Re: Turkey (11/05/22 17:37:59)
"Turkey faces a range of vulnerabilities from either an emboldened or a desperate Russia. Erdogan’s strategy therefore centers on supporting Ukraine without jeopardizing ties with Moscow. Over the longer term, the course of the war itself will do much to determine how Ankara maintains this balancing act. Strong, unified NATO support for Ukraine, along with Russian military setbacks, would provide the best opportunity to reinforce Ankara’s commitment to Ukraine—and to the alliance.
Russia and Turkey have for centuries been rivals across a wide geographic space encompassing the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Black Sea, and Central Asia. Vulnerability to Russian military power throughout these regions has encouraged Turkish leaders to seek allies: Britain and France in the Crimean War, Germany in World War I, and NATO in the Cold War. When the international environment has been less threatening, though, Turkey has looked to Russia (and the Soviet Union) for economic opportunities and as a partner for boosting its own strategic autonomy.
The Soviet Union’s collapse created a series of buffer states (including Ukraine) that shielded Turkey from Russian military power, allowing Ankara to pursue a more forward-leaning policy in Eurasia. It also opened up new opportunities for Turkish companies in Russia, which became a major source of tourists to Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts as well as a lucrative market for exporters and construction companies (many with close ties to Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party). Turkey also turned to Russia for energy, at one point getting the majority of its natural gas from Russia, and signing a deal with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu."
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