This Russian call to occupy Istanbul is an outrageous provocation – Middle East Monitor
A Russian “expert” recently made controversial comments about Turkey after the February 6 earthquakes. Semyon Bagdasarov is a reserve army colonel of Armenian descent. He was a representative in the Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly, and is the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia based in Moscow.
Bagdasarov is known for appearing frequently on Russian television and making controversial statements to attract publicity for himself. Many television channels feature commentators with excellent visuals to attract viewers and increase their ratings; Bagdasarov is one such person. However, his occasional appearances on Russian state television, Rossiya-1to be part of a larger strategy within the Russian political landscape.
This “expert” has a long history of making hostile comments about Turkey; he denies the territorial integrity of Turkiye, for example, by referring to it as “Western Armenia”. He has repeatedly expressed hostility towards the Turkish state and called for cooperation with the Kurdish terrorist organization PKK. Furthermore, he suggested that PKK terrorists fought on the side of Armenia during the Second Karabakh War and praised them as good fighters and socialists. Rossiya-1. In recent months, he even suggested that the PKK should fight for Russia in Ukraine. He also called for “mechanisms” to be put in place to overthrow the Turkish government and take back “Constantinople”.
Bagdasarov suggested that Russian politicians and the military should take advantage of Turkiye’s difficulties after the earthquake and reclaim the land that, he said, was historically part of Russia. “. One of his suggestions is that an Orthodox Christian cross should be attached to the roof of the Hagia Sophia Great Mosque in Istanbul, with prayers sung in Aramaic and Russian.
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Although Bagdasarov’s provocative words appear to be fringe and not the official Russian line, they are still widely criticized on social media. Furthermore, they do not stand up to scrutiny.
The claim that Istanbul (Constantinople) was once part of the Russian Empire is completely false. During its long history, Istanbul was never under Russian control, not even for a single day. However, this so-called expert may believe that Russia is the heir of the Byzantine Empire and, accordingly, the legacy of today’s Turkey.
Regardless of his absurd historical interpretations, his calls for Russia to invade Turkiye, a member of NATO, are reckless, and reveal a complete lack of understanding of the possible consequences. Invoking NATO’s Article 5 would have serious and devastating consequences for Russia, necessitating a strong response from all NATO members. That should convince Moscow not to even consider such a move.
Furthermore, Bagdasarov’s proposal to take advantage of the recent Turkiye earthquakes, which caused enormous damage and human suffering, with the loss of more than 50,000 people, shows his cruel and heartless mentality. What kind of degenerate person would think of taking advantage of a bereaved nation? Countries with long-standing disputes with Turkey, such as Greece, have adopted a conciliatory tone and are engaged in humanitarian diplomacy, offering a fresh start to peace and reconciliation.
The rhetoric that portrays the Turkiye as an enemy can make an already difficult situation for Russia worse. It is important to note that Turkey wants to intervene in the ongoing war in Ukraine. In addition to playing a vital role in the signing of the grain corridor treaty, Turkiye has initiated prisoner exchanges between the two countries.
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The relationship between Russia and Turkey is complex and cannot be oversimplified as shown by media vultures like Bagdasarov. Although there were periods of conflict between the two countries, there were also moments of friendly relations. Despite some differences, Russia and Turkey continue to maintain diplomatic ties. Countries can minimize conflicts by resolving them through common sense and consensus. During crises, governments need to keep a level head to prevent the situation from escalating and causing more significant damage. This principle has been central to the relationship between Russia and Turkey, especially in recent years.
As Russia becomes more isolated in the international community, the Kremlin must act rationally and avoid any stimuli that could further damage its relationship with Ankara. Moscow is already paying a heavy price for trying to withdraw the borders through its ongoing war in Ukraine. This situation is not helped by the fact that agent promoters undermine Russia’s relations with Turkey and fan the flames of discord.. Russia’s call for the occupation of Istanbul is outrageous and should be condemned.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.