By Michaël Tanchum
August 23, 2023
The recent military coup in Niger marks the point of no return for the unraveling of France’s dominant economic and military influence across West Africa. Turkey is the foreign actor that stands to benefit most, with the potential to emerge as a leading strategic partner for the nations of the region. Turkey’s engagement with West Africa is a unique, dual approach that blends military and economic engagement while deftly intertwining humanitarian aid and cultural outreach. Ankara has already become a significant provider of weapons systems and military training while Turkish firms concurrently have been creating a commercial architecture of integrated manufacturing activity stretching from the Central Maghreb to coastal West Africa. As the interior territory within this architecture, the landlocked, Sahel nations of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, each now ruled by a military junta, present both challenges and opportunities for the advancement of Turkey’s ‘military industrial complex’ in West Africa.
By Barçın Yinanç
August 17, 2023
It is naïve to expect Turkey to distance itself from Russia. As in the past, Turkish-Russian cooperation will go hand in hand with competition as the two leaders cannot afford to sever their ties. Erdoğan is unlikely to pivot to the West at the expense of turning his back to Putin. He is likely to continue his careful balancing act between Russia and the West. While there are reasons that impel Erdoğan to improve Turkey’s relations with its Western partners, the Turkish president must in fact also make sure to nurture the relationship with Russia. Erdoğan will use the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership and his ties to Putin as leverage on the EU.
By Michaël Tanchum
July 18, 2023
The persistence of high food inflation in Turkey belies a deeper problem. Turkish agrifood production cannot adequately cope with increasing water scarcity due to climate change. Challenging Turkey’s own food security, the growing crisis also threatens Turkey’s role as a food supplier to Europe and the Middle East. Regional food supply chain breakdowns due to a decline in Turkish production would create a debilitating economic impact on both regions. Advanced agri-tech solutions can mitigate these problems, presenting an opportunity for Ankara to create a new area of strategic cooperation between Turkey and its Western and Middle Eastern partners.
By Natalia Konarzewska
June 26, 2023
Turkey supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity and has supplied Kyiv with large amounts of weapons, yet at the same time it does not want to sever ties with Russia. On the contrary, Turkey has significantly increased its trade exchange with Russia and faces Western accusations that its commercial ties help fuel the Russian war effort. However, trade cooperation with Russia remains crucial for Turkey and the country is unlikely to change course.
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.