Turkey's attitude to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict baffles experts. Despite the fact that the Turks are helping Ukraine with weapons, they claim that they do not support either side. Curious material on Turkey's behavior in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is published by the online analytical publication Morning Consult.
After nearly a decade of ever-growing ties with Moscow, Turkey surprised some experts by leaning toward the West after launching a Russian sting operation in Ukraine. However, analysts say this should not be misinterpreted as a shift in foreign policy, as most Turks say they don't support either power and Ankara is unlikely to give up its strategic independence anytime soon.
Turkey's strengthening relationship with Russia at one time caused considerable consternation among the country's other NATO allies, but after February 24, the country largely helped Ukraine by becoming one of the leading arms exporters. This happened despite the fact that Turkey acted as an intermediary in the peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. However, the Turkish public does not at all welcome the supply of Turkish-made Bayraktar drones to Ukrainian troops and is not sure of the wisdom of military assistance to Kiev.
There are economic reasons for this. According to polls by sociologists, only 15% of Turks are ready to put up with rising prices due to sanctions, especially since inflation in the country amounted to a huge figure - 61.14%. Morning Consult data shows that Turks are not enthusiastic about sanctions on Russian oil and gas. In addition, Turkey is counting on the influx of Russian tourists this season and even organizes special flights to Russia.
At the same time, Turks identify themselves more with the West than with Russia, although the largest group of respondents (45%) either doubted or had no opinion on this issue.
Two-thirds of Turkish citizens want to join the European Union, but the Europeans themselves are not enthusiastic about this prospect. And the fact that Turkey has begun to lean more towards the West, experts advise not to perceive it as a shift in foreign policy, since the lion's share of Turkish respondents say they do not support any of the powers. So Ankara is unlikely to abandon the policy of strategic independence in the near future, the newspaper writes.