Der Spiegel has an interesting article on Turkey’s precarious position as a critical energy transit country now that Georgia has been virtually knocked off the map (in terms of investment). It seems that ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who’s always good for a laugh, has offered both to annex Turkey as well as trade them natural gas for nuts.
“No one loves you the way I love you,” the thick-set populist who speaks fluent Turkish, recently sang before a Turkish audience in Istanbul. Zhirinovsky, a graduate of Oriental studies, visited Turkey for the first time in 1962 as a translator for the Soviet Union’s State Committee for Exports. During his visit he was arrested for spreading “communist propaganda” and spent 17 days in jail. Later he wrote a pamphlet about his experiences and recommended that his country annex all Turkic countries because the Russian soldier “must clean his boots in the Indian Ocean.” Now Zhirinovsky’s passion for the southern neighbor has been reignited once more. “Learn Russian, don’t look to the West, look north,” the troublemaker preaches during his regular visits to Turkey. “The EU doesn’t want you, but we want you. We’ll give you gas, you give us nuts!”
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of the famous Antep pistachio myself, and Turkey is the third largest producer in the world after the United States and Iran, but I think there are already enough nuts like Zhirinovsky to last Russia for quite a while.