By Stephen Blank (vol. 8, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
Given the prominent role that Ankara aspires to have in regional and world affairs what does the Turkish passivity in relation to the developments in the Black Sea region, and specifically regarding the case of Crimea, say about those avowed aspirations? Turkey's inability and unwillingness to stand up to Russian neo-expansionism – something history should have taught Ankara to be extremely wary of – serves to further underline that Turkey's erstwhile reputation for conducting a strong independent foreign policy was never deserved.
By Stephen Blank (vol. 7, no. 22 of the Turkey Analyst)
The announcement that the original South Stream is being closed, and is instead going to be redirected through Turkey, is of epochal significance. However, it is by no means certain that Russia and Turkey can pursue antagonistic policies geopolitically and simultaneously maximize the benefits of their deepened energy relation and increased economic cooperation. And in its eagerness to become a gas hub, Turkey has severely limited the possibilities for Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Central Asian gas producers to break free of Moscow’s energy grip.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 20 of the Turkey Analyst)
Despite vigorous efforts by Russian and Turkish policy makers, differences over Syria threaten to disrupt what has been a harmonious relationship. Leaders in Ankara are calling for President Bashar al-Assad’s immediate departure, while Moscow continues to support his regime if not al-Assad personally. Turkey’s leading role in organizing the anti-Assad resistance, Syria’s cross-border shelling of Turkish territory and Ankara’s recent decision to force a Syrian plane from Russia to land in Turkey threaten to worsen ties. However, Russia is nonetheless unlikely to take any drastic, punitive measures against Turkey because of the two countries’ still strong overlapping interests in other areas.
By Stephen Blank (vol. 4, no. 22 of the Turkey Analyst)
Wherever one looks, Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy is fading. Although Turco-Russian relations have not received the publicity of Turkey’s quarrels with Israel, those relations represent the latest example of this policy’s difficulties. The clash of Turkish-Russian interests are part of a larger theme. They underline that the core idea of Turkish foreign policy during the last years, the notion that Turkey can truly manage to have no problems with all of its neighbors and serenely navigate along the complex shoals of Mediterranean Europe, the Middle East, and the Caucasus and gain leverage throughout these zones, has proven to be unustainable.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Moscow’s decision to “suspend” its compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty since December 2007 now remains one of the few visible sources of tension in the otherwise significantly improved relationship between Turkey and Russia. Yet, like other NATO countries, Turkey has sought not to bury the CFE but to praise and revive it. Turkish officials are calling for further negotiations and mutual concessions in order to restore the treaty framework. Perhaps the most immediate concern behind Turkish unease at the potential demise of the CFE regime is that it could worsen tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
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.