By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
The nuclear disaster in Japan has further complicated the complex energy relationship between Turkey and Russia. Frictions persist over Turkey’s reluctance to support Russia’s South Stream pipeline project and become ever more dependent on Russian energy sources. Turkey has already become one of the largest Russian gas importers; natural gas accounts for the highest share of the Turkish-Russian trade turnover. Turkey’s dependence on Russian energy is a cause of concern among officials in Ankara. Diversification of energy partners would leave Turkey less likely to be manipulated by the Kremlin, which occasionally uses its energy exports as a political weapon. Turkey’s energy policy exemplifies its paradoxical relationship with Russia: while Moscow and Ankara engage in an intense partnership, including in the energy sphere, they simultaneously fiercely compete with one another – again, in the same energy sphere.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
From 11-12 May, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Ankara and met with President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and other senior Turkish officials. The trip coincided with the signing of 17 agreements between the two countries, with the ones dealing with energy potentially having the most importance for their relationship. If these deals are fully implemented, Turkey would become even more dependent on Russia for its energy supplies, perhaps for decades to come. Turkish officials have resisted some of Moscow’s demands, but Ankara’s ability to pursue polices strongly opposed by Moscow on important Eurasian issues remains questionable.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
By dint of geography and its strategic relations, Turkey has assumed a pivotal role in Europe’s future ballistic missile defense (BMD) architecture. The United States has been lobbying Ankara to participate in its program within a NATO framework, while Iran and Russia have encouraged Turkey to keep its distance from Washington’s BMD plans. Turkish officials have strived to balance these competing forces while leveraging them to advance Turkey’s own regional security interests.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
As Turkey has become estranged from its Western allies, especially as a result of having being cold-shouldered by the European Union, the country has come to develop closer relations with Russia, a historical rival. During the recent the visit of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin to Turkey, the two countries signed cooperation protocols in several fields, mostly regarding energy issues. The visit saw progress in advancing regional energy projects that benefit both countries, Turkey obtaining Russian support for its Samsun-Ceyhan oil project and Russia obtaining Turkish agreement for its South Stream gas project. The burgeoning relationship should nevertheless not be seen as an attempt by Ankara to distance itself from the West, but as a Russian move to fill the vacuum left by American and European neglect of Turkey.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.