Analysis: Turkey’s Policy on the Russian-Ukrainian Crisis
This analysis provides a review of Turkey’s relations with Ukraine and discusses foreign policy options available to Turkey in case of invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russia.
Amid a military standoff with Russia, on Feb. 3, Kyiv hosted the 10th High-Level Strategic Council between Turkey and Ukraine. The heads of state, Tayyip Erdogan and Volodymyr Zelensky marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties by signing a series of trade and defense agreements. The long-awaited free trade agreement between Turkey and Ukraine was also signed on this occasion. Given the current tensions along the Ukrainian border and Turkish ties with both Russia and Ukraine, Turkey’s policy on Ukraine is ever more critical for regional peace and stability. Turkey has close relationships with both Ukraine and Russia so it seeks to avoid a new episode of war between them. As a NATO member, heightened tensions in the region pushes Turkey to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis even if it may be forced to make difficult choices in case of a military conflict. This analysis provides a review of Turkey’s relations with Ukraine and discusses foreign policy options available to Turkey in case of invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russia.
RUSSIAN EFFORTS TO BRING GEORGIA AND UKRAINE INTO ITS FOLD
Threatened by the possibility of similar movements inside Russia, the color revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine provided Russian President Vladimir Putin with pretexts to launch his revisionist foreign policy for the post-Soviet region. Although Russia’s “near abroad” foreign policy had already been announced in the 1990s, Russia did not adopt this policy until the 2000s, as it had to focus on maintaining its territorial integrity with Tatarstan and Chechnya demanding sovereignty. “Near abroad” policy meant Russia’s rejection of national independence movements in the former Soviet space. The Russian Federation was fearful of a potential domino effect that could influence its own Chechens, Tatars, Bashkirs, and a myriad of indigenous peoples, whose Soviet-given ethnic rights were rolled back in the post-Soviet period.