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President Putin’s Insight Into His Turkish Counterpart Is Worth Reflecting On
President Erdogan is a patriot who always prioritizes his country’s objective national interests similar in a sense to how Indian Prime Minister Modi does.
Turkish President Erdogan is regarded as a rogue by many in the US-led West’s Golden Billion and a Trojan Horse among an equal number of folks in the jointly BRICS- and SCO-led Global South, but the reality is that he actually epitomizes a new type of leadership. President Putin elaborated on this late last month during the Q&A that followed his keynote speech at the Valdai Club’s annual meeting. The purpose of the present piece is to highlight his insight and explain why it’s worth reflecting on.
In the words of the Russian leader, his Turkish counterpart “is a competent and strong leader who is guided above all, and possibly exclusively, by the interests of Turkiye, its people and its economy…President Erdogan never lets anyone get a free ride or acts in the interests of third countries…President Erdogan is a consistent and reliable partner. This is probably his most important trait, that he is a reliable partner.”
The de facto leader of the New Cold War’s Global Revolutionary Movement (GRM) is saying what partisans on both sides of this worldwide struggle fail to acknowledge for their own ideological and narrative reasons. Namely, this is that President Erdogan is a patriot who always prioritizes his country’s objective national interests similar in a sense to how Indian Prime Minister Modi does, who President Putin also lavishly praised during the same Q&A session.
Accordingly, the Turkish and Indian leaders both strive to balance between those two unofficial New Cold War blocs, with the first being a formal part of the Golden Billion by virtue of its membership in NATO while the second is a formal part of the Global South through its membership in BRICS and the SCO. Turkiye is reaching out to the Global South through its efforts to join the SCO while India is doing the same vis a vis the Golden Billion through the G7 and the Quad.
Regardless of whatever folks in either unofficial bloc think about those two leaders, the fact of the matter is that President Putin’s innuendo that they epitomize a new type of leadership is accurate. Unlike during the Old Cold War where relations between each side were more clear-cut, rigid, and zero-sum, the New Cold War is characterized by more ambiguity, flexibility, and mutually beneficial cooperation between a rising number of the world’s most important countries.
These selfsame countries, apart from Hungary and Turkiye, are all located within the Global South. Inspired by India’s effective example, they’d ideally like to maintain equidistance between the American and ([formerly?] aspiring) Chinese superpowers that exert the most influence over International Relations during the present bi-multipolar intermediary phase of the global systemic transition to multipolarity. To this end, they regard Russia as an irreplaceable third-party balancing force.
Without Moscow serving that unique role in their grand strategies, they’d feel compelled to choose sides in the New Cold War by becoming one of its two superpowers’ “junior partners”, hence why it came be said that their relations with Russia are truly game-changers with respect to accelerating the global systemic transition to multipolarity. There’ll understandably be times where their policies align and others where they diverge, but they’re always characterized by mutual respect and benefits.
It was precisely this dynamic that President Putin was touching upon when describing his Turkish counterpart, who he praised for reaching pragmatic agreements on Syria, among other sensitive issues. While proclaiming that “We have never had any issues with India”, the fact of the matter is that their strategic partnership did indeed go through some twists and turns over the past few years prior to getting back on track, but that was purely due to misunderstandings that were ultimately overcome.
These mutually beneficial outcomes in Russia’s relations with India and Turkiye prove that its leader was right to praise his counterparts. Prime Minister Modi and President Erdogan do indeed epitomize a new type of leadership that prioritizes sovereignty over all else, which is pragmatic and will come to characterize the norm throughout the course of the New Cold War, at least when it comes to rising multipolar leaders. This is a positive trend that should be applauded and encouraged by all.