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Turkey: new shades of African and Caucasian policy
Material posted: Publication date: 28-12-2013

In recent times rumors are that in the foreign policy of Ankara there are difficulties. Against this background, there can be a representation about the weakening of geopolitical influence of Turkey. The analysis of the African and the Caucasian policy of Turkey presents a different picture. We have to mention the geopolitical course of Turkey, which should be evaluated on a global scale. And this is a pretty broad topic.

The complexity of the middle East: reality or error?

The controversial geopolitical developments in the middle East has seriously affected the credibility of Turkey in the region. It was initially thought that Ankara has sufficient power and quite reasonably claim to regional leadership. In connection with the Syrian and Egyptian issues, this view has changed somewhat. Some analysts and experts talk about the declining role of Turkey in the region. This happened on the background of the adoption of the rivalry between the U.S. and Russia over the middle East new shades.

And really, there is no such active intervention by Turkey in Syrian Affairs. Egypt significantly limited diplomatic relations with Ankara. Today, the Ambassador of Turkey in Cairo is not functioning. It should be noted that all this happened after Recep Tayyip Erdogan soured relations with Israel. Are being search for a connection between the two processes.

The fact is that tel Aviv has always considered cooperation with Ankara in the context of the Middle East. The possible reaction of official tel-Aviva on the displacement of Israel by Turkey and its claim for regional leadership is known. In addition to this more rigid behavior of Ankara in connection with the Palestinian issue must have its geopolitical implications. The difficulties experienced by Turkey in Syria and Egypt, some experts try to explain the Israeli factor. But facts, fully confirm this conclusion, no.

Another reason for the weakening of geopolitical influence of Turkey in the middle East is seen in the Iranian factor. Tehran responded harshly to the rapid strengthening of Turkey's influence in the region. He opened the mostly sectarian contradictions in the plane. Accusing Ankara in defending Sunnis, Iran for its supports in the region began to increase its influence. As a result, Iranian soldiers and Hezbollah in Syria joined the fight. This has led to the loss of Syrian opposition forces, supported by Turkey, their positions. It is currently unknown which faction dominates in Syria. Turkey got from this 500 thousand Syrian refugees.

Finally, it is wrong to think that the geopolitical influence of Turkey in the middle East has not affected the US and Russia in the region. Both States, of course, want Ankara on some level has lost the opportunity to have an impact. Therefore, one aspect of the us-Iranian rapprochement experts associated with the desire to limit Turkey's ambitions. Russia traditionally takes Ankara as one of its main rivals in the Caucasus and the middle East.

Summarizing the above arguments, it can be noted that Turkey faces serious geopolitical challenges in the middle East. But isn't it a hallmark of the geopolitical passivity of Ankara? Or, perhaps, Turkish diplomacy made some mistakes? It is difficult categorically to answer these questions.

Impact on Africa: do Turks revive the "dead continent"?

Because, first, modern geopolitics is multifaceted, and single state is not able alone to increase their lead. Secondly, Turkey's foreign policy is not confined only to the Middle East. Ankara is pursuing a course on the impact on a global scale. The proof of this is its participation in a number of regional integration organizations. For example, the creation of the organization called MITKA (Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, South Korea, Australia) is not accidental. Represent the organization as an alternative BRIKS. It's no secret and the interest of Ankara to the European Union and the "Shanghai club". However Turkey is pursuing an independent policy in African, Caucasian and Central Asian directions.

Ankara's African policy is systematic, consistent, has a strategic nature. It has wide analyses from think tanks (see, eg.: Soner Karagül, Ibrahim Arslan. Açılım türkiye'nin Afrika Politikası: Tarihsel Arka Plan, Stratejik Ortaklık ve Geleceği / "Uluslararası Hukuk ve Politika", 2013, volume 9, No. 35, pp. 21-55).

It turns out that Ankara back in 1998 was the action plan for Africa. And since 2005, began the stage of active implementation. Turkey significantly stepped up its cooperation with African countries in economic, cultural and humanitarian fields. Currently in the Northern part of the continent is a tense struggle between Turkey and China, France, Russia and the United States. According to estimates, has greater chances of Beijing.

But Turks are more active in the humanitarian field. They had a large Somalia food aid. The same program they implement and in other poor countries of the continent. In recent years, Ankara prefers cooperation with African countries in the field of education. In 2008 at the summit of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa Turkey was announced a strategic partner (see: the previous source, p. 31).

At present, Ankara's wide range of activities in Africa. Continuously growing investments in the economic sphere. Expanding energy ties. In January 2013 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Gabon, Senegal and Nigeria. In Ankara had visited the heads of Nigeria, Chad, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and other African countries. Such visits caused concern among some major powers.

France, China and Russia are jealous of Ankara's activity in Africa. For Paris is set to increase influence in Africa, especially the US, China and Russia (see: Fuad Ferhavi. Ortadoğu ve Fransız Afrika'da Dış Politikası / Uluslararası Stratejik Araştırmalar Kurumu (USAK), Analiz, No. 27, December 2013). But France is hard to fight in three directions. Turkey's activity on the continent caused additional problems. Paris leads in North Africa the armed struggle with Islamic radicalism, the consequences of which are unknown.

The Caucasus: a place of intense struggle

USA, China and Russia are increasing their influence in Africa. They have a negative impact on Ankara's position. Despite this, we can already state that Turkey strengthened its geopolitical position in Africa, and this process will go on an upward trend. This may play an important role the religious factor.

The Caucasus is more complex compared to the Africa region. Clash here the interests of the West, Russia and China. The historical perspective on this region have a big problem with Turkey and Iran. For this reason, Ankara's paying more attention to the South Caucasus looks quite natural. To disseminate information on the expansion of Moscow and Ankara in the last period of cooperation in this direction (see iqor Muradyan. Turkey and Russia in a mutual search / "", December 17, 2013).

Russian experts say that Turkey is preparing for the new complex geopolitical games in the South Caucasus (see: Ankara is preparing for a complex chess game in the Caucasus / "Strategic Culture Foundation" on December 14, 2013).

They emphasize that the goal of Ankara is to establish normal relations with all three countries of the region. They also say that Turkey is going to derail preparations to celebrate the anniversary of "Armenian genocide". Perhaps, in the actions Ankara has a motive to expose the lies about the fictitious genocide. But it would be better to look at the issue more broadly.

Along with Africa, geopolitical course with the global effect Turkey maintains in the Caucasus and Central Asia directions. In this respect no matter how they will make it. The main thing is that Ankara is trying to play the game on a global level. In this sense, the attempts to normalize in the South Caucasus relations with Armenia are quite clear.

But Ankara must take into account the Azerbaijani factor, as long as Armenia does not withdraw its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions, any cooperation with it is impossible. I think that official Ankara is well aware.

Despite a number of difficulties, geopolitical activity of Ankara in the African and Caucasian directions suggests its intention to seek global influence. This plan is not hopeless position of Ankara and the middle East. The struggle is still ahead.



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