By Natalia Konarzewska
December 30, 2020
Turkey offered unprecedented military assistance to Azerbaijan in its recent war with Armenia over the break-away Nagorno-Karabakh region. Its extensive military involvement in the conflict has already payed off and it is, furthermore, set to have far-reaching geopolitical implications in the future. The agreement with Russia on the establishment of a joint ceasefire monitoring centre provides Turkey with a military foothold in the south Caucasus. Even though Turkey is relegated to a secondary role in the post-war security arrangements in Nagorno-Karabakh – as Moscow is reluctant to share power in its self-assigned backyard – it has nonethelss gained a direct gateway to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia that may in time prove crucial.
By Barış Soydan
December 10, 2020
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is certainly right to point to the need of reforms to restore the confidence of international investors in Turkey. Yet his determination, and assuming that he’s sincere, his ability to see reforms through is very much in doubt. Besides, Erdoğan retains a hands-on approach to monetary policy even after the departure of his son-in-law Berat Albayrak from the Ministry of Finance. He may well decide once again to stimulate the economy with cheaper and larger amounts of credit, which would inevitably further destabilize the Turkish economy.
By Natalia Konarzewska
November 23, 2020
In August 2020, Turkey announced the first sizeable natural gas discovery off its Black Sea coast, estimated to contain some 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas. In October 2020, after weeks of additional exploration, Turkey revised the estimation of the newfound gas reserve upwards to 405 bcm. The discovery of the Sakarya gas field was met with euphoria, as it came after years of unfruitful quest for indigenous natural gas reserves. The finding promises to ease Turkey’s dependence on hydrocarbon imports and Ankara will likely use its new-found gas field as leverage against Russia, which is bound to have geopolitical implications.
By Sudha Ramachandran
November 11, 2020
Turkey’s relations with China have undergone a sea change in recent years, with deepening bilateral cooperation. Ankara’s economic dependence on China and thus susceptibility to its pressure is rising, and it has led to a shift in Turkey’s policy towards the Uighurs, China’s Turkic minority. Turkey’s decades-old policy of supporting the Uighurs is changing; it is no longer the safe haven it once was for Uighurs fleeing Chinese repression and Turkey is reportedly deporting them to China. The Uighurs risk losing their strongest, if not only, supporter in the Muslim world as China’s role in Turkey’s economy continues to expand. The shift in Turkey’s stance toward the Uighurs is likely to be permanent. It ultimately speaks of the primacy of economic concerns over nationalism.
By John C. K. Daly
October 21, 2020
Dissatisfaction with Turkey has intensified to the point that the U.S. administration is considering abandoning İncirlik air base near Adana. Turkey in turn has threatened to expel the American military from İncirlik air base if the U.S. Congress imposes sanctions on Turkey for purchasing the Russian S-400 antiaircraft system. As Turkey has now activated the missiles, the future of İncirlik is at best unclear.
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.