The Russian-Turkish partnership: fire and ice

Russian & Turkish flags

The Russian-Turkish partnership: fire and ice

Monday, 24 January 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Dr Dimitar Bechev (Oxford University)
Professor Roy Allison (St Antony's)
Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Monday Seminar

Relations between Russia and Turkey are a curious mix of fierce competition and close cooperation: their ‘cooperative rivalry’ is an open challenge to the EU, given the two powers' embrace of authoritarianism, expansionary ambitions and preference for unilateralism over multilateralism. This Chaillot Paper explores the factors that cement Russian-Turkish ties despite clashing interests and increasingly contentious regional agendas. The two countries are drawn together due to their shared authoritarian models of governance and similar strategic cultures and operational codes. Cooperation between Moscow and Ankara is furthermore rooted in economic interdependence. Albeit suspicious of each other’s intentions, Russia and Turkey view one another as indispensable partners in the geopolitical arena, managing flashpoints in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in the broader Black Sea region. Although coming close to confrontation on several occasions, they have – so far – always managed to step back from the brink and keep conflicts in check. The volume examines the future prospects of the Russo-Turkish rapprochement, while analysing its repercussions for Europe’s strategic interests, and explores how the EU should address the challenges posed by the Russian-Turkish partnership.

Dr. Dimitar Bechev is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, where he focuses on Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. He is also a lecturer at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford. Bechev is the author of Turkey under Erdogan (Yale University Press, 2022), Historical Dictionary of North Macedonia (Rowman, 2019), and Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe (Yale UP, 2017) as well as co-editor of Russia Rising: Putin’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East and North Africa (Bloomsbury, 2021). He has also published numerous academic articles and policy reports. His past positions include lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and senior policy fellow, head of the Sofia office at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Bechev has held fellowships at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna; Harvard’s Center for European Studies; and the European Institute, London School of Economics. He contributes frequently to Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, Politico Europe, and RFE/RL and his quotes have appeared in the FT, the EconomistNew York TimesWall Street Journal, and other major news outlets. 

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