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EMU Hosts a Seminar on Russian-Turkish Relations and the Persistence of Economic Development since the Great War

EMU Hosts a Seminar on Russian-Turkish Relations and the Persistence of Economic Development since the Great War
Published Date: Wednesday, 13 October 2021

On October 13, 2021, Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Cyprus Policy Center (KPM) in collaboration with Political Science and International Relations Department organized a seminar on Turkish-Russian relations. While a limited number of participants were admitted to the event within the framework of the pandemic rules, simultaneous online participation was also provided to the seminar held at EMU.

The said seminar hosted Bilkent University, Department of International Relations academic staff member and Bilkent Russian Studies Center Chair Assist. Prof. Dr. Onur İşçi, who made a presentation on “Russian - Turkish Relations and the Persistence of Economic Development since the Great War, 1921-2021".

EMU Political Science and International Relations Department and Cyprus Policy Center President Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen thanked Assist. Prof. Dr. Onur İşçi for his participation and reported that İşçi's work focuses on the history of relations between Turkey and Russia after the last period of the Empire.

In his presentation, while evaluating the last 100 years of the Turkish-Russian relations with an economic perspective, Assist. Prof. Dr. İşçi focused on cooperation on economic development during the cold war period. Stating that the open hostility between the Soviet Union and Turkey at the end of the Second World War led historians to ignore much evidence of cooperation and evaluate the two as ruthless enemies, Asst. Prof. Dr. İşçi put forth that in fact, the mutual relations belonging to the classical development scheme of the cold war have also characterized Russian-Turkish relations for most of the last century. Assist. Prof. Dr. İşçi stated that long before the Soviet Union and the United States of America entered into competition with each other, Moscow extended a helping hand to the Turkish revolutionaries who opposed the conditions of the post-World War I order, just like the Russian revolutionaries. Emphasizing that the Soviet military and financial aid between 1920 and 1922 helped the Turkish revolutionaries defeat the European occupation armies, Asst. Prof. Dr. İşçi added that in the 1930s, Moscow sent equipment and engineers to build two textile factories, which were the basis of Turkey's five-year development plan, the first development plan implemented by another country with Soviet advice.

Stating that the tension between Moscow and Ankara at the end of the Second World War have never been fully resolved, Assist. Prof. Dr. İşçi said that in the ten years following the end of the war, the two sides began to control the political conflict between them in the name of economic cooperation. Pointing out that Moscow helped Turkey to industrialize even though it was a member of the opposing bloc even during the escalation of the cold war, Assist. Prof.. Dr. İşçi pointed out that in the 1980s and 1990s, both states limited investments in the heavy industry sector, while creating a new era in the Black Sea with gas pipelines and joint construction projects. Describing this as a new addictive relationship, Assist. Prof. Dr. İşçi emphasized that the pursuit of Western-like modernization is the defining feature of the Russian-Turkish relations in the past century.

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