Columbia University’s Program on Peacebuilding and Human Rights has made available a news release based on its report on Turkey’s mixed response to Russian aggression.
With research support from the Turkish Democracy Project, the report documents the double play by President Erdoğan who undermines NATO’s unified response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. On one hand, Erdoğan has positioned himself as a primary mediator and broker of peace between Russia and Ukraine, and on the other, Turkey has consistently refused to join NATO allies in sanctioning Russian oligarchs, companies and banks.
The report provides information on efforts by Russian oligarchs to protect their assets by harboring their super yachts in Turkey, buying high-end Turkish real estate, and setting up bank accounts in Turkey to shield their assets from foreclosure.
In addition to their economic relations, the report asserts that Turkey and Russia constitute an “axis of autocracy”, with both governments seeking to consolidate ever more executive power while fostering rampant corruption and committing widespread human rights abuses.
Commenting on the report, David L. Phillips of Columbia University and advisor to the Turkish Democracy Project said: “Erdogan is having it both ways. He pays lip service to peace, while at the same time deepening his country’s ties with Putin’s pariah regime. Turkey’s ties to Russia puts it in a position of peril. Turkish private and state banks face the possibility of severe penalties that could include Turkey’s ability to borrow from international markets.”
Turkey’s cooperation with Russia must not be rewarded by allowing its purchase of seventy F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits from Lockheed Martin,” adds Phillips. “The Biden administration should be more astute differentiating friend from foe.”
Madeleine Joelson, Executive Director of the Turkish Democracy Project commented: “Inflation in Turkey, which recently hit a 20-year high, is compounded by the rising cost of energy, wheat and fertilizer resulting from the Ukraine war. Erdogan gains from maintaining close ties with Russia while appearing to be on NATO’s side. Turkey’s collusion with Russia must be confronted.”
To view Columbia University’s Program on Peacebuilding and Human Rights’ report, click here.