By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Despite its challenging neighborhood, Turkey has an exemplary nuclear nonproliferation record. Several favorable factors have allowed Turkey to abstain from developing its own nuclear weapons and make strong declarations in favor of nuclear nonproliferation. Having physical access to the U.S.-NATO nuclear weapons has been a form of compensation for Turkey’s not developing its own national nuclear arsenal. Even so, while Turkey can boast a largely successful nuclear nonproliferation record, certain plausible developments could still undermine it and force a reluctant Ankara to seek its own nuclear arsenal.
By Stephen Blank (vol. 5, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
New tension is brewing between Turkey and Cyprus after Cyprus’ and Israel’s enormous gas finds in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2010-11 and Turkey’s extremely negative reaction to those finds. Turkey can be embroiled with a conflict, not only with Cyprus, its European backers and Israel, but with Russia as well. The Cyprus energy conflict demonstrates the urgency of making progress on the tangled issue of Cyprus’ future and the relationships among its two ethnoreligous groups and of fully integrating Turkey into Europe.
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. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
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.