Turkey And Russia Tense Over Georgia Issue

Turkey’s relations with Russia are going through a major crisis that was, most probably, initiated by recent events in Georgia and South Ossetia. Russian border police halted shipments from Turkey claiming there was inaccurate paper work, and the passage of US military ships through the Straits of Dardanelles has sparked controversy since Russia believes this permission violated the Montreux Convention on allowing military ships to be deployed in the Black Sea. However, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, made clear he did not believe Turkey in any way assisted the Georgian attack on South Ossetia. Russia does not expect Turkey to make a radical shift in its desire to become part of the European Union, but it does insist there be a neutral approach to issues in the Caucasus region.

Turkey is well aware it must maintain positive relations with Russia due to energy needs and to avoid creating turmoil in the region. It has not rushed to support the American position on the Georgia crisis and will avoid any contact with Georgia military forces. Watchful neutrality is the motto of Turkey.