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)
By M. K. Kaya and Svante E. Cornell (vol. 1, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
Like most other states, Turkey was hard pressed to respond to the war in Georgia. For Turkey, the war threatened its position in the Caucasus, as well as its long-term objective of becoming a hub of European energy transportation. Prime Minister Erdogan chose to moment in order to promote a form of Caucasian alliance - a well-intentioned but somewhat surreal proposal in the middle of a raging war. The crisis exposed the government's lack of attention to the Caucasus, and the need for a serious rethink of Turkey's role there
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.