Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNKh) hosts a panel discussion devoted to Russian-Turkish relations

On February 27, the Primakov Center held a fishbowl panel discussion Russia and Turkey: Opportunities of a New World at the premises of the Russia International Exhibition. The event was supported by the Russian Society Znanie and brought together leading Russian and Turkish researchers.

The discussion was moderated by Ruslan Mamedov, Ph.D. in History, Scientific Advisor of the Primakov Center. The session started with a speech by Pavel Shlykov, Ph.D. in History, Associate Professor at the Department of History of the Near and Middle East, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University. It appears to him that modern Turkey pursues a policy of strategic hedging when it does not simply seek to balance between major players, but opt for more complex and multidimensional patterns of relations with global powers.

For their part, Turkish experts noted that despite the sanctions pressure from the West, Turkey cannot give up cooperation with Russia, which has gone a long way towards intensifying and extensifying contacts between the countries in recent years. For example, according to the results of 2023, Russia ranked first among the countries in terms of importing goods to Turkey, as it was emphasized by Nigyar Masumova, Ph.D. in Economics, Associate Professor at the Department of Media Policy and Public Relations, Vice-Dean at the School of International Journalism, MGIMO University. Energy supplies to the Republic are on the increase, trade in agricultural products and cooperation in the nuclear sector is developing.

The launch of joint startups may also become a priority. According to Hakkı Arda Tokat, Head of the International Entrepreneurship Department, TOBB University of Economics and Technology, mutual investments have already exceeded $10 billion. To further increase cooperation, it is necessary to encourage cooperation between the countries’ medium and small businesses, especially in areas such as infrastructure development and defense.

The cultural and social dimension, which has contributed to overcoming stagnation in the political dialogue over the years, is also a guarantee of the positive development of relations. Hasan Erel, Member of the Expert Council of the ATASAM Center for Strategic Research, noted that academic exchange between the two countries is well developed and numerous cultural and educational projects are carried out. However, he and his colleagues mentioned the weak contacts between Russian and Turkish media, as well as the absence of a Russian-Turkish research center.

Another area of convergence of interests between Russia and Turkey is security and peacekeeping. Grigory Lukyanov, Research Fellow at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted that in the last 10-15 years only it has become possible to act together in this area. In particular, Russia is contributing to energy and climate security in Turkey, and the combined efforts of both countries could help develop new approaches to conflicts like the one in Syria. This view is supported by Turkish experts as well. In his turn, Hasan Ünal, Professor at Bashkent University put forward a proposal to create a Cairo platform similar to the Astana format, where options for resolving the Libyan conflict would be discussed.

The recording of the session is accessed on the Primakov Center’s YouTube channel.