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    June 29, 2016

    Five Minutes of Common Sense: Erdogan apologizes - that's it?

    June 29, 2016 - 
    Ruslan Ostashko, PolitRussia - 
    Translated by J. Arnoldski

    It is astonishing just how easily the specializations of social network users can change. Yesterday, Facebook was still crowded by experts on football tactics, strategy, and the psychological training of professional players for relevant international competitions. Last week, there was a genuine invasion on social networks of specialists on British constitutional and electoral law, and on legislation of the European Union.

    Today, I was surprised to discover that yesterday’s Brexit experts have quickly re-qualified themselves as practicing experts on Turkey, Turkish politics, and diplomatic communication. As if in unison, the Facebook community is indignant over the fact Ergodan’s apology was not expressed in the the words or form that they wanted. 

    I am not an expert Turkologist, and I don’t claim to understand the nuances of Turkish diplomatic language. But I do have a certain experience from participating in information wars which allows me to draw several conclusions based on available information. In the modern world, what is often most important is not what you say our how you say it, but how you are understood.

    Let’s take a look at how Erdogan’s letter was perceived, not in Moscow or Ankara, but in other capitals. 

    And so, from the point of view of Al-Jazeera, Erdogan apologized to Moscow. From the point of view of Fox News, Erdogan apologized to Moscow. From the point of view of the specialized international journal Foreign Policy, Erdogan did “what he hates most of all,” i.e., apologize. 

    Overall, it turns out that the international information field has already recorded the fact of the apology and, as they say, “there is no turning back.” The international experts of Western media are now busy not with discussing whether Erdogan apologized or not, but discussing what Putin did to make such an incredibly proud and stubborn Turkish leader come forth with his apology. 

    It is worth recalling that the Kremlin never demanded that Erdogan merely apologize. In order for Russian-Turkish relations to have at least a minimal chance for normalization, two more points are necessary: material compensation for the downed plain must be paid, and the perpetrators must be punished. Only after this is done will any kind of real negotiations begin in which many interesting things can be discussed, including the close relationship between some Turkish structures and Syrian terrorists.

    Some among us have for some reason disdained the issue of monetary compensation, but in vain. In this case, money has a great symbolic value not necessarily for us, but for those who are paying it. Compensation must be knocked out of them. In general, it is time that we teach our geopolitical  opponents to repent and pay, pay and repent. The more they do, the more they pay. In this case, repentance and compensation is a geopolitical tool. The only bad point is that we are not using it to its full potential. 

    A few points should be noted. First of all, any kind of haste is unproductive. The factors of an economic and political character that forced Erdogan to find a way to mend relations with Israel and Russia bear a long-term character. Secondly, no illusions should be had as to the sincerity or honesty of Erdogan, just as no illusions should be had as to his mental stability. But this  does not mean that we do not need to make use of the prevailing situation. 

    On the contrary, we need to make use of it to the fullest. As practice shows, the Kremlin will find the necessary leverage and can maximize the number of concessions. In fact, our Western opponents seem to believe that Erdogan has become dangerous for them, otherwise the Germany authorities would not be blaming him for war crimes following the publication of his letter. 

    Who knows - maybe the Turkish leader is now trying to buy a ticket to Rostov from Vladimir Putin? They say that it is a great city for runaway presidents. 

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