Despite being a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkey will not be sanctioning Russia for its military invasion of Ukraine.
“We believe that the sanctions will not resolve the problem,” declared Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed
He made these statements at a diplomatic forum in Antalya on March 13, 2022, per a report by TASS.
“We believe that the sanctions will not resolve the problem,” Cavusoglu responded when inquired about Turkey’s position on imposing sanctions against Russia. “Take the airspace. In accordance with the Montreux Convention we have no power to close it. This is a legal obligation.”
Despite Turkey’s opposition to implementing sanctions against Russia, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during the diplomatic forum that NATO expected all member nations to impose punitive sanctions on Russia.
The Russian invasion is marketed as a “special military operation” after the leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics requested Russia to provide military assistance against a purported offensive that the Ukrainian army was going to launch against the breakaway republics.
Putin has stated, for now at least, that Russia has no plans for a long-term occupation of Ukrainian territories. Nevertheless, the collective West is committed to sanctioning Russia and virtually disconnecting it from all economic activity.
Turkey has maintained its firm stance of not joining in on the sanctions against Russia on the grounds that it would be detrimental to its economic interests and its recent efforts to improve relations with an otherwise historical adversary.
The past century of Turkish history has been one of geopolitical hedging. While it’s a member of NATO, Turkey has extended olive branches to countries like Russia, China, and Iran in the past decade. It’s likely doing so to prepare for a world order where the West is no longer the top dog. Turkey is re-calibrating its foreign policy approach according to the new winds blowing in the international area.