Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PUBLICATION: Turkey, Russia and the Caucasus: Common and Diverging Interests (chathamhouse.org.uk)

Briefing Paper
Gareth Winrow, November 2009

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  • Ankara's rapprochement with Moscow has come under question after the August 2008 Russo-Georgian conflict. Turkish officials had believed that they shared common interests in preserving the territorial integrity of states in the Caucasus.
  • The effectiveness of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party's good-neighbourhood policy is being seriously tested. Turkish policy-makers have called for a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform to be set up.
  • The August 2008 conflict opened up possibilities for Turkey to normalize its relations with Armenia, although this could be at the expense of Ankara's close ties with Baku if progress is not made towards resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
  • Problems with Azerbaijan over gas pricing, re-export and transit issues may make it more difficult for Turkey to reduce its energy dependence on Russia and could endanger the Nabucco project.
  • Turkey is striving to be acknowledged as a major regional power. Turkish officials will therefore not look favourably on any relationship with Russia in which they perceive that they are a junior partner.

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