Turkey unlikely to grow closer to Russia after Biden recognises Armenian genocide

Turkey is unlikely to pursue any closer relations with Russia after United States President Joe Biden recognised the Armenian genocide on Saturday, Russian state-run TASS news agency wrote on Sunday. 

Boris Dolgov, a researcher at Russia’s Academy of Sciences’ Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, explained to TASS his view that Turkey could at best become "temporarily inclined to cooperate with Russia after Biden's remark." 

"There is no reason to assume that Turkey will become a partner or ally for Russia that you can trust. It will continue the policy of maneuvering between the US and Russia," said Dolgov. 

Dolgov's view reflects the often contradictory relationship between the two historic rivals. In recent years, Russia and Turkey have cooperated extensively in shared theaters like Syria, the south Caucasus and in Libya, but often as the backers of opposing proxy forces. The relationship has in many ways thrived through the personal affinity shared by their leaders, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin. 

At the same time, tensions have run high in recent weeks because of Turkey's defence relationship with Ukraine. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned Ankara against feeding Ukraine "militaristic tendencies" through the supply of armed drones to the Ukrainian military. Russia has also suspended flights to Turkey ahead of the tourism season, a move analysts and some Russian politicians portrayed as retaliation for supporting Kyiv. Recently, Russia announced that it would be scrutinising its own defence relationship with Turkey over Ukraine. 

Turkey's relationship with Russia in recent years has also damaged its relations with the United States, its NATO ally. Washington levied sanctions on Ankara for its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system and expelled it from the program for the F-35 fighter jet. 

On Saturday, President Biden issued a statement recognising the Armenian genocide in 1915, ending decades of declining to do so for fear of offending Turkey.