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Andrey Kortunov

Ph.D. in History, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

The ongoing military conflict in Ukraine might produce at least two new opportunities for Turkey’s foreign policy. First, it is likely to distract Russia’s attention from other regional crises where Moscow and Ankara have diverging interests such as in Syria, Libya, and the South Caucasus. The change in Russia’s priorities opens ways for strengthening Turkey’s positions in these crises and for changing the local balances of power.

The ongoing military conflict in Ukraine might produce at least two new opportunities for Turkey’s foreign policy.

First, it is likely to distract Russia’s attention from other regional crises where Moscow and Ankara have diverging interests such as in Syria, Libya, and the South Caucasus. The change in Russia’s priorities opens ways for strengthening Turkey’s positions in these crises and for changing the local balances of power.

Second, in the context of a sharp confrontation between Russia and the West, the latter needs Turkey on its side more than even before. Therefore, the Ukraine conflict strengthens Turkey’s bargaining positions in dealing with the US, with NATO, and arguably even with the EU.

At the same time, it is unlikely that President Erdoğan can play the role of an efficient mediator between Russia and Ukraine. He is not in a position to claim that he is equidistant from Moscow and Kyiv; of note, since 2014, Erdoğan has consistently taken a strong pro-Ukrainian position on all disputes between Russia and Ukraine. Therefore, it is unlikely that President Putin would seriously consider Erdoğan as an honest broker in this conflict.

Source: Centre for Applied Turkey Studies.

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