The messenger logo

Russia attempts to discredit Turkey

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, September 23
Since the August 2008 invasion of Georgia the Russian media, which is almost entirely State controlled, has been campaigning to discredit Turkey in the eyes of Georgians. By doing this Russia is trying to weaken the Turkish presence in the South Caucasus and at the same time strengthen its own position.

During the first decade of the post-Soviet era in the South Caucasus very stable, solid and promising connections were made between Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. These have yielded some energy projects of global significance: the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum natural gas pipeline. Construction of the Akhalkalaki (Georgia) to Kars (Turkey) railway is currently on the agenda, and the next step will be implementing the NABUCCO project in order to provide an alternative supply of natural gas to Europe which bypasses Russia.

However it is clear that all these projects, which have so far being successful, are creating irritation and jealousy in Moscow and are hindering the creation of the Russian “energy empire”. Under this doctrine the Kremlin will regain its influence over the post-Soviet space and Europe will become greatly dependent on energy supplied to it by Russia. The successful implementation of the South Caucasus projects to date has been mainly based on good, friendly, and neighbourly relations between Georgia and Turkey, which Russia does not want to see. When Russia’s first modern aggression in the 90s of the last century blocked Georgia’s original land connection with Europe, as Moscow intended, Turkey became the only land connection to Europe available to Georgia. If during the Soviet period Turkey was seen by Georgia as a continual threat things have now changed completely. Turkey has become the closest friend of Georgia while Russia has distanced itself and eventually become the number one enemy of Georgia.

The Russian occupation of Georgia’s territories has created the situation which prevents constructive cooperation between Tbilisi and Moscow. Meanwhile the Kremlin continues to foment wicked plans to destroy Georgia’s statehood. The Kremlin wants to encourage neighbouring States such as Armenia or others to make territorial claims against Georgia and the Russian media is currently speculating about Turkey recognising Abkhazia as an independent state in return for Russia doing the same in Northern Cyprus. The Russian media is also speculating that Turkish might make a claim for Adjara and Armenia might replace Georgia as a transit country, in particular as a stakeholder in NABUCCO. We consider these are just desperate attempts by Russian imperialists to create problems between Ankara and Tbilisi, but what else might follow? How difficult is it for someone to try and gain personal profit by acting on these reports, and creating problems for the sake of it to do so?

Of course the Georgian public and politicians realise that such propaganda is purely designed to discredit Turkey in Georgia, as it bears little relation to reality. They will not rise to Russian provocations, nor allow any external actor to disrupt the friendly relations between Georgia and Turkey and other countries as well.