingness to confront the United States. I await some corroborating information before buying into this story.
Lastly, we have Erdogan pandering to Biden. What?!! Turkey is eager to join the collapsing European Union? Is Erdogan really this stupid? He apparently still fails to grasp that Europeans look down on Turkey as second-class citizens not worthy of being called “Europeans.”
“The Turkish President has asked European Union leaders to send a clear and strong message of support for his country’s accession to the EU.
Erdogan told Biden about his desire to revive the process of Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
The parties agreed to meet at a NATO summit and discuss relations between the two countries.”
This is bizarre. Does Erdogan really believe that Dementia Joe (e.g., Long Live the Queen) carries clout with the Europeans and can get him a deal to pave the way for Turkey to join the Europe club? Just does not add up. Furthermore, other European nations, especially Germany (which is home to a lot of Turks) does not share Erdogan’s desire to expedite Ukraine’s entry to NATO.
Germany will push for a postponement of Ukraine’s NATO membership at the Vilnius summit starting July 11, a source told The Telegraph. Berlin will call on the Allies to focus on security guarantees.
The most likely negative fall out from Erdogan’s antics is the end of the Grain Deal. Russia now has little incentive to renew that agreement and is more likely to step up naval activity in the Black Sea in order to shutdown Ukraine’s access to maritime commerce.
Erdogan has done some foolish things in the past and has a knack for self-inflicted wounds. Maybe he is in the early stages of dementia as well. While his shenanigans may burnish his image with the West, which is facing economic headwinds and major setbacks in Ukraine, Turkey’s position as a “reliable negotiating partner” has been destroyed. The next few weeks will be interesting to say the least.