Turkey and Russia are two of the most significant powerhouses in Eurasia. The foreign policies of two countries directly impact the regional dynamics in Black Sea, Central Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the Balkan regions. The changes in the bilateral relations between the two countries go well beyond the Black Sea region. In the past, the Russian Empire played a significant role in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey took part in containing the USSR during the Cold War by joining the NATO in 1952. In the twenty-first century, however, Turkey and Russia invested in bilateral trade and established significant partnerships in the strategic defense and energy sectors. In the same period, the competition between Turkey and Russia heightened, giving way to military confrontation in multiple fronts. This book argues that the changing balance of power in the region has triggered adjustments in the foreign policies of Russia and Turkey in the twenty-first century. The decline of the US influence in the region have brought about increased engagement between Turkey and Russia in the form of partnerships and competition for influence.
Muhammet Koçak received his PhD in International Relations from Florida International University.
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About the Author
Much has been written about recent Russian foreign policy – toward the U.S., toward the EU, toward the “Near Abroad.” But much less is available about Russian policy toward and with the countries of the Middle East, including Turkey. Muhammet Koçak has made a superb and comprehensive contribution to that limited literature with his new study. He details how relations between Turkey and Russia gradually evolved and generally improved appreciably over the period 2001-2022, beginning with trade, but expanding to political and security support, such as that to President Assad of Syria against his domestic opponents. A major strength of the analysis is Koçak’s noting events that shaped Important shifts in relations between the two countries in the first two decades of the century -- the U.S. invasion of Iraq, then the civil war in Syria, and finally the failed coup in Turkey itself. Central, as well, is the extensive treatment of the growing importance of the two states in regional and even global politics.
Muhammet Koçak provides a comprehensive empirical overview of Turkish-Russian relations in the first two decades of the twenty-first century, coupled with a novel periodization of bilateral relations into three different intervals punctuated by the United States invasion of Iraq, the Arab Spring, and the failed coup attempt in Turkey. This book is impressive and commendable in its empirical scope and refreshing in its balanced and objective treatment of a critical bilateral relationship of the world order in the twenty-first century.