Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In the Middle of a Difficult Situation

I have been remiss to write much about Turkey's role in the Georgian conflict, but will now take the time to post some links to some recent analyses. In the weeks before I left Turkey, the Georgian crisis loomed large in the minds of many Turks with whom I talked. Sadly, many young people my age feared Turkey being dragged into a war as a proxy of United States' ambitions to counter Russian aggression.

From the German Marshall Fund:

After Georgia: Turkey's Looming Foreign Policy Dilemmas
Written by Ian Lesser
August 26, 2008
By all indications, the crisis in Georgia is unlikely to end anytime soon. Even if Russian forces withdraw to negotiated positions, there is every prospect for a sustained Russian political and security presence in the country. Under these conditions, Ankara will once again face Russian power directly on its borders. In the near-term, Turkey will face difficult policy choices in reconciling the country's Russian and Western interests. Even more difficult dilemmas are on the horizon as a more competitive relationship with Russia looms, and NATO is compelled to rethink its own strategy and posture. How should Turkey's foeign policy be shaped?

Crisis in the South Caucasus: Turkey's Big Moment
Written by Amerin Zaman
August 25, 2008
As the only NATO member to border the Caucasus. Turkey control the Bosporus and Dardanelles, through which Russia and other Black Sea countries conduct most of their trade. The conflict between Georgia and Russia offers Turkey a unique opportunity to bolster its regional clout, to check Russian and Iranian influence, and to help secure the flow of Western-bound oil and natural gas from former Soviet Central Asia and Azerbaijan. Will Turkey's leaders rise to the occasion?

Click here for a link to both.

Click here for "Turkey's Delicate Balancing Act in the Black Sea," by Saban Kardaş, Eurasia Daily Monitor (Aug. 27)

Click here for news analysis from LALE SARIIBRAHIMOĞLU at Today's Zaman (Aug. 22)

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