Small Wars Journal

Russian-Turkish Strategic Cooperation in the New Security Environment

Fri, 01/12/2024 - 10:20am

Russian-Turkish Strategic Cooperation in the New Security Environment

By Dr. Cüneyt Gürer,[1] and Elena Walczak[2]




As the Russia-Ukraine War wages on, Turkey’s balancing position between Russia and Ukraine becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. Following the May 2023 presidential elections in Turkey, which secured his third term as president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan initiated significant political maneuvers which had the potential to unsettle the delicate equilibrium he had established among Turkey, Russia, and the West and at the same time were seen as a hopeful sign of Turkey aligning more closely with the Western alliance.[3] During Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s visit to Turkey in July 2023, Erdogan made a surprise move and let five former Azov commanders return to Ukraine facing the risk of Russian criticism of violating the prisoner exchange agreement signed last year.[4] During the same visit in a press conference, Erdogan reaffirmed his support for Ukraine and stated that “Ukraine deserves to be a NATO member”[5] which was consistent with his earlier statements about Ukraine and in line with his other more recent moves bringing him closer to Turkey’s traditional Western allies. Turkey’s sudden willingness to admit Sweden into NATO, despite his hesitancy just prior to the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius for its own EU membership, also hints towards a strengthened Western alliance. These actions of getting closer to the traditional allies mean that Turkey has to re-calculate its relations with Russia and some decisions will not be that easy. Turkey’s relationship with Russia has been stronger in recent years, and the balancing act that Erdogan has created between Russia and the West is increasing in fragility[6], and it also has a potential to disrupt the current political climate in Russia’s strategic south.[7] This article aims to look at the relationship Erdogan has built with Putin and analysis Turkey’s interest as a regional actor attempting to pursue its own interests, occasionally with a desire to serve as a bridge between Russia and the West.


Historic Relationship in Russia’s Strategic South


Russia’s strategic south can be defined as the Black Sea, Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa regions. Of these regions, the Black Sea plays a key role in Russia’s strategic south, making Turkey a central actor in Russia’s regional policy.[8] Despite Erdogan’s contemporary “special relationship” with Putin, Russia and Turkey have had a centuries-long rivalry in the region, dating back to the Russo-Ottoman Wars (also referred to as the Russo-Turkish wars) which were composed of twelve conflicts between 1568 and 1918. After the sixth war from 1768-1774, the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca granted Russia direct access to the Black Sea via the Sea of Azov.  Since then, Russia’s interest to remain and extend its power in the region has grown over the centuries, and the Black Sea has become the most important region for Russia to present itself not only as a regional, but also as a global power. Soviet Russia’s aim to control the Turkish straits during the Cold War created “Stalin’s Turkish Crisis” as framed by Jamil Hasanli.[9] The Soviet’s insistence on establishing joint military control of both the Bosphorus and Dardanelle passages pushed Turkey closer to the Western alliance, eventually resulting in Turkey’s NATO membership in 1952. Following Stalin’s death in 1953, the Soviet Union dropped its claims on the Turkish straits and the two countries normalized their relationship, which Martin Russell has referred to as a “fine line between competition and cooperation.”[10] After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkey’s interest and activism in Central Asia increased at the bilateral level and after 2009, through the Organization of Turkic States (OTS). Turkey’s involvement in the region could potentially challenge Russia’s interest manifested through the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Graeme Herd argues that “if in the 1990s pan-Turkic sentiment in the region was buttressed by business cultural and educational links and networks (in these ideational terms Turkey represents a threat that China does not), in the 2020s Turkish political and military engagement (arms sales in general and effective demonstrative support for Azerbaijan) challenges Russia’s monopoly of these agendas.”[11]


Turkey in Russia’s Strategic South


While Russia has expressed a growing interest in the strategic south, Turkey has also re-defined its own policies and become an active actor in the Black Sea, South Caucasus, Middle East, North Africa, and—to some extent—central Asia by picking up on Ottoman legacies and considering these regions as potential areas to use both soft and hard power. Russia’s growing interest in its strategic south, in addition to Turkey’s shifting foreign policies, re-ignited a new wave of Russian/Turkish rivalry in the 21st century. In all areas defined as Russia’s “Strategic South,” Turkey and Russia are on opposing sides of the conflict dynamics. However, to maintain a good relationship, both countries managed their red lines to focus on cooperative issues, rather than controversial ones.


In the Middle East, Turkey and Russia had a rocky relationship, particularly when Russia initially intervened in the Syrian conflict, but the leaders of both countries eventually managed to overcome their disputes and establish a cooperation mechanism (while still staying on opposite sides of other regional challenges). Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the war in the Caucasus between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as conflicts in Syria and Libya, created opportunities for Russia to become increasingly influential in all three of these regions.


Between 2011 and 2016, Turkey-Russia relations were shaped around their opposite approaches to the Syrian conflict and their differing positions against the Assad regime. Russia has supported the Assad regime throughout the conflict and provided military assistance since at least 2012, when the crises turned out to be more complicated than initially expected. When the Assad region was on the brink of collapse, Russia’s military intervention changed the balance in favor of Assad, thus increasing tensions between Turkey and Russia as the countries were supporting opposing sides in the conflict. When Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 on November 24, 2015, after repeated violation of Turkish airspace, the rivalry between the two countries reached its peak. According to a Financial Times report, NATO officials considered Russian actions against Turkey in Syria as “an attempt to try and push NATO’s ability to stand behind all its members.”[12]


During these unfriendly times, President Erdogan considered Russia as a threat not only to stability in Syria, but to the Black Sea as well, claiming that the Black Sea has “nearly become a Russian lake.”[13]  Nevertheless, both countries realized that being on opposing sides of the Syrian conflict (and, later, in other theatres such as Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh) would not be beneficial for either of their interests.   In 2016, Turkey and Russia “unexpectedly started a process of rapprochement and accommodation.”[14]  Turkey officially apologized for shooting down the Russian jet in June 2016, and a failed coup attempt against Erdogan in Turkey brought the two countries even closer.[15]


The coup proved beneficial to both countries; Erdogan framed the failed coup attempt as a "gift from God”[16] to consolidate power and Putin utilized the opportunity to further establish a personal relationship with his Turkish counterpart. Erdogan retracted his previous statements on Russia by naming Putin as a “valuable friend.”[17] The attempted coup in Turkey proved to be vital in securing the current Russia-Turkey relationship, as Turkey’s policies were already leaning away from the West, and Western countries were reluctant to show support to Erdogan after the failed coup.[18] The two new allies established cooperation mechanisms beyond Syria, and Turkey began to express interest in Joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which has been considered by Jan Gaspers as “’Ankara's rapprochement with Russia.”[19] Jeffrey Mankoff indicated that Russia was one of the few beneficiaries of the failed coup-- not only normalizing the broken relations, a process started in June 2016, but also extending the relationship which later deepened the dependency of Turkey to Russia more than ever.[20]


Change in Turkey’s Policy Orientation and Russia


Turkey views itself as a powerful regional actor connected to different parts of the regional security structure, with ambitions related to legacies from the Ottoman Empire. Turkey’s foreign policy in Syria shifted from soft-power, like convincing Assad to introduce reforms at the initial stages of the conflict, to hard-power, overthrowing Assad by supporting opposition (including armed) groups, demonstrating a new era of highly militarized foreign policy. Turkish policy changed to reflect the idea that the global balance of power was shifting, the existing multilateral institutions were weakening, and new power blocks were emerging.[21] These trends gave Turkey’s leadership the confidence to act more autonomously in international relations and, at the same time, the motivation to look for alternative/flexible alliances, including Russia, to reduce dependency to the West.

However, introducing policies that reduced dependencies on the West without institutional, economic, and strategic long-term preparations created significant vulnerabilities for Turkey against Russia. As Turkey increased its assertive policies in the region, their relationship with the West continued to fracture. Russia not only used Turkey’s departure from Western alliance as an opportunity to extend their own influence, but also amplified it whenever possible. Under the influence of new, assertive policies and belief in the idea of “Turkish exceptionalism,”  Erdogan was too quick and too harsh when blaming the West for being slow to show support for him and voicing his suspicions that the West was behind the coup attempt.[22] Erdogan positioned himself and Turkey to “be part of the European Union while still embracing an anti-western discourse, and that it should be able to obtain American military assistance while carrying the flag of resistance against the United States.”[23]


Dimitar Bechev and Suat Kiniklioglu claim that Erdogan and Putin have many similarities in their understanding of world affairs.[24] For Erdogan in particular, ties with global players, such as Russia and China, are essential to upholding Turkish national interests.[25] Both leaders show similarities in their domestic power consolidation and their approach to the international system led by Western institutions. Like Putin, Erdogan increased his domestic ratings by using assertive foreign policies, blaming the West for anything going wrong in the country, and using religion and nationalism as a point of reference to detach their people from the realities of domestic issues and their challenges in the world politics. These similarities have brought the two leaders closer and paved the way to learn from each other in shaping their regional influence.


Complex Interdependency and Balancing During the War in Ukraine


Russia prefers that Turkey strays away from Western policy while simultaneously remaining in Western institutions as a member. Both Putin and Erdogan have been extremely careful to keep the balance they created in 2016. As Daria Isachenko perfectly puts it, “the potential for confrontation or cooperation between Ankara and Moscow in regional conflicts depends on current priorities rather than past rivalries.”[26] Asli Fatma Kelkitli uses Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye’s Complex Interdependence Theory, which suggests that countries connect to each other with complex relations based on sensitivity and vulnerability interdependence.[27] Sensitivity interdependence refers to the potential impact of the change in one country to impact another one, and vulnerability interdependence refers to the cost of the potential breakdown of relations between two countries. Kelkitli argues that Turkey - Russia relations have increasingly become both sensitive and vulnerable interdependent. Nevertheless, Turkey’s engagement with Russia after 2016 created significant advantages for Russia and increased Russian influence in Turkey. Steven Erlanger takes this concept of “complex interdependency” and redefines it as a “complicated relations with mutual benefits,” referring to Turkey’s need for Russian money, gas, business, and long-time planned military operations in Syria before the 2023 elections, and the Russian need to evade Western sanctions.[28]


Russia prefers to limit its confrontations with Turkey in the context of war in Ukraine for several reasons. Although Turkey condemned the Russian attack, called for Russia to end the war,[29] and stated that Crimea should be returned to Ukraine,[30] Turkey’s balance has proven to be more beneficial to Russia than Ukraine. Turkey remains an important trading partner for Russia, particularly as the majority of EU and NATO countries are turning away from Russian imports. Turkey choosing to not join sanctions against Russia and allowing Russian oligarchs to invest in Turkey has created a breathing space for Russia during the war. Further, maintaining good relations with Turkey and supporting Erdogan’s presidency has allowed Russia to fulfill its long-term objective of consolidating influence in the Middle East and Central Asia.


Turkey’s desire to become an energy hub in the region has also helped Russia to establish deep relations with the country, as Russia was permitted to channel its gas to Turkey after the Baltic Sea pipeline from Russia to Germany exploded.[31] At a meeting in 2022, Putin expressed support for Turkey’s vision of becoming an energy hub.[32] This could be achieved with a potential diversion of natural gas from the damaged Nord Stream pipeline to Russia and Turkey’s shared Turk Stream pipeline beneath the Black Sea, carrying gas not only to Turkey, but to other Eastern European countries.[33]


Putin’s support of Turkey may demonstrate another attempt to use gas as a geo-political weapon, particularly since Nord Stream 1 and 2 are no longer operational. This situation also makes Turkey more dependent on Russia in the future. Yevgeniya Gaber, in a 2022 analysis, argues that although Turkey’s desire to become an energy hub is geopolitically driven and at the same time economically and technically feasible, Russian gas cannot be a key part of the plan.[34] She rightfully argues that the core elements of any energy hub must meet several conditions: “diversification of existing routes and suppliers, independence in decision making through an independent institution, market demand and supply that determine prices, and political will of potential partners to get involved in the projects” and, for Turkey, “the Russian proposal ticks none of these boxes.”[35] Under current conditions, it is obvious that without careful planning, Putin’s idea will not only give Russia an exit strategy to evade sanctions but will also increase Turkey’s dependency to Russia. Erdogan’s increasing dependency on Russia was apparent during the 2023 election cycle, in which Russia agreed to delay Turkey’s $600 million gas payments until 2024 which will create additional pressure on Turkey’s economy.[36] The controversial reliance on imports for gas was part of Erdogan’s opposition’s platform, and the energy debt payment postponement was viewed as political, both in Erdogan’s re-election and in Russia’s willingness to be a crutch for Turkey.


Turkey as a Mediator in the Russian War in Ukraine


Turkey’s willingness to play a mediator role between Russia and Ukraine goes back to November 2021 when Erdogan suggested the idea before his planned visit to Ukraine in February 2022.[37] This offer was welcomed by Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, but Putin did not accept. However, Putin did not refuse the offer outright in order to maintain good relations with Turkey.  In a move to maintain ties with both Ukraine and Russia, Turkey stressed the importance of both countries and, prior to Russia’s Ukrainian invasion, offered a Ukraine-Russia conference for the two countries to address their issues.  When Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022, President Erdogan expressed his “sadness of the Russian attack”, called the attack as an “heavy blow” to regional peace, and supported Ukrainian territorial integrity and continued his offer of mediating negotiations to stop the war.[38] Turkey also defined the Russian attack as a “war” on February 27, 2022, which allowed Turkey to enforce the 1936 Montreux Convention to prohibit all warships of the belligerent forces passing Turkish straits.[39] Turkey later attempted to find a balanced position during in the war through the Black Sea grain deal, signed in July 2022, which lifted the Russian blockage of Ukrainian grain to global markets. Three months after this operation, following Putin’s declaration that he was no longer in favor of the Black Sea grain deal, Turkey brokered the extension of the deal by delivering a written assurance from Ukraine confirming that shipping corridors would not be used for military purposes.[40]


From 2019-2022, Turkey sold Bayraktar drones to Ukraine. These drones played a key role in halting Russian advances during the earlier phases of the war. However, Turkish Bayraktar drones later disappeared from the battlefield and they are “out of action” because of the deal between Putin and Erdogan on gas deliveries to Turkey.[41] Although Turkey considered the Russian invasion “unacceptable” and constantly sought for a mediation role to end the war, it did not attend Russia’s suspension from the Council of Europe decision, nor did they implement sanctions on Russia. Later, Turkey even accused the West being provocative towards the war and underestimating Russian power.[42] Turkey’s decision to not join sanctions against Russia may be due to their close trade and energy ties, and as a way of minimizing potential spillover effects to Turkey’s national security and economy.[43] These early signs of a balanced approach to Russia and Ukraine during the war also included Turkey’s invitation of Russian oligarchs to Turkey for investment. On March 26, 2022, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that “Russian oligarchs are welcome to come to Turkey as both tourists and investors, as long as any business deals are within the realms of international law.”[44] Five Turkish banks adopted Russia’s Mir payment system in August 2022 to ease the transfer of Russian money to Turkey.  However, after a warning from the U.S., these banks withdrew from using the Mir payment system to avoid U.S. sanctions.[45]


Turkey’s Balancing Act between Russia and the West


In a recent analysis, Marc Pierini argues that Turkey’s balancing act and desire to be an active mediator in the Russian war in Ukraine makes managing Turkey’s foreign policy more difficult.[46] Despite Turkey’s successful engagements and constructive role in various issues, such as the Black Sea grain deal and mediation in the initial stages of the war, the region is still in conflict. Turkey is actively trying to appease both Zelenskyy and Putin, demonstrating their precarious position between Russia and the West. On July 8, 2023, Erdogan met with Zelenskyy, and affirmed his previous stance that Ukraine was deserving of NATO membership.[47] Erdogan had also hoped to broker a renewal of the Black Sea grain deal, which expired on July 17, 2023, but was let down by Putin. As mentioned earlier, Turkey’s decision during Zelenskyy’s last visit to release five Ukrainian soldiers, despite being Russian prisoners of war, was a point of contention with Russia.[48] Because of Turkey’s position as a safe haven for Russia against Western sanctions, Erdogan can push some of the boundaries of relations between the two countries.


Erdogan’s willingness to push Russian boundaries is demonstrated by recent events that transpired at the 2023 NATO Summit. Turkey’s lack of support for Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids was a historical issue that seemed to put Turkey against its Western allies, thereby benefitting Putin. Erdogan was utilizing his relationship with Putin to garner support for the 2023 election, seen by the gas negotiations, and other regional ties. Turkey’s Ukraine-Russia dilemma is highly connected to the domestic politics of the country and Turkey’s increasing level of dependency on Russia on many issues.[49] Further, Turkey’s cooperation with Russia in the short term seems to be beneficial, however those areas in which Turkey and Russia cooperate cost Turkey more than they receive.[50] This may be why Erdogan has started to assert more Western-aligned policies after the 2023 election, including his approval for Sweden’s NATO bid, which was something he was leveraging Turkey EU membership against for a long time. In 2022 NATO, Turkey, Finland, and Sweden signed the Trilateral Memorandum, which pinpointed the fight against terrorism (PKK activism in Sweden in particular was a problem for Turkey) as a point of cooperation for the three countries.[51] Despite this progress, Erdogan waited until after his election to officially approve Sweden’s NATO bid. The build-up of Turkey’s military, including F16 fighter jets from the United States, may be the reason for Erdogan’s reversal of his long-held opinion, but shows his willingness to cooperate with the West. Erdogan’s “friend to all” stance will continue in NATO and throughout the Russia-Ukraine war.


In 2022, Rosatom, a Russian company, fulfilled an agreement between Turkey and Russia to build a power plant by building a $20 billion nuclear power plant in Akkuyu.[52]  Experts have warned that the project is a potential national security risk, particularly after an amendment signed in 2019 gave the company the right to construct ports and terminals for maritime transport, storage, loading, and offloading.[53] Most of the board members of the company are Russian and only one member, who was not present for the meeting and eventually resigned, was Turkish.[54] Further, the board signed a contract with a Russian security company to set up an air radar to protect the plant without consultation from Turkish authorities.[55] The plant is only 200 kilometers from the Incirlik Air Base, which is critical for NATO operations, making it a strategic location.[56] While Russia is violating Turkish interests and the initial contract, Turkey’s dependency on Russia for energy makes it difficult to resist. According to Gaber, “there are reasonable fears that this strategic facility—which is constructed and owned by the Russian state enterprise, will be run by Russian operators in a NATO-member country, and is located close to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base and the Russian military build-up in Tartus, Syria—may become the next bargaining chip in Moscow’s nuclear blackmail.”[57] The money sent for the power plant was interpreted as a gesture of goodwill from Putin.




Turkey’s role in Russia’s strategic south has a complicated history, where Erdogan has made an unlikely friendship with both Putin and the West. When Turkey shot the Russian jet in 2015, it was described by Putin as a “stab in the back” and was combatted with the implementation of economic sanctions to Turkey. These sanctions reminded Turkey that they are economically dependent on Russia and must remain on good terms. Russia remains Turkey’s most important trading and economic partner. This was prominent in the recent 2023 election, where delayed gas payments were used as a tool for Erdogan’s re-election. Russia has also remained Turkey’s main energy supplier, despite Turkey’s diversification efforts in the past decade; 45% of Turkish gas was imported from Russia in 2021 and 40% was imported in 2022.[58] However, Turkish exports to Russia are also increasing, showing that Russia is also becoming increasingly dependent on Turkish imports, despite their recent pro-Western leanings.[59]

Russia is also becoming progressively dependent on Turkey as a regional partner. Sanctions from other countries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have left limited travel options for Russians. Turkey has become a hub for Russian tourists,[60] as well as a destination for Russians escaping conscription,[61] and oligarchs escaping Western sanctions. In 2022, Russians had more resident permits in Turkey than any other country, and Turkish national media reported almost a 200% increase in Russian investment in Turkish housing during the first 9 months of the war.[62] While Turkey has begun to combat this influx of Russian immigration by denying increasingly more residency permits, Turkey remains a safe financial haven.[63]


Russia’s attack and ongoing war in Ukraine has crippled Russia’s regional power and global credibility, so keeping Turkey as a key regional partner is in its best interests. The “secretive talks” between Putin and Erdogan in Sochi in August 2022 and a year later in September 2023, focusing on circumventing Western sanctions, show Erdogan’s increasing importance in Russia’s strategic south.[64] Putin’s support for Erdogan in the last election demonstrated that Putin aims to both keep the countries close and increase Turkish dependency on Russia so that the regional power balance is not completely disrupted. Putin’s desire to remain in close partnership with Turkey when competing for regional dominance seems to be a rational and strategic move.


Turkish foreign policy in recent years has become extremely personalized around President Erdogan, which may be unsustainable for Turkey’s political future, as it has already significantly reduced the role of foreign policy making institutions in the country. The personal connection between Erdogan and Putin and the lack of structured foreign policy in Turkey has blurred the lines between national interest and political interest and creates confusion among other Turkish political leaders. These conditions may also create an environment for Russian malign influence in the country.


Despite Turkey’s recent NATO decisions, Russia has continued to become increasingly influential in the country. Western media outlets have begun to lose their licenses while Russian media grows in Turkey. According to RAND estimates, Russian media has the capacity to influence public opinion on key issues of international relations in Turkey, and that influence is likely to continue growing.[65] Turkey must also watch Russian actions in the Akkuyu project, as the power plant poses a risk to Turkey’s national security, and the lack of judicial and institutional mechanisms to balance political ambitions could cause significant damages to the future of the country. Turkey is a valuable partner for Russia-- especially in these exceptionally volatile times. As a NATO country willing to work on several key issues, Russia will not risk Turkey’s long-term partnership and more likely to be responsive to Turkey’s demands. While Erdogan continues to find a balancing point between Russia and the West, Turkish decision makers should constantly remind themselves that if Russia gives one to Turkey, it always gets ten back. Following the 2023 NATO Summit, Turkey’s role in Russia’s strategic south may not be as beneficial to Putin as it has been in recent years, so Erdogan-- and the West-- must observe the balancing act closely.  


This article reflects the views of the authors and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.




[1] Professor of Transnational Security Studies, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Disclaimer: This article reflects the views of the authors and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.

[2] Master of Global Affairs Candidate at the University of Toronto

[3]Wilson, Grady. “With re-election behind him, Erdogan is turning toward the West.” Atlantic Council, July 14, 2023. Online: accessed November 24, 2023,  

[4] Faggionato, Giovanna. “Zelenskyy brings home Azov fighters from Turkey, angering Moscow.” POLITICO, July 9, 2023. Online: accessed November 24, 2023,

[5]Humayun, Hira, Radina Gigova, Mariya Knight, Tara John, and Gul Tuysuz. “Turkey’s Erdogan says Ukraine deserves NATO membership.” CNN, July 7, 2023. Online: accessed November 24, 2023,,during%20a%20joint%20press%20conference.  

[6] Özkan, Özgür. “Turkey faces competing pressures from Russia and the West to end its ‘middleman strategy’ and pick a side on the war in Ukraine.” The Conversation, October 26, 2023. Online: accessed November 24, 2023,

[7] Graeme P. Herd. “SCSS Workshop II: Session 6." George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. September, 2022.

[8] Gürer, Cüneyt, and Jelle Freriks. “Deep Dive in the Black Sea: Turkey’s Role and Potential in the Region.” George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, May 2022.

[9] Hasanli, Jamil. Stalin and the Turkish Crisis of the Cold War, 1945-1953. Lexington Books, 2013.

[10] European Parliament “Russia-Turkey Relations: A Fine Line Between Competition and Cooperation. 02 February 2021.

[11] Graeme Herd. “"SCSS Workshop II.” George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, September 2022.

[12] Financial Times correspondents. “Tensions between Russia and Turkey reach new peak.” Financial Times. February, 2016.

[13] Joshua Kucera. “Erdogan, In Plea to NATO, Says Black Sea Has Become ‘Russian Lake.’” Eurasianet. May, 2016.

[14] Jason Hamilton, Rosemarie Wilde, and Jason Wimberly. “A Friend to All Is a Friend to None: Analysis of Russian Strategy in the Middle East.” PRISM 9, no. 2 (2021): 98–111.

[15] Daily Sabah. “Putin calls Erdogan, expresses condolences for the victims of coup attempt.” Daily Sabah. July, 2016.

[16] Georgi Gotev. ”Erdogan says coup was ’gift from God’ to reshape country, punish enemies.” Euractiv. July, 2016.

[17] Aykan Erdemir and Boris Zilberman. “The Turkey Russia Reset.” Politico. August, 2016.

[18] Clingendael Institute. ”In Search of New Anchors. The aftermath of Russia’s invasion.” June, 2023.

[19] Jan Gaspers. ”"Turkey’s SCO Ambitions Challenge EU and the United States.” The German Marshall Fund U.S.

[20] Jeffrey Mankoff. ”A Friend in Need? Russia and Turkey after the Coup.” Center for Strategic and International Studies. July, 2016.

[21] Nienke van Heukelingen and Bob Deen. ”Beyond Turkey’s ’zero problems’ Policy." Clingendael. January, 2022.

[22] Mustafa Gurbuz. "Erdogan Bets on ’'Turkish Exceptionalism.’” Arab Center Washington DC. August, 2022

[23] Ibid.

[24] Dimitar Bechev and Suat Kiniklioglu. “Turkey and Russia: No Birds of the Same Feather." SWP Berlin. May, 2020.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Daria Isachenko. ”"Turkey and Russia. The Logic of Conflictual Cooperation.” SWP Berlin. October, 2021.

[27] Asli Fatma Kelkitli. ”Turkish Russian Relations: Competition and Cooperation in Eurasia.”" Routledge Press, 2019.

[28] Steven Erlanger. ”"Erdogan and Putin: Complicated Relations With Mutual Benefits.” New York Times. August, 2022.

[29] Brian Michael Jenkins. “Consequences of the War in Ukraine: Two Areas of Contention—Turkey and the Balkans.” RAND Corporation. March, 2023.

[30] Wilhelmine Preussen. “Erdogan to Putin: Return Crimea to rightful owners.” Politico. September, 2022.

[31] al Jazeera. ”"Erdogan says Turkey and Russia to study Putin’s gas hub proposal.” October, 2022.

[32] Suzan Fraser and Dasha Litvinova. ”Putin tempts Turkey, suggests making it Europe’s new gas hub.” AP. October, 2022.

[33] Scott Ritter. ”Russia, Turkey Double Down on Turk Stream.” Energy Intelligence. October, 2022.

[34] Yevgenia Gaber. ”Turkey can become an energy hub- but not by going all-in on Russian gas.” Atlantic Council. December, 2022.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Al-Monitor. "Turkey says Russia agreed to delay gas payment ahead of elections.” May, 2023.

[37] ”Erdogan says Turkey ready to mediate between Ukraine and Russia- NTV.” Reuters. November, 2021.

[38] Tuvan Gumrukcu. ”Erdogan ’saddened’ by Russian Invasion, Ukraine urges Turkey to shut straits.“ Reuters. February, 2022.

[39] Reuters. ”Turkey, overseeing passage to Black Sea, calls Russian invasion ’war.’” February, 2022.

[40] Sophie Tanno. “A crucial deal aimed at averting a global food crisis has been extended. Here’s everything you need to know.” CNN. May, 2023.

[41] Ashish Dangwal. ”"Bayyraktar TB2 Drones ’Out of Action’ From Ukraine War; Russia’s Air Defense or Diplomacy Behind Their Disappearance?” The EurAsian Times. December, 2022.

[42] al-Jazeera. ”’Provocations’: Erdogan decries Western Policy towards Russia.” September, 2022.

[43] Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas. ”Turkey: Major Issues, May 2023, Election Results, and U.S. Relations.“ Congressional Research Service. June, 2023.

[44] Matt Clinch. ”Russian oligarchs are welcome in Turkey, foreign minister says.” CNBC. March, 2022.

[45] Can Sezer. ”Turkey’s state banks suspend use of Russian Mir payment system- finance minister.” Reuters. September, 2022.

[46] Marc Pierini. “Turkey’s Geopolitical Role. Between National Ambitions, Western Anchors, and Russian Sway.” European Institute of the Mediterranean. 2023.

[47] “Ukraine ’deserves’ NATO membership, Turkey’s Erdogan says.” al-Jazeera. July, 2023.

[48] Giovanna Faggionato. ”Zelenskyy brings home Azov fighters from Turkey, angering Moscow.” Politico. July, 2023.

[49] Yevgenia Gaber. ” Turkey can become an energy hub- but not by going all-in on Russian gas.” Atlantic Council. December, 2022.

[50] Ibid.

[51] ”Trilateral Memorandum.” NATO. 2022.

[52] Firat Kozok. ”Russia Is Wiring Dollars to Turkey for $20 billion Nuclear Power Plant.” Bloomberg. July, 2022.

[53] Fatih Yurtserver. ”Is the Akkuyu nuclear power plant a national security issue for Turkey?“ Turkish Minute. October, 2022.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Turkish Minute. ”Is the Akuyyu nuclear power plant a national security issue for Turkey?” Turkish Minute. October, 2022.

[56] Jim Garamone. ”Incirlik Provides Important NATO Capability.” U.S. Department of Defense. December, 2014.

[57] Firat Kozok. ”Russia is Wiring Dollars to Turkey for $20 Billion Nuclear Plant.” Bloomberg. July, 2022.

[58] Mirela Petkova. ”Russia’s war in Ukraine inspires Turkish gas dreams.” Energy Monitor. March, 2023.

[59] Levent Kenez. ”Turkey’s exports to Russia continue to rise amid declining trade with other countries.” Nordic Monitor. July, 2023.

[60] Russian Travel Digest. ”The results of the tourist flow from Russia to Turkey in 2022.” October, 2023.

[61] Fatma Tanis. ”Thousands of Russians continue to arrive in Turkey, fleeing conscription.” NPR. October, 2022.

[62] ”The Volume of Housing Purchases by Russians Increased by 200%.” Turk.Estate. October, 2022.

[63] Melda Dogan. ”Russians in Turkey increasingly rejected on residency permits.” al-Monitor. February, 2023.

[64] Roman Goncharenko. ”Erdogan takes ’great care not to cross Putin.’” DW. August, 2022.

[65] Katherine Costello. “Russia’s Use of Media and Information Operations in Turkey.” RAND.

About the Author(s)

Elena Walzack is a Master of Global Affairs Candidate at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She received her undergraduate degree from Fordham University with a double major in Political Science and Humanitarian Studies and a double minor in French and Peace and Justice Studies. Emphasis on the intersection of policy and human rights. Recently she worked as a Research Intern at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. She contributed number projects and training programs and conducted research on security policies in Europe with a particular emphasis on Turkish foreign policy.

Dr. Cüneyt Gürer is Professor of Transnational Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. His research interests and areas of expertise comprise transnational security issues, regional security dynamics, democratic backsliding and security governance, and nonstate actors in contemporary conflicts. He is the author and co-editor of a recent book titled “Proxy Wars from a Global Perspective: Non-State Actors and Armed Conflicts.” He lectures on the interaction of Turkey’s domestic politics with its regional security policy process and from a scholarly perspective he focuses on the regime change structures and State and non-State interaction in this process putting security at the center of the analysis. He has obtained his doctorate from the Department of Political Science, Kent State University.