Translator Accidentally Declares War Between Turkey and Russia

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Sep 15, 2023

At a recent meeting to discuss global affairs, one translator made a huge mistake.

The Turkish-Russian translator told Russian President Vladimir Putin and the world on September 4, 2023, that Turkey was declaring war against Russia. However, that is in no way what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan actually said.

What Exactly Happened Between Turkey and Russia at the Summit in Sochi?

During this important meeting between Putin and Erdoğan, a translator was working to ensure both presidents, as well as the large crowd and those watching on television, could understand what the speakers were saying.


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And at one point, the translator reported that the Turkish president said, “There is a war between Russia and Turkey.” Luckily, the translator was able to fix his mistake almost immediately, and it seemed that Putin understood right away that there was no actual declaration of war by Erdoğan.

A Real Declaration of War Between Turkey and Russia Would Lead to WW3

While any declaration of war would be considered an important event in history, a war specifically between Turkey and Russia would ultimately mean World War III had officially begun.


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Turkey is a member of NATO, a collection of 31 countries that retain sovereignty but come together to discuss political and security issues and actually make decisions together in regard to military tactics and war. Therefore, if Turkey had declared war on Russia, then all of the 30 other NATO countries would have had to stand with Turkey, therefore igniting a world war.

Turkey and Russia Are Not at War

It’s important to understand that in no way are Turkey and Russia actually going to war, and that the translator’s blunder did not seem to upset any of the ongoing negotiations between the two presidents.


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That being said, the meeting certainly brought to light other issues that Russia specifically is experiencing with Turkey as well as the rest of the Western world.

What Was the Summit in Sochi Really About?

The summit was held on September 4, 2023, in Sochi, Russia. The point of the summit was for the two presidents to discuss and hopefully make a deal regarding Russian grain exports through the Black Sea.


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And by the end of their conversation, President Putin told President Erdoğan that Russia would be willing to supply up to one million tons of grain if Turkey would act as the middleman to distribute it.

Why Can’t Russia Distribute the Grain Itself?

Originally, Putin wouldn’t have needed Erdoğan or Turkey’s help in order to move the million tons of grain through the Black Sea.

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However, because many countries are limiting Russia’s ability to export goods, the President now needs to ask for help from Turkey, something that Putin is willing but certainly not excited to do.


Russia’s Problems Are All Because of the War in Ukraine

While Putin has faced criticism for his political agenda and tactics for years, the recent war in Ukraine has caused the president several new problems. In fact, the reason why the summit was held in Russia is because Putin is technically under arrest by the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in Ukraine, which means he can’t travel internationally with ease.

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But one of President Putin’s biggest current issues is the inability to export the country’s goods as he once could.


Putin Expressed Frustrations with the Lack of Support from the West

Putin is not known for his graciousness in politics. And at the summit, he certainly wasn’t shy when expressing how he felt about his country’s current export issues.

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He blamed the fact that he could not return to the Black Sea grain deal because of the many restrictions Western countries have placed on his agricultural exports. He told the world directly, “As usual… it often happens this way with our Western partners, they cheated on us again. And didn’t do as promised – again.”


Biden Announced Full Ban on Imports of Russian Products

Although there are some who likely agree with Putin’s position, many political leaders and people around the world are on the other side of this debate.

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For example, President Joe Biden announced in 2022 that the USA would be “banning all imports of Russian gas and energy,” and he has yet to rescind the embargo.


How is Ukraine Responding to the Summit?

After the summit, President Erdoğan urged Ukraine to open the door to Russia and its need to export grain and other goods. He told the press, “Ukraine needs to especially soften its approaches in order for it to be possible for joint steps to be taken with Russia.”

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However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke out and said that Ukraine would do no such thing. He told his citizens on Ukrainian television, “We should not continue to be hostages to Russian blackmail, where Russia creates problems and then invites everyone to solve them.”


Will Anything Change for Russia in the Near Future?

What’s next for Russia and its export issue is a complete mystery. Of course, it will depend on what happens next in Ukraine, as well as how Putin handles his foreign relationships in the new future.

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But it seems that for now, Russia will continue to struggle to export its agricultural goods, even with Turkey’s help.


Turkey & Russia Are Not at War, They’re Working Together

So, while headlines continue to talk about Tukey’s “declaration of war” against Russia, it’s important to remember that is certainly not what happened at the summit in September.

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In fact, after an important conversation between the two countries’ presidents, Turkey may now actually be helping Russia export a million tons of grain as the rest of the world refuses to do business with Putin.