By Michaël Tanchum
April 13, 2020
On April 3, 2020, as Turkey passed 20,000 registered cases of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appeared on television to announce the implementation of a partial shutdown in Turkey, restricting movement in 31 of Turkey's 81 provinces. The new stricter measures came as the increasingly rapid spread of the virus propelled Turkey to the world's 9th highest number of COVID-19 cases and the world's 12th highest number of COVID-19 deaths. With its economy already overstretched by concurrent military interventions in Syria and Libya, Turkey is likely to find coping with the additional challenge of COVID-19 to be untenable.
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.
By Barış Soydan
February 19, 2020
Massive infrastructure projects have become the bedrock of the political economy of Turkey. With the projected building of a canal that would devastate Istanbul’s ecology, and which will vastly increase the budget deficit, the destructive consequences of the collusion of state power and business interests in Turkey risks reaching unprecedented levels. While Turkish crony capitalism requires new mega projects to survive, the Turkish political regime must keep feeding its cronies in order to retain its grip on the country. But the ultimate project of Turkish crony capitalism could spell the end of Istanbul.
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.