Russia perceives Turkey as opponent

Fri 19 November 2010 09:01 GMT | 13:01 Local Time

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News.Az interviews Dr.Yevgeny Volk, Deputy Director, The Yeltsin Foundation (Moscow).

Do you consider there is a link between the situation around Iran and the problem of settling the legal status of the Caspian Sea? Does the first problem complicate the settlement of the second one?

Undoubtedly. Whatever they say, there is a link between them. Certainly, the Iranian problem is now key for the whole region of Middle East. And certainly in the global sense this is a great problem in the relations between Russia and its neighbors, Russia and the United States, Russia and the EU.

That is, in fact, this is one of the serious global problems which is in the center of attention in any case and at any forum, be it the UN, the upcoming NATO summit in Lisbon and certainly this problem is on the agenda of the Caspian summit anyway.

And what about the impact of another regional problem-instability in the North and South Caucasus on the resolution of the Caspian issue, is there a link here?

Certainly, I think the events in the North and South Caucasus naturall influence the overall situation in the region and Russia's positions in this region. Naturally we see the increased attention of Moscow to getting the support of the Caspian states in its policy in Chechnya, related to growth of terrorism in the North Caucasus. We should also not forget Georgia's problem, as one of the key problems of the Russian foreign policy, which is a subject of a dialogue between Russia and its partners in the region and certainly, no one removes the Karabakh problem from the agenda.

Do you believe in the soonest possible progress in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict?

I think here all those efforts Russia has been taking actively in the past years, especially under the leadership of President Medvedev will not pass traceless. I would like to remind that Medvedev has already held several meetings with Presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan in attempt to reconcile the positions of the parties. I think this is a reflection of Russia's growing interest to this region and the overall attempt to draw a contrast between Russia's active role and US and Turkey's attempts to raise their influence in this region.

Do you think Russia perceives Turkey's intensification in our region as competition?

Certainly. I think Russia is very concerned with the fact that Turkey is playing a greater role in the South Caucasus and Central Asia where it undertakes political, economic and in most cases-cultural and humanitarian expansion. On the whole, Russia's elite perceives this as an attempt to weaken Russia's traditional ties with its partners on the post-Soviet area, by creating a new structure of relations which would weaken Russia's influence on the southern perimeter of its borders.




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