Saturday, January 2, 2016

Moscow Said Lagging in Opposing Pan-Turkism inside Russian Federation

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 2 – Pan-Turkism has long been a “quite successful” ideological weapon for Ankara, Eurasianist Alem Grekov says; but Russia “has begun to oppose it only now” as a result of the deterioration of Russian-Turkish relations and despite the fact that Turkey has been using this line against Russia and “the Byzantine inheritance” for centuries.

            In an essay on Aleksandr Dugin’s “Yevraziya” portal, Grekov says that the best way to understand pan-Turkism is as “’the soft power’ of a hostile policy” rather than as a historical curiosity that contemporary rulers in Moscow and elsewhere can ignore with impunity (

            “Russia always was for Turkey an enemy and a geopolitical opponent,” and any temporary cooperation was only driven by economic considerations, he says. Worse, Turkey has inevitably exploited such cooperation to promote via “’soft power’” means its harmful ideology of pan-Turkism first in the USSR and now within the Russian Federation.

            Grekov notes that two of the six Turkic republics in Russia – Tatarstan and Yakutia – have not broken ties with Ankara’s Turksoy organization, “and judging from everything, if they do, it will be exclusively on the basis of a direct order which officials in Moscow are not hurrying to give.”

            But the problem he continues is “not in some particular regions which do not want in unison with the rest of Russia to break off cooperation with the Turkish Republic. The problem is that pro-Turkish forces … have successfully promoted the ideology of pan-Turkism which is directed at the establishment of the full and total supremacy of the so-called Turkic world under the aegis of the Turkish elder brother.”

            Such an ideology, Grekov argues, has led to the deaths of millions and “the genocides of entire peoples” and is incompatible with the rights of those the Turks consider their “younger brothers” whose rights to native language institutions and even identities would be compromised by its acceptance.

            “The slogan – only Turkey and only the Turkish language – operates everywhere despite the fact that many peoples of the so-called Turkish world in essence are only Turkophones, that is, peoples of different ethnic roots,” Grekov says – without any recognition that what he is saying about the Turks could with equal or greater force be said about the Russians.

            “In the context of the new realities,” he concludes, the Russian authorities and representatives of the Academy of Sciences ought to reflect whether they should be giving Turkey the chance to promote its interests in the first instance in the educational and scientific-historical sphere.”

            The reason they should be thinking about that, Grekov says, is obvious: “the main victories are won namely on the ideological field and only then on earth and in the air.”

            In a related development, another article on the portal complains that Moscow is being entirely too liberal in allowing a representative of pan-Islamist views from visiting parts of Russia and spreading his views, despite Ali Qaradaghi’s obvious links with Ankara (

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