Editor’s Summary: This article investigates the potential and limits of Turkey as a regional power in the post-Soviet Caucasus and Central Asian areas. The article suggests that cooperation efforts produced significant conflicts and also related the ability to play a constructive regional role to Turkey’s internal capacity. Ironically, weak domestic capacity may be translated into an overactivist foreign policy and overambitious regional power roles with potentially destabilizing consequences.
The Soviet Union’s breakdown and the emergence of independent states in the Caucasus and Central Asia presented Turkey with a unique opportunity to explore a new role as an influential regional power. Turkey enjoyed ethnic and linguistic ties with five states–Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizistan, and Turkmenistan–that seemed to provide a solid foundation for its playing an influential part in shaping their economic development, political direction, and external relations
Further, Turkey’s success story as a modern, secular and market-oriented state was presented as an alternative model for these states in a post-Communist world. This vision elicited support from the United States and Europe, as an alternative to the Iranian Islamist model. Turkish foreign policymakers hoped that such leadership would enhance the country’s importance to the West in both strategic and economic terms at a time when its old role in the Cold War context had disappeared.
A decade after the start of that new era, this article seeks to provide a broad assessment of Turkey’s relations with the states of the Caucasus and the Central Asian republics.
Traditionally, Turkish foreign policy in the post-1923 Republican era has been characterized by two central guiding principles. The first basic element concerned an unequivocal orientation toward the West, an objective embodied in Turkey’s quest for full membership in the European Union. The second key element involved a conservative or defensive approach to foreign policy which has tried to avoid extra-territorial interests or activities extending beyond the country’s borders.(1)
The very foundations of Turkey’s foreign policy however, were seriously challenged in the 1990s, resulting in a more assertive policy in the Balkans, Middle East, Caucasus, and Central Asian republics. The key political figure in this shift was Turgut Ozal, president of Turkey during the early 1990s, who had risen to prominence in the previous decade as the architect of Turkey’s neo-liberal economic reforms.
The first striking evidence of the shift in foreign policy became evident during the 1990-1991 Gulf crisis as Turkey took an active role in the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq, following the invasion of Kuwait.(2) The new assertiveness was highlighted further in relations with former Soviet republics in the Caucasus and Central Asia, which Turkey was the first to recognize in 1991. This act was followed by intense diplomatic efforts to forge close links.
Several underlying forces contributed to a dramatic shift in Turkish foreign policy in the early 1990s. During the Cold War era of bipolarism and superpower rivalry, Turkey had a critical geostrategic position in the Western alliance and NATO, constituting a formidable barrier against any Soviet expansionism toward the south. The end of the Cold War, however, presented Turkey both with new opportunities and new constraints. Following the USSR’s breakup, Turkey’s geostrategic value to the West was no longer as clear-cut as it had been. Moreover, the rejection of Turkey’s bid to become a full-member of the European Union [EU] was widely interpreted in domestic policy circles and the public as exclusion on explicitly “cultural” (i.e., religious and ethnic) grounds.(3)
A deep sense of isolation and insecurity on the part of the Turkish state was a natural corollary of all these influences and–combined with changing regional conditions–encouraged a more activist role. U.S. support for Turkey’s involvement in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus also played an important part in this change.(4)
Turkey’s embrace of the “Turkic Republics” also embodied an important psychological dimension. A closer bond with people of common historical descent was a means of overcoming Turkey’s traditional fear of isolation and insecurity, feelings compounded by the negative attitude on the part of Europe and the Arab Middle East as well as several ongoing conflicts around the country’s own borders. The sense of isolation is crucial in understanding both the initial euphoria concerning the “Turkic” republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia as well as the subsequent development of close military and economic ties with Israel in the Middle Eastern context.(5) It was also hoped, in the process, that an active leadership role in the regions concerned would help to revitalize Turkey’s strategic value to the West and, thereby, enhance its own economic and security interests.
Significant changes in Turkey’s domestic politics also contributed to the trend, particularly in relation to the former Soviet republics. Traditionally, the foreign policymaking process has been the exclusive domain of a small group of political figures and career bureaucrats. Yet the recent resurgence of Islam and nationalism in Turkish politics broadened the circles of those concerned with foreign policy and trying to influence it.(6) A distinct foreign orientation emphasizing non-European or non-Western dimensions of Turkish identity became the hallmark of the Islamist and ultra-nationalist parties which became more significant in a highly fragmented party system.(7)
Moreover, non-government organizations in Turkey tried to establish influence and develop close cultural and economic ties with the new nations of the Caucasus and Central Asia, becoming an interest group advocating sustained closer relations. These included entrepreneurial businesses as well as NGOs engaged in cultural activities such as creating educational institutions to educate the future elites, with the aim of furthering their close interaction with Turkey. The latter group includes religious foundations such as the “Nurcus” led by moderate Islamists and the Turkish nationalist Fethullah Gulen.(8) Finally, there were incipient ethnic lobbies in Turkey by those who identify themselves as descended from Caucasus immigrants.(9)
CONTEST FOR INFLUENCE IN THE CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
Following the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Caucasus and Central Asia became the focal point of Turkey’s diplomatic efforts, peaking in the early 1990s. Turkey tried to capitalize on the strong cultural and linguistic bonds with the new republics. The increasing interest of the Turkish state in the region was symbolized by the formation of the “Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) and the organization of annual summits involving the presidents of Turkey and the Turkic Republics, the very first of which was held in Ankara in October 1992. Clearly, these efforts represented an attempt to institutionalize the relationship with these new set of states. A “Turkish model” based on the country’s reasonably successful experience of mixed economy, parliamentary democracy and early exposure to market-oriented reforms was projected to the post-Soviet states as a guide for their transition. The likely alternatives seemed to be an Islamist-based Iranian model or a return to Russian domination. Not surprisingly, the Turkish model was promoted by the West and especially the United States.
Looking back over that period, Turkey’s record as an influential power in the region appears rather mixed. On a positive note, significant relations have developed. By the end of the 1990s, 2500 Turkish companies were operating in a wide range of investment projects in the Central Asian republics, with their investment reaching $8.4 billion and involving $4 billion in construction services. Trade volume climbed from a meager $145 million in 1992 to over $5.6 billion in 1999. Moreover, Turkey extended bank credits amounting to $1.5 billion, with official agencies such as the Turkish Eximbank playing an instrumental role. Significant investments undertaken by Turkey in telecommunications played an important role in linking the republics to international markets, a factor of critical importance in their transition process.
Significant efforts have also been directed to the field of education. The Turkish government has developed a large scholarship program which enables around 7000 students per annum to study in Turkish universities. In addition, Turkey is cooperating with the governments of the new republics in setting up vocational schools, providing the resources necessary to finance the manpower and equipment needs of these schools. These factual observations clearly highlight the constructive and cooperative role that a regional power can perform in the post-Cold War context.(10) The “Turkish model” also helped to orient the countries concerned towards Europe. Increasingly, through their economic and cultural encounters with Turkey, these Republics came to realize that they want to part of Europe not the Middle East or Muslim World.
Yet, Turkey’s attempts to play a leadership role in the region also encountered a series of setbacks. The high expectations on both sides subsided by the mid-1990s and have been replaced by a more subdued, pragmatic approach with primary emphasis on relations based on mutual economic benefits.
Several factors have been responsible for the relative decline of Turkey’s regional aspirations and its attractiveness as a model. First, the newly liberated Republics were wary of any type of domination by Turkey as an “elder brother,” preferring a relationship that was both more limited and more equal. The new republics were also suspicious of Turkish attempts to influence their domestic politics, particularly but not solely in Azerbaijan.(11) The strong nationalist or “Pan-Turkic” sentiments prevalent in certain circles in Turkey that talked in exaggerated terms about a Turkish sphere of influence added to suspicion.(12)
Moreover, Russian influence was by no means absent and the local leaders took into account the pressures and dangers emanating from Moscow. Arguably, Russian/Soviet influence on culture and political style has remained preeminent. The perfect symbol for this is that all these countries’ leaders, except the president of Azerbaijan, spoke Russian rather than Turkish at the April 2001 Turkic summit in Istanbul. There are large Russian ethnic populations throughout this area. It has also been easy for these states to use (partly due to Moscow’s pressure) Russian troops to maintain internal stability and to combat domestic ethnic conflicts. Indeed, some of these conflicts are also abetted and encouraged by Moscow.
In any case, Turkey was a middle-income country, lacking the financial capacity to assist countries on a grand scale. Turkey’s own economic difficulties such as high inflation, limited budgetary resources, and a costly war against Kurdish separatism, also cast doubt over the value of the Turkish connection. The new states could deal with the West directly for access to markets, arms, and technology, without using Turkey as a middle-man. The Turkish model’s democratic component, despite its somewhat restrictive nature, proved unattractive to former the republics’ well-entrenched authoritarian political structures which had little interest in fostering more political participation and pluralism. Indeed, all of these states have followed non-democratic models, perhaps based more on the USSR than on Turkey.
External forces also contributed to the relative decline in Turkey’s regional ambitions. Despite the USSR’s collapse, Russia remained of great importance to the succeeding and seceding nations. Inheriting the Soviet-created division of labor, the republics continued to be economically dependent on Moscow and also lived in the shadow of Russia’s military power and cultural influence.
From the Western viewpoint, the “Turkish model” also appeared to lose its earlier appeal following a realization that initial fears concerning Iran’s influence had been exaggerated. Further, following the steady resurgence of Russian power in the region after 1993, and given the importance of the region’s energy resources, the West, and the United States in particular, made a strategic choice to opt for more direct involvement, rather than leaving that job to regional allies such as Turkey.
From a purely economic point of view, the most attractive feature of the Caucasus and the Central Asian republics concerns the significant oil and natural gas resources there. As a country lacking vital energy reserves itself, Turkey hoped to capitalize on energy imports from the region, reducing its overdependence on the Middle East and seeking to become a convenient transit route to Western markets. Turkey carried out an intense diplomatic effort to ensure that a large part of the oil and natural gas be exported through Turkey, mainly by construction of a pipeline to bring Azeri oil to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, a project competing directly with those promoted by Russia and Iran.(13)
In addition to the governments of energy-producing countries, the regional powers and the United States, transnational oil companies themselves constitute a significant pressure group. While official U.S. policy has been in favor of constructing the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline–based on the desire to limit Russian and Iranian regional influence and leverage over energy supplies–the oil companies are reluctant given the relatively high cost of the project unless they receive massive subsidies. There are also concerns for the security of the pipeline in Turkey (given the possibility of Kurdish nationalist sabotage), secessionist-torn Georgia, and given the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Turkish ambitions in this sphere will also hinge on developments in Iran. The United States is unwilling to cooperate with the existing regime in Iran. Yet seeking to encourage or reward political liberalization in Iran, U.S. policy might accept a pipeline through Iran to the Persian Gulf, which is also financially more attractive. Turkey’s best hope is that the region’s energy resources will be attractive enough to justify the construction of multiple pipelines, making the Baku-Ceyhan project a feasible option. Continuing high international energy prices are also required to make development of the region’s resources commercially desirable.
RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA: COOPERATION AND CONFLICT
Turkish-Russian interactions highlight how the relationship between two key regional powers in the post-Cold War context can be characterized by significant cooperation and conflict at the same time. Russia emerged as Turkey’s primary partner in this economic arena during the 1990s and this is not surprising considering the highly complementary nature of their economic situations. Turkey seemed to possess an edge over Russia in terms of entrepreneurship, market-orientation, and making consumer goods, while Russia had a clear advantage in terms of energy supplies, notably in the area of natural gas.
The intense interaction between the two economies was, in part, due to major diplomatic efforts on the part of both countries. A major step in this direction on Turkey’s part involved the inclusion of Russia in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Project (BSCE). BSEC which came into effect in 1992 was a major regional initiative orchestrated by Turkey and including all countries bordering on the Black Sea plus Greece.(14)
The extent of Turkish-Russian economic relations greatly exceeded those established with Azerbaijan and all the Central Asian states. Turkey’s economic relations with Russia reached a peak in 1997. The overall bilateral trade volume, including non-registered trade (the so-called “luggage trade”) by tourists, reached around $10 billion in 1997, making Russia the second largest trading partner for Turkey. Furthermore, Turkish builders did $8.5 billion of business in Russia in 1997. Meanwhile, Turkey’s purchases of natural gas from Russia rose from 6 billion cubic meters to 10.5 billion in 2001, and a projected 13 billion expected for 2001.
Turkish-Russian economic relations received a devastating blow when the Russian economy collapsed in the summer of 1998, resulting in a significant decline of Turkish exports to the Russian markets. Indeed, this event hurt Turkey’s economy more than the 1997 Asian economic crisis. It is widely expected, though, that economic relations will grow in future given the size and complementary nature of the two countries.(15)
In spite of deepening relations on the purely economic plane, however, overall relations between Russia and Turkey in the post-Cold War era have been characterized by considerable friction and conflict. This situation has deep historical roots going back many decades.(16) The actions of both parties contributed to the friction and conflict during the course of the 1990s. During the early post-Cold War period, in the immediate aftermath of the USSR’s collapse, the Russian Federation, mainly concerned with internal problems of reconstruction and reform, showed an orientation toward the West. From 1993 onward, however, Russian foreign policy increasingly focused on regaining supremacy in the “near abroad,” namely the area ruled by the former Soviet republics.(17)
Whilst many analysts concur that the restoration of the old Soviet empire is not the objective of Russian foreign policy, there exists a consensus that there has been a steady resurgence of Russian power and influence, closely related to Moscow’s greater power compared to the other former Soviet republics. A fundamental objective underlying Russian policy toward the “near abroad” is to keep outsiders like Turkey and Iran from interfering in what Russia considers its natural sphere of influence. Turkey, in this respect, is considered to be an even greater threat than Iran, given its more assertive approach toward several former Soviet republics on the basis of common identity and with Western support. Russia’s own economic weakness coupled with the apparent intrusion of external powers into the former Soviet area have contributed to a dramatic rise of nationalist sentiment in Russia’s domestic politics, which, in turn, helped strengthen the hand of “Euroasianists, focusing on the “near abroad” as the essential pillar of Russian foreign policy, against those with an explicitly Western orientation.(18)
From the official Turkish perspective, the resurgence of Russian power and influence has been interpreted as a fundamental threat to its own security interests. It is believed that an emerging security vacuum in the post-Soviet area brings more potential instability than is commonly understood by U.S. or EU leaders.(19)
The underlying frictions between the two countries have been aggravated further by the emergence of the pipeline competition, with each state having its own clear plan for pipeline construction. Russia has vigorously opposed the Baku-Ceyhan project. The competition for influence over transport of energy resources from the region to highly lucrative Western markets is likely to remain a persistent source of conflict as long as all the major regional powers continue to view the issue as a zero-sum game and advocate their own plans and the exclusion of alternatives. Thus, Russia seeks pipelines that travel through its territory, guaranteeing its regional hegemony as well as financial profits from this routing.
Finally, the positions adopted by the regional powers regarding each other’s internal politics have also contributed to rising tensions and instability. Turkey has been a vocal critic of Russian actions in Chechnya, influenced by the influential “Chechen lobby” in Turkey. Russia resents these criticisms. Yet Russia provided support over a long time for the Kurdish separatist movement in Turkey, generating criticism from the Turkish side.(20)
The Caucasus and Central Asia alongside Turkey do have the potential to be a region given some common history and the complementary resources and economies. In comparison to the energy resources of some of the post-Soviet states, Turkey is heavily dependent on imports of energy resources but at the same time possesses a comparative advantage in terms of entrepreneurship and experience of market-oriented development as well as the attraction of a large internal market with a reasonably well-educated labor force. It also offers to manage and intensify the former Soviet republics’ links to Western markets, institutions, and U.S. support.
Given this basic complementary nature of their underlying economic structures, Turkey’s active and assertive approach as a regional actor has resulted in a wave of intense economic interaction with Russia and a certain subset of the former Soviet Republics. Indeed, by the end of the 1990s, the former Soviet Union had emerged as the second most important region in terms of its overall weight in Turkey’s external economic relations, following the European Union which has persistently been Turkey’s principal trading partner. Turkey’s efforts, in turn, have contributed towards the reconstruction of the post-Soviet states, facilitating a smoother transition from communism than otherwise would have been the case.
Nonetheless, Turkey’s attempts to play active role in the region in purely economic terms have been heavily constrained by the inherent limitations of its own economic capacity. The experience with the Black Sea Economic Cooperation scheme constitutes a clear example. The BSEC, as a typical case of a “south-south” regional scheme, could not flourish in the ways that it was originally anticipated for the simple reason that there was no “northern partner” which could provide the capital injection required to build the regional integration scheme. Shortage of capital has also constrained Turkey’s influence with respect to the Caucasus and the Central Asian states. The extremely high expectations generated during the early phase of the post-Cold War era, partly due to lack of information on the part of the newly liberated republics, gave way to a certain sense of disappointment following the realization that the Turkish economy was not able to supply their capital needs. Hence, they increasingly looked to the outside world and tried to organize their relations with the West or Japan directly rather than using Turkey as a bridge in the process.
Another interesting question is whether Turkey’s attempts to play an ambitious role contributed to a greater degree of security or stability in the region. One can certainly identify such instances but Turkey’s identity-based foreign policy was not very helpful in alleviating bilateral conflicts, most notably that of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabagh dispute. Instead, Turkey actively supported Azerbaijan on grounds of common culture and identity. A far-sighted policy would have developed closer links with both countries, possibly also reducing the efforts of Armenia and the Armenian lobby in the West to criticize Turkey. By reducing the conflict, Turkey might also have made it easier to portray itself as the best route for exporting the region’s oil and natural gas, especially if the pipeline could have been routed through Armenia rather than following a roundabout path.
To be fair, Turkish foreign policy has been changing in the directions suggested. And, of course, as a middle power Turkey had a restricted domain of autonomous action compared to bigger powers, especially Russia and the United States. Whilst the scope for independent action is necessarily limited, this does not detract from Turkey’s strategic value to the West, especially in counteracting the growth of Russian power in the region.
1. On the characterization of Turkish foreign policy during the post-Cold War context and the new foreign policy activism, see Yasemin Celik, Contemporary Turkish Foreign Policy (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 1999); Heinz Kramer, A Changing Turkey: The Challenge to Europe and the United States (Washington D.C: The Brookings Institution Press, 2000); and Alan Makovsky and Sabri Sayari, eds., Turkey’s New World. Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy (Washington D.C: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2000). On Turkey as a “middle” or “regional” power, see Meltem Muftuler and Muberra Yuksel, “Turkey: A Middle Power in the New Order” in Andrew F. Cooper, ed., Niche Diplomacy. Middle Powers after the Cold War (NY, St. Martin’s Press, 1997), pp. 184-196.
2. On Turkish policy during the Gulf War and the implications of the Gulf War itself on the subsequent course of Turkish foreign policy during the course of the 1990s, see Sabri Sayari “Turkey and the Middle East in the 1990s,” Journal of Palestine Studies 26, 3 (Spring 1997): 44-55 and Meliha Altunisik, “The Turkish-Israeli Rapprochement in the Post-Cold War Era,” Middle Eastern Studies, 36, 2 (April 200): 179-191.
3. For an elaboration of this point see Ziya Onis, “Turkey, Europe and Paradoxes of Identity: Perspectives on the International Context of Democratization,” Mediterranean Quarterly, 10, 3 (Summer 1999): 109-136 and Meltem Muftuler-Bac, “Through the Looking Glass: Turkey in Europe,” Turkish Studies, 1,1 (Spring 2000): 21-35
4. On the nature of Turkish-American relations during the post-Cold War era and the conflicts which arose between the two allies by Turkey’s attempts to play a regional role, see Kemal Kirisci, “U.S.-Turkish Relations: From Uncertainty to Closer Ties,” Insight Turkey 2, 4 (October-December 2000): 37-64 and “Turkey and the United States: Ambivalent Allies,” Middle East Review of International Affairs, 2,4 (December 1998), Ian O. Lesser, “Beyond ‘Bridge or Barrier’: Turkey’s Evolving Relations with the West” in Alan Makovsky and Sabri Sayari, eds., Turkey’s New World. Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy, 203-221 and Kemal Kirisci and Barry Rubin, eds., Turkey and Its World: Emergence of a Multi-Regional Power (Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2001). So far, conflicts between the two allies have manifested themselves in the context of the Balkans and the Middle East in relation to the handling of the Bosnian crisis and the position of Northern Iraq. Conflicts can also arise, in the future, however, in the context of the Caucasus and Central Asia especially if the oil pipeline scheme proposed by Turkey is not realized.
5. For a documentation of Turkey’s regional role in the Middle East and its vigorous attempts in developing a close alliance with Israel in the aftermath of the Gulf Crisis, see Meliha Altunisik, “Turkish Policy toward Israel,” in Alan Makovsky and Sabri Sayari, eds., Turkey’s New World. Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy, 59-73.
6. On the ideology of “Pan-Turkism”, see Jacob M. Landau, Pan-Turkism from Irredentism to Cooperation (London: Hurst and Company, 1995). For an analysis of the resurgence of “neo-Ottomanism” in Turkey and the influence on foreign policy behavior, notably in the early and mid-1990s, see M. Hakan Yavuz, “Turkish Identity and Foreign Policy in Flux: The Rise of Neo-Ottomanism,” Critique. Journal for Critical Studies of the Middle East, No. 12 (Spring 1998): 19-41. Whilst the Balkans constitute a key point of intersection between the two ideologies, the central difference lies in the fact that the former is oriented primarily toward Caucasus and Central Asia, with the latter displaying a more explicit orientation towards the Arab Middle East.
7. On the impact of the globalization on Turkish democracy during the course of the 1990s and the rise of identity politics as a key factor in the electoral contest, see Ziya Onis, “Neoliberal Globalization and the Democracy Paradox: The Turkish General Elections of 1999,” Journal of International Affairs 54, 1 (Fall, 2000): 283-306. It is important to emphasize in this context that the primary focus of the Islamist parties in Turkey such as the Welfare Party or its successor, the Virtue Party, was the Arab Middle East. Their influence over the more secular regimes of the Muslim states in the post-Soviet space remained quite marginal.
8. On the importance of non-state actors in forging close relations between Turkey and the “Turkic” Republics, see Bulent Aras, “Turkey’s Policy in the Former Soviet South,” Turkish Studies 1,1 (Spring 2000): 36-58. On the intimate link between domestic politics and foreign policy towards the Caucasus and Central Asia, see Gareth Winrow, Turkey and the Caucasus: Domestic Interests and Security Concerns (London: Royal Institute for International Affairs, 2000).
9. On the importance and a detailed documentation of “ethnic lobbies” with close links to the Caucasus and other parts of the former Soviet Union such as Chechnya, see Gareth Winrow, Turkey and the Caucasus: Domestic Interests and Security Concerns.
10. The information provided is drawn from the official web page of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See “Turkey’s Relations with Caucasian Republics” and “Turkey’s Relations with the Central Asian Republics” at
11. For evidence on Turkish attempts to influence the domestic politics of the countries concerned, see Idris Bal, “Uluslararasi Politikada Turk Modelinin Yukselisi ve Dususu,” (The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Model in International Politics), Bilig 14 (Summer 2000). A striking example of such intervention involved the explicit support provided by the Turkish government to the opposition movement in Azerbaijan led by Ebulfeyz Elcibey. The explicit support provided by Turkey was instrumental in strengthening the opposition movement and its subsequent rise to power. This type of action was clearly interpreted as a potential threat to existing regimes in Central Asia.
12. The pervasive nature of these sentiments during the early 1990s are aptly illustrated by the fact that Suleyman Demirel, the Prime Minister of Turkey at the time, made a similar pronouncement in 1992. See Suleyman Demirel, “Newly Emerging Centre,” Turkish Review (Winter 1992). Turkey’s relations with the Caucasus and the Central Asian Republics has generated a large literature. For a small sample, see Mustafa Aydin, “Turkey and Central Asia: Challenges of Change,” Central Asian Survey 15, 2 (1996): 157-177, Oleg M. Smolansky, “Turkish and Iranian Policies in Central Asia,” in Hafeez Malik, ed., Central Asia: Its Strategic Importance and Future Prospects (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), 283-310; Gareth Winrow, “Turkish Policy toward Central Asia and the Transcaucasus,” in Alan Makovsky and Sabri Sayari, eds., Turkey’s New World. Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy, 116-130; and Philip Robins, “Between Sentiment and Self-Interest: Turkey’s Policy Toward Azerbaijan and the Central Asian States,” Middle East Journal 47, 4 (Autumn 1993): 593-610.
13. Pipeline politics in the region has generated a substantial literature. See Gareth Winrow, “Turkey and Caspian Energy: The Importance of Geopolitics,” Insight Turkey, 2,2 (April/June 2000): 63-76 and “The Great Game: Whose Game, How Great?,” Private View Special Issue, 9 (Autumn 2000); Geoffrey Kemp, Energy Superbowl: Strategic Politics and the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Basin (Washington D.C: Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, 1997); Bruce Kuniholm, “The Geopolitics of the Caspian Basin,” The Middle East Journal 54, 4 (Fall 2000): 546-577; and Adrian W. Burke, “Pipeline Politics: U.S. Corporations Lead Foreign Economic Policy,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 24, 1 (Fall 2000): 1-15.
14. For a good discussion of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Project, see Bulent Gultekin and Ayse Mumcu, “Black Sea Economic Co-operation” in Vojtech Mastny and Craig Nation, eds., Turkey Between East and West: Challenges Facing a Rising Regional Power (Boulder CO: Westview Press, 1996), 179-202.
15. Data on Turkish-Russian economic relations are drawn from the official website of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See “Turkish-Russian Relations” at . Also relevant in this context is DEIK/Turk-Rus Is Konseyi, 2000 Yilinda Turkiye-Rusya Iliskileri (Istanbul: Foreign Economic Relations Board – Joint Turkish and Russian Business Council, 2000). On the economic and security dimensions of Turkish-Russian relations in the post-Cold War era, see Gulten Kazgan, “The Political Economy of Relations between Turkey and Russia,” in Libby Rittenberg, ed., The Political Economy of Turkey in the Post-Cold War Era: Going West and Looking East? (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 1998) and Duygu Bozoglu Sezer, “Turkish-Russian Relations: Geopolitical Competition and Economic Partnership,” Turkish Studies 1,1 (Spring 2000): 59-82 respectively.
16. See Norman Stone, “Turkey-Russia: A Comparative Analysis on the Long-term”. Paper presented at the French Anatolian Institute, Istanbul, Turkey (December 2000). Also relevant in this context is Alexei Vassiliev, “Turkey and Iran in Transcaucasia and Central Asia” in Anoushiravan Ehteshami, ed., From the Gulf to Central Asia. Players in the New Great Game (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1994): 129-145.
17. For a detailed documentation of the shift of Russian foreign policy after 1993 and the resurgence of Russian power in the region, see Karen Dawisha, “Russian Foreign Policy in the Near Abroad and Beyond,” Current History (1998): 330-334, Adeed Dawisha and Karen Dawisha, eds., The Making of Foreign Policy in Russia and the New States of Eurasia (Armonk NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1995) and Rajan Menon, Yuri E. Fedorov and Ghita Nodia, eds., Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia: The 21st Century Security Environment (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1999).
18. For a penetrating analysis of developments in Russia’s domestic politics with a focus on the inherent limitations of Russia’s representative democracy and the dominance of the nationalistic discourse, see Stephen White, “Russia, Elections and Democracy,” Government and Opposition 35,3 (Summer 2000): 302-334.
19. For conflicting interpretations involving the resurgence of Russian power in the region and the security threats posed as a result on the part of Turkey and the Western powers, see Ian Lesser, “Beyond ‘Bridge or Barrier’: Turkey’s Evolving Security Relations with the West” in Alan Makovsky and Sabri Sayari, eds., Turkey’s New World: Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy.
20. On Russian support for the Kurds and Turkish support for the Chechens and the conflicts generated as a result, see Gareth Winrow, Turkey and the Caucasus: Domestic Interests and Security Concerns.
Ziya Onis is professor of International Relations, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey. An earlier version of the paper was presented under the title “Turkey and Regional Security in the Middle East and Central Asia” at the Conference on “Economics and Security in the Middle East” organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies and held at Rabat, Morocco, June 27-29, 1999.