Turkey boosts support for Ukraine as Germany stays distant

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Turkey’s support for Ukraine in the face of a possible invasion by Russia, despite recent unrest with Europe, highlights Germany’s hesitation as tensions remain high.

“On the particular issue of Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine, I think Turkey is playing a useful role,” said James Anderson, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy under former President Trump, at Fox News Digital. “They have stated very clearly that they oppose any further Russian invasion of Ukraine. They have clearly stated their opposition to Russia’s intervention in Georgia a few years ago. These statements are welcome.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in January approved the sale of drones to Ukraine and last week clearly stated Turkey’s willingness to “stand by…and help” Ukraine. Erdogan also stressed that “Turkey continues to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea”, during a meeting last week with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

NATO member states have not deployed troops to Ukraine, but they have provided assistance in the form of lethal aid, including missiles, drones and ammunition. Germany, perhaps NATO’s most vital European member with its biggest economy, shocked Kiev when it supplied only 5,000 helmets to Ukrainian troops, well below the 100,000 helmets and vests protection requested.

“Mature” relationship

But Turkey, NATO’s second-largest country, has stepped up its support for Ukraine as part of a “maturing and growing relationship”, Anderson said.

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In September 2021, Turkey also began building the first of four Ada-class corvette warships it will supply to Ukraine, the first of which could arrive as early as 2023, Naval News reported.

Turkey’s strong support for Ukraine may surprise the West after the recent strain on relations. President Obama’s silence following a failed coup attempt in 2016 led Erdogan to accuse the US of backing would-be rebels, and President Biden traded critical barbs with Erdogan soon after. taking office, criticizing Turkey’s withdrawal from an international agreement to protect women’s rights. .

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during talks at the Kremlin on March 5, 2020 in Moscow.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during talks at the Kremlin on March 5, 2020 in Moscow.
(Getty Images)

“Turkey has been trending in the wrong direction on some human rights issues,” Anderson said, also citing recent problems with Cyprus and Greece. “To include, you know, locking up journalists and members of the press, suppressing civil society. That’s also a challenge.”

Turkey’s ongoing saga over activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala has reached a boiling point over the past two months. The Council of Europe in December signaled its intention to sanction Turkey for Kavala’s continued detention after the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to refer Kavala’s case to trial. European. Erdogan responded by saying Turkey would not respect the Council of Europe, according to Reuters.

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Side issues

But Turkey has put its problems aside to help Ukraine, even if that help is more or less self-serving, Turkish researcher Kemal Kirisci told Fox News Digital.

“I’m starting to recognize, more and more, how right a lot of friends and colleagues in the Turkish Foreign Ministry are,” said Kirisci, a nonresident scholar at the Brookings Institution. “For all the abuse that comes out of Erdogan’s mouth about the United States, Europe and NATO as well, that Turkey has diligently fulfilled its obligations to NATO, including the management of the VJTF.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, December 15, 2021.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, December 15, 2021.
(Associated Press)

Turkey has been leading the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in Romania since the beginning of 2021, as part of an additional commitment to NATO. He had also kept defense spending at around 1.8% of GDP, below the 2% dictated by NATO, but well above the spending of Canada, Italy and, most notably, the United States. Germany, which only spends around 1.5% of GDP, a slight increase. compared to around 1.2% for most of the last decade.

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Germany remained relatively calm during the crisis, at one point preventing Estonia from supplying old German howitzers to Kyiv. Ukraine criticized Germany, saying its position on arms supplies “does not correspond to the level of our relations and the current security situation”.

However, in a meeting with President Biden this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed to cut off Nord Stream 2, a vital pipeline carrying oil from Russia to Germany, if Russia invades Ukraine.

Chancellor Scholz has insisted that his country will not provide “lethal” aid to Ukraine because officials do not wish to “fuel the situation” and prefer to find a diplomatic solution. Germany will provide a full field hospital and the necessary training, but NATO’s most critical European member otherwise falls short of other NATO allies who seem to fully recognize the imminent danger that Russia poses to the stability and independence of Ukraine.

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Norbert Röttgen, a senior conservative lawmaker in Germany, told The New York Times that “Germany is key to achieving unity.”

“Putin’s goal is to divide Europeans and then divide Europe and the United States,” Röttgen said. “If the impression prevails that Germany is not fully committed to a strong NATO response, it will have succeeded in crippling Europe and dividing the alliance.”

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