MOSCOW (Realist English). The questions of the Realist News Agency were answered by Senior researcher of the IMEMO named after E.M. Primakov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Philosophical Sciences Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky.
Why did Erdoğan postpone the parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey to May 14? Where is he in a hurry?
Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky: He is right to be in a hurry, because his personal popularity is falling, as well as the popularity of his party. The chances for the election are decreasing, and judging by all the polls, the presidential election the chances are extreme.
Of course, you don’t really need to believe these polls. We know that they are done for those who orders these surveys; objectivity suffers there. Nevertheless, the situation itself shows that if Erdoğan goes to the second round in the elections, and there can be no victory in the first, then he goes against the mayor of Istanbul and the victory will be the mayor’s.
The same thing if the couple – Erdoğan and the mayor of Ankara – remains. This is alarming for Erdoğan. While the situation can still be resolved, one can work on the positives that he managed to achieve in the foreign policy field. And the Turks are a politicized people, they pay attention to their country’s place in the world, and this all plays an important role. And this is being recouped from opponents, because it is Erdoğan who shows that Turkey is a country that everyone has to reckon with. This has played in his favor. And while these campaigns are unfolding, while there is this incentive, the tone that is so far developing in his favor, it is better to hold elections earlier. In addition, the elections are timed to certain significant moments for Turkey.
Erdoğan is an experienced politician, he understands what the voter needs, he managed to gain a foothold quite well, to somewhat improve the situation in the economy: Turkey has the largest export in history (more than $240 billion last year). These are also in the Erdoğan’s advantages. It was possible to load enterprises with orders, and even if everything is not so good with inflation, he is fighting it with unconventional methods, while the exact opposite is true all over the world.
Every other country raises the Central Bank’s rates in order to worsen the possibility of obtaining loans, this leads to a drop in rates, and inflation slows down. This is a method that is also used by economists of the Bank of Russia. And Erdoğan approaches to this issue unconventionally: he lowers the rates, he has already fired 3-4 managers who refused to go this way, but has achieved that the rate was reduced to 14%. Yes, this is a fairly high rate, but nevertheless he managed not to stop the growth of the economy.
The unemployment has decreased even among the young people. All this together strengthens his charisma, it all works. He actually went against all the laws of the Western economics, he began to issue low-interest loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, respectively, employment, production and exports increased. He chose this path and is still winning, although it is extremely difficult. And this is one of the elements of his policy.
It should also be noted his support for Azerbaijan. Without Turkey, Azerbaijan would not have achieved the victory that it achieved. Armenia really suffered seriously as a result of all these events, lost territories. And Armenia deprived Karabakh of her support, in fact, the real support never crossed the border, only a certain number of volunteers fought on the side of the Karabakh people. Not a single general from those who won the First War was allowed in. Well, the Turkish support is obvious: these are the lauded Bayraktars, against which Armenia could not act, although they had the same installations that we coped them with in Syria. But the Armenians could not.
How will this affect the situation around Artsakh and Armenia?
Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky: The postponement of the elections can hardly affect the problem of Artsakh. They began to use other ways, taking advantage of the fact that the whole of Russia is too busy in the Ukraine. And this whole story with the mines, the protests of the proclaimed environmentalists who show us the emblems of the “Gray Wolves”, without even being shy about it. The situation is extremely tense and difficult.
Russia tolerates this for now. It’s not for me to decide, but sometimes it’s useful to use force to stop bullying our peacekeepers. This is already crossing all boundaries. This is already a question for our authorities. What are they guided by in this case and why don’t they stop these provocations, why don’t they use force against the so–called environmentalists – there are enough questions.
Erdoğan continues to escalate the situation on the border with Greece. What should we expect from him on this site?
Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky: The Greek card also works quite well in the spirit of Turkish nationalism. They have never felt love for the Greeks, as well as for the Armenians. And again, Erdoğan resorted to an unusual method — the threat of genocide. He reminded of the massacre in Smyrna, organized by the Turkish revolutionary army under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk.
Tens of thousands of Greeks were slaughtered. Photos with severed Greek heads are still well known to everyone. So he reminded that he would have to repeat it if the Greeks would not abandon their position.
Erdogan demands that the Greeks abandon part of the islands, at least reduce their territorial waters around the islands, respectively — the airspace in which foreign military aircraft are not allowed to fly. Therefore, there are constant provocations by the Turks, they constantly invade these air zones in order to demonstrate contempt for Greek demands.
Although Greece has not violated anything, it has every right to establish exactly such air borders. Of the 2,000 islands, only 3 belong to the Turks. This is a zone that can block all sea navigation, hence the severe pressure on Turkey. The war may not be the end of, but certain military actions on the part of Turkey might. And the Turkish public will support such an action. Nationalism in this country is extremely high and is aimed at expanding borders and realizing Turkish ambitions in the region.