By Natalia Konarzewska
March 4, 2022
Turkey insists on maintaining close relations both with Russia and Ukraine, but this balancing act has become near-impossible to maintain after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A week into the invasion, Kyiv received a new batch of drones from Turkey that have already proved their effectiveness against the Russian forces. Even though Turkey will seek to maintain a balance as far as possible, its strong military ties with Ukraine speak of its geopolitical ambition to contain Russia. Turkey’s relation with Russia is transactional, while its commitment to the defense of Ukraine is an expression of Turkey’s strategic vision and its adherence to the geopolitical goals of the Western alliance. That will ultimately prove decisive.
By Emil Avdaliani
October 5, 2020
Turkey increasingly views Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan as parts of an arc that could help it balance Russia’s growing military presence in the Black Sea and in the South Caucasus. With this objective in mind, Ankara is stepping up its military cooperation not only with Baku, but also with Tbilisi and Kyiv. Turkey is signaling that it intends to play a far more active role in the Black Sea-Caucasus region in order to contain Russia’s influence. This regional strategy has wider implications as it demonstrates that Turkey, contrary to what has become a common perception in the West, is not moving closer toward Russia and that in fact Turkish and the Western geopolitical interests largely converge, with Turkey supporting Georgia’s NATO ambitions.
By Michaël Tanchum
March 25, 2020
On March 15, 2020, Turkey and Russia conducted their first joint patrol along the M-4 highway in Syria's Idlib province, implementing the terms a ceasefire accord that ended the direct military confrontation between Turkey and Russia. Ankara will prioritize avoiding further confrontation and cooperate with Moscow in order to consolidate Turkey's position in northern Syria. The degree to which Moscow reciprocates Turkey's gestures in Idlib will be the measure of how much Moscow is able and willing to accommodate Turkey's interests in northern Syria.
By Natalia Konarzewska
March 23, 2020
On January 8, 2020, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin attended the opening ceremony of TurkStream, the natural gas pipeline that is envisaged to carry Russian gas to Turkey and then to Southeastern Europe. A month earlier, Erdoğan and Azerbaijan's President İlham Aliyev inaugurated another gas project that Turkey participates in, the Trans Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and which will deliver Azerbaijani gas to Turkey and to southern Europe. Yet TurkStream and TANAP offer mixed prospects for advancing Turkey's strategy to become an energy transit state for Europe because of limitations of capacity and unclear or limited perspectives of expansion. Even though both pipelines are seen as cornerstones of Turkey's gas strategy, they are in fact being brought to completion at a time when Ankara tries to reduce its dependency on pipeline gas and seeks to benefit from the booming liquified natural gas market.
By Micha’el Tanchum
February 20, 2020
The Turkey-Russia relationship is in the midst of a major reset. The outbreak of hostilities in Syria's Idlib province has left thirteen Turkish soldiers dead and seven Turkish military posts under siege by Russian-backed Syrian government forces. Prior policy convergences between Turkey and Russia had raised speculation about the prospect of a Turkish-Russian strategic partnership dominating the security architecture on Europe's southern borders. However, Ankara seems to have overplayed its hand in what is fundamentally a transactional relationship with Moscow. A total rupture in Turkish-Russian cooperation is unlikely, even in the event of a Turkish counter-offensive. However, Russia's reduced cooperation with Turkey will likely result in Russia's further development of more robust strategic partnerships with Turkey's rivals – the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
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.