Ankara’s economic stakes go well beyond energy security. urkish ﬁrms are signiﬁcant providers o goods and services to Russia, notably in pharmaceuticals and construction, and there has been considerable cross investment in real estate. At a time o deepening concern over the stability and growth o the urkish economy, urkish businesses, including banks, are highly exposed to the consequences o economic sanctions against Moscow and economic insta-bility in Russia and Ukraine. As a matter o general preer-ence, urkey has been unenthusiastic about sanctions as an instrument o policy, whether toward Iraq in the 1990s or toward Iran. Indeed, urkey itsel has been the object o periodic U.S. and European sanctions, principally over the Cyprus dispute. In the toughening Western debate over economic as well as political sanctions on Moscow, Ankara is unlikely to be in the vanguard.Geopolitical competition between Russia and urkey was an integral element in the European security equation or hundreds o years, and variations on the “Eastern question” played a considerable role in European aﬀairs rom the 18
century through World War I. But in contemporary terms, and even during the Cold War, relations have enjoyed a wary stability. In the post-Cold War period, Ankara and Moscow have largely avoided serious rictions, despite occasional diﬀerences (e.g., the sale o Russian arms to Cyprus, and Russian suspicions o urkish involvement with separatists in Chechnya). By most accounts, Prime Minister Recep ayyip Erdoğan and President Vladimir Putin have had a very cordial relationship. Indeed, critics o urkey’s prime minister ofen accuse him o adopting Putin’s authoritarian style. Tat said, major diﬀerences over Russia’s support or the Assad regime in Syria have cast a chill over the relationship. But or the degree o economic interdependence between the two countries, Syria would almost certainly be a much more prominent irritant in urkish-Russian relations. In a more undamental sense, relations between urkey and Russia have beneﬁted rom some common characteristics. Te Soviet and Kemalist traditions, in particular, shared a high degree o sovereignty consciousness, a declared attach-ment to non-intererence in the aﬀairs o neighbors, a sensi-tivity regarding borders, and an essentially conservative approach to oreign policymaking. Both countries could be described as status quo powers in the Kissingerian sense o the term. Over the last decade, both Ankara and Moscow have moved quite ar rom this traditionally cautious, risk averse posture — dramatically so in the case o Russian behavior in Georgia, and now in Crimea and Ukraine. From a Russian perspective, urkish activism in the Middle East and Eurasia must also seem a departure rom past practice, especially on Syria. For urkey, the Ukraine crisis raises the troubling prospect o Russia as a rogue state, rather than a predictable i sometimes diﬃcult geo-economic partner. I urkey and Russia are, at base, long-term strategic competi-tors, this competition has very diﬀerent implications when caution is no longer the order o the day in oreign policy.
Domestic Politics and the Tatar Issue
Under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) govern-ment, and with progressive changes in civil-military rela-tions, public opinion has become a signiﬁcant actor in urkish oreign policy. It is now an essential part o the equation in policy toward Syria, Northern Iraq, and o course, Armenia and Cyprus. For some time, urkey has had vocal lobbies engaged in debates over Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and the deense o ethnic urks abroad — rom urkmen in Northern Iraq to Uyghurs in western China. Te orce o populism, nationalism, and religious identity on the contemporary urkish scene gives this urkic actor a strong resonance in public and elite opinion. Te outlook or the Crimean atar community has already emerged as one o the drivers o urkish interest in the Ukraine crisis. I the community comes under urther pressure rom the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea, the Erdoğan govern-
But for the degree of economic interdependence between the two countries, Syria would almost certainly be a much more prominent irritant in Turkish-Russian relations.