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 Cengiz Çandar
August 26, 2020
Turkey’s and Greece’s zero-sum game in dealing with the issues of maritime delimitation and jurisdiction has for decades posed a problem for the peace and stability in their region. The discovery of energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean has raised the stakes significantly. Mutual intransigence, but most importantly the growing power of ultranationalist officers in the Turkish state, is exacerbating tensions. Turkey’s Blue Homeland doctrine, the endeavor to establish Turkish naval supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean, is ultimately a testimony to the clout of anti-Western ultra-nationalism in the Turkish military and state. It ensures that the eastern Mediterranean will be in perpetual conflict.
By Michaël Tanchum
August 25, 2020
Turkey's expanded military presence in Libya has tilted the geopolitical game-board more in Ankara's favor vis-à-vis France and Egypt and their partner the United Arab Emirates. While motivating the strong backing Paris and Cairo are providing to Greece as it confronts Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, Ankara's effort to extend Turkey's influence throughout Africa is driving a wider strategic competition between Turkey and France in the Sahel and likewise between Turkey and Egypt in the Horn of Africa. Ankara's advances in Niger in the Sahel and in Ethiopia in the Horn have raised the stakes for Turkey's rivals, pushing them into closer alignment, with the rivalry between Turkey and the Franco-Emirati-Egyptian entente defining one of Africa's main geopolitical fault lines.
By Natalia Konarzewska
June 29, 2020
The discovery of new gas reserves in the region was expected to bring peace and prosperity to the Eastern Mediterranean littoral states but it has created new geopolitical and security risks instead. In April and May this year, Turkey continued with gas drilling within Cyprus' exclusive economic zone which drew new harsh criticism from the European Union. Turkey's assertive stance shows that Ankara is unlikely to abandon its pursuit for hydrocarbons in the region and that it will hence remain on a collision course with Greece and Cyprus. The EU would do well to seek de-escalation and should recognize that circumventing Turkey is not a viable strategy. Otherwise, there is a clear risk that the hydrocarbon dispute in the region will spiral out of control and lead to military confrontation.
By Micha’el Tanchum
December 30, 2019
Turkey upended the Eastern Mediterranean's strategic equation with its late November 2019 signing of maritime boundary and military cooperation agreements with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in war-divided Libya. By defining maritime borders with the internationally recognized administration in Tripoli, Ankara ostensibly has broken its regional isolation and gained greater legal standing to challenge the boundaries Greece established with Cyprus and Egypt upon which the current arrangements for Eastern Mediterranean natural gas development depend. While previously compartmentalized, Turkey's formalization of its commitment to Tripoli has interlinked an already tense maritime stand-off in the Eastern Mediterranean to a new escalation spiral in the Libyan Civil War in which Turkey's rivals possess escalation dominance over 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.