The Russia-Turkey Young Leaders Forum was held in Moscow last week, with an emphasis on the importance of the two countries' strategic cooperation on international matters.
Organized by the head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the forum started on April 23 and lasted for a week.
Speaking at the opening forum of the Russia-Turkey Young Leaders Forum at the Gorchakov Fund of Support for Public Diplomacy, Deputy CEO of the Alexander Gorchakov Fund Roman Grishenin greeted Turkish participants on behalf of the President of the Supervisory Board, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Grishenin said that Russia strongly supports the foreign policy approach that Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have adopted, stressing the importance of strategic cooperation between the two countries.
In addition to the strategic partnership in foreign policy, trade and tourism are other very important areas for bilateral relations between the two countries said Grishenin, adding: "If we take the possibility of having a holiday in Turkey away from our citizens, there will be a riot in the country."
Noting the problematic period between the two countries in a reference to the plane crisis of 2015, Grishenin said: "We cannot think of Russia without Turkish companies and tourism. I hope that such problems between our countries never happen again."
Another important topic that Grishenin touched upon was the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ)-linked schools. Grishenin said that Russia closed these schools in the 2000s, considering them a soft-power tool of the United States.
Speaking at the same meeting, entitled "Foreign Policy of Russia and Turkey: Long Way to the Future," Dmitry Yegorchenkov, the director of the Institute of Strategic Studies and Prognoses of RUDN, a member of the Expert Council of Rossotrudnichestvo, said that the U.S.-led globalization project had failed, and we are moving toward a global order splitting into separate blocs around certain countries and regions. According to Yegorchenkov, Turkey and Russia are two important actors in the Eurasia bloc in the "multi-centered world."
Yegorchenkov described U.S. hegemony as a "global dictatorship" and said that Russia completely agrees with President Erdoğan over Turkey's disappointment with U.S. foreign policy.
Turkey, Russia resemble each other
Dedicating a special section to Turkey and Russia relations, Yegorchenkov said that Turkey and Russia resemble each other rather than the West. Both countries have a similar fate and geopolitics, and both countries have to deal with the double standards and biases of the West, said Yegorchenkov.
"Whenever Turkey and Russia built close relations in history, third parties have interfered," said Yegorchenkov, referring to the West's concerns about a possible Turkey-Russia partnership.
The issue of the S-400 was another point that Yegorchenkov touched upon. "Our military partnership deals began in 1994. The S-400 is the continuation of this process," said Yegorchenkov. "We do not forget that Turkey is a NATO member. However, we appreciate Turkey's independent stance from NATO," he added.
Saying that Turkey and Russia have conducted important and successful cooperation in Syria against terrorism and chaos, Yegorchenkov added that there are sometimes differences of opinion among the two countries and said: "It is natural, like a marriage. Family is a good example because families are always open to compromise."
Idlib is a problem that is waiting to be solved
He listed the issues of Idlib and northern Syria as issues that the two countries need to solve and added that Turkey and Russia have been working to restore security and stability in the region, while the U.S. has been acting only in its own interests.
He also said that the lack of strategic planning is the biggest problem for the two countries' partnership in Russia.
Yegorchenkov indicated that Turkey and Russia should use humanitarian and cultural partnerships as complementary elements of their strategic partnership and act together against the West.
"The Turkey-Russia partnership is an inevitable necessity," said Yegorchenkov.
The Forum is the continuation of the two countries' activities within the framework of the Russia-Turkey Public Forum (RTFO). The RTFO operates under the authority of the Council of Cooperation at the highest level, founded by the presidents of Russia and Turkey in 2010. The Council coordinates and implements projects for political, trading and economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation of the two countries.
As part of the events, the delegation, consisting of 18 young participants from Turkey, visited high-level state bodies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, in addition to educational and cultural events, excursions and roundtable meetings.