This article was originally published by MNews.
At the end of last week, the day after the adoption of the declaration “Vision of the Turkic World until 2040” at the Istanbul summit, a “Map of the Turkish World” appeared in Turkey. It was not President Erdogan who was photographed with it, but the leader of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (better known as the “Gray Wolves”) Devlet Bahceli. The huge Turkic world on the map stretches from the Arctic Ocean to Bulgaria, including including a third of Russia – from Dagestan and the Orenburg region to Altai and Yakutia – almost twenty federal subjects.
Sure, the “Gray Wolves” is a right-wing nationalist party that does not have much support in Turkey, but maybe what is on their mouth, Erdogan has in mind? Indeed, last week in Istanbul, the Turkic Council was renamed the Organization of Turkic States – here it is, the backbone of the future great Turan, a huge Eurasian empire that can become a reality only by breaking up Russia. Moscow here is friends with Erdogan, sells S-400 to him and builds pipelines – but the threat to Russian interests and the very integrity of Russia needs to be rebuffed.
Such a reaction is not uncommon in Russia. And not just with the aforementioned card, but wih regard to the very summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) Turkey began to seriously take interest the Turkic world immediately after the collapse of the Union: already in 1992, the first summit of the Turkic-speaking states was convened – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Everyone except the last one is now part of the OTS – the Turkmen are present in it as observers (like the Hungarians).
Speaking at the Istanbul summit, Erdogan explained the renaming by the fact that it will allow to more actively strengthen the organization. In order to achieve this, the “Vision of the Turkic World – 2040” was adopted, which outlines its goals. From removing trade barriers to harmonizing cultural, youth and educational policies, from creating new transcontinental corridors from China to Europe and a common information space, to increasing political solidarity and mutual support in vital issues of national interest, as well as regional and global issues. And the most important thing is the promotion of a common Turkic identity. What could possibly be wrong with a Great Turan?
True, the “Vision” speaks of a common identity as a “source of cultural richness” – but what if everything ends in a single army? Anticipating fears, Erdogan said that “the Organization of Turkic States should not bother anyone. On the contrary, we should strive to become part of this ascending structure based on historical community. This organization is a platform for the development of interstate relations.”
Who is the Turkish President inviting to join? Maybe Ukraine, which has long wanted to become an observer in the organization? Or is it Russia, the homeland of many Turkic peoples? Russia is not a Turkic state, but Turkic people, starting with the Tatars and ending with the Yakuts, have been the most important component of the Russian state for centuries. A lot of Turkic peoples live in Russia on their historical lands, millions of others (from Azerbaijanis to Kyrgyz) are citizens of Russia, and more millions come to us to work.
Like the Russian world, the Turkic one belongs to the key world civilizations – and it is understandable that the Turks, who presided over the Ottoman Caliphate a hundred years ago (that is, they ruled over a large number of Arab Muslims), want to strengthen their influence in the world through reliance on kindred peoples. Moreover, the collapse of the USSR provided Turkey with a unique chance: the peoples that had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries accidentally turned out to be the owners of independent states. Yes, by chance – because the Turkic republics did not break up the Union, they were, in fact, thrown out of it. It is no coincidence that the idea of a Eurasian Union originally came from the President of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev – and the ongoing reintegration of the post-Soviet space was welcomed by most of the Central Asian republics.
Russia respects Turkic interests and understands Turkey’s motives. Russia is not against the rapprochement of the Turkic peoples – but at the same time she will be very stubborn in defending her interests. And these interestes are understandable – the Turkic people living in Russia are not just citizens of Russia, but also a part of the Russian people. Their political, economic, cultural and religious life should be Russian-centric – that is, connected with their small homeland and Russia as such. Turkey can use the pan-Turkic factor (as well as the pan-Islamic one, working with the Muslim Brotherhood) to strengthen its political influence in different parts of the world, but not in Russia. Nothing personal, just state interests.
Russians and Turks, Slavs and Turks are linked by centuries of relations. Orthodox and Muslims, Russian and Turkish civilizations have lived side by side for centuries, fought against each other, traded, entered into alliances, quarreled and became relatives. There were all sorts of things – including constant attempts by Western (mainly Anglo-Saxon) forces to pit our two peoples and states against each other. Under Erdogan, Turkey gave up senseless hopes for European integration and wanted to become the leader of the Islamic world again, using for this, among other things, the Turkic factor. And it is here that a great opportunity appears for the game of external forces – those who are interested in playing off the Russians and the Turks again.
In the rivalry for Transcaucasia and Central Asia, let them argue with each other, or even fight. Russia certainly does not need this, as, incidentally, nor does Turkey. And Moscow has enough opportunities for joint development and strengthening. In any case, Central Asia will remain a zone of influence and interests of Russia – at least military and economic. For the Central Asian states there is no alternative to integration processes in the Eurasian Union – and here Russia will not surrender her interests to anyone.
A stronger Turkey is not a direct threat to Russia – and even plans to strengthen the Turkic world can be matched with Russian interests. Under two conditions: Russia’s tough and consistent defense of her civilizational sovereignty (including by the Turkic elites in the Turkic national republics within Russian) and her interests in the Turkic part of the post-Soviet space.
And with a clear understanding by the Turks of the simple fact that the stake should be placed not on the weakening, but on the strengthening of Russia, the hopes that the success of the Turkic world can be achieved through the displacement or collapse of Russia should be left as dangerous and empty dreams. Moreover, in the coming world of transhumanism, Turks and Russians have much more in common than it seemed before: traditionalism, patriotism, reasonable conservatism, real family values.
If the Turks are ready to go along with Russia into the future, Russia should be invited to join the Organization of Turkic States as an observer. And the Turks should prepare to submit an application to the Eurasian Union, especially since Erdogan once spoke of such a desire to Nazarbayev.
And now, at the Istanbul summit, the Turkish president expressed hope that the time will come when the sun will begin to rise again from the East, meaning that the Turkic countries have remained the center of culture and civilization for millennia. But in order not to oversleep the rise of the new world, one needs to choose the right person with whom one wants to meet it.