By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
As Turkey has become estranged from its Western allies, especially as a result of having being cold-shouldered by the European Union, the country has come to develop closer relations with Russia, a historical rival. During the recent the visit of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin to Turkey, the two countries signed cooperation protocols in several fields, mostly regarding energy issues. The visit saw progress in advancing regional energy projects that benefit both countries, Turkey obtaining Russian support for its Samsun-Ceyhan oil project and Russia obtaining Turkish agreement for its South Stream gas project. The burgeoning relationship should nevertheless not be seen as an attempt by Ankara to distance itself from the West, but as a Russian move to fill the vacuum left by American and European neglect of Turkey.
By the Editors (vol. 1, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
Realizing the rising need for the transportation of the Caspian Basin’s energy resources to world markets in the 1990s, Turkish decision-makers claimed that “Turkey should become an energy corridor and an energy hub for producer and consumer countries”. All recent governments have to different degrees supported this vision. Turkey’s energy hub prospects were boosted by the rapid developments in the Turkish economy, which created an increasing demand for energy resources, and forced the “Energy Strategy” to the focal point of political and bureaucratic circles.
By Micha’el Tanchum (vol. 7, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
With the annexation of Crimea, Turkey faces a stronger and more emboldened Russian naval power in the Black Sea. A resurgent Russia may be tempted to exploit its temporary naval dominance to alter current Black Sea energy exploitation and transportation arrangements more in its favor and to the detriment of Turkey and its partners in the Caucasus. The politically motivated stoppage of Turkey’s National Warship Project’s production schedule has created a window of vulnerability in Turkey’s Black Sea naval defenses in the face of rapidly rising Russian naval power.
By Kemal Kaya (vol. 7, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s dependence on Russia in terms of its energy needs, as well as the other, important economic ties impede Turkey from rallying to a Western policy of isolation and stronger economic sanctions toward Russia. Although Turkey has in its official rhetoric joined the international chorus in stating that the Russian takeover is illegal, in practical terms, Ankara’s position is much more ambiguous. Indeed, it can be argued that Turkey has de facto accepted Crimea’s absorption by Russia. Turkey does not have a great stake in Crimea, but fears a possible escalation of tensions in the Black Sea region that lead to the military option being put on the agenda. If that were to happen, Turkey would find it impossible to maintain its current stance of balancing adherence to the Western alliance –in rhetorical terms – and its economic and energy dependence on Russia.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 6, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish decision to choose a Chinese anti-missile system demonstrates Turkey’s ambition to forge an independent defense identity. It is another indication that the ruling Islamic conservatives do not feel indebted to the United States. But the decision is also a reminder that the Turkish generals no longer do America’s bidding. Western policymakers who are angered by the Turkish decision to go Chinese in missile defense would do well to ask if the assumptions that have guided their policies toward Turkey during the last decade may have been flawed.
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.