Relations with Russia in The Context of Turkey’s Policy in Constructing its ‘Strategic Autonomy’ - Orhan GAFARLI and Julia ROKNIFARD


Orhan GAFARLI* and Julia ROKNIFARD**

In the past two decades, the Turkish government has been seeking strategic autonomy in international relations by trying different foreign policy styles. Throughout that time, Turkey strongly prioritized its own interests in relations with other regional and global powers, and pursued a multilateral and balanced policy, seeing it as a window for more opportunities to maneuver in foreign policy. Part of Turkey’s approach to strategic autonomy relied on hedging, even if it resulted in the emergence of asymmetric relations with others. For example, Turkey developed not always economically and politically symmetric relations with Russia that had strong implications for the Middle East, South Caucasus, Black Sea region and Central Asia. On 24 February 2022, after Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, Turkey did not join in with Western sanctions against Russia, and instead attempted to mediate between Kyiv and Moscow. This decision was not spontaneous, as it was premised on years of building and strengthening bilateral ties with Russia, despite some devastating incidents between the two. This article is an inquiry into the search for strategic autonomy in Turkey’s foreign policy with a focus on its relations with Russia

Keywords: AKP, Erdoğan, Eurasianusm, hedging, role theory, strategic culture, Turkish foreign policy

* Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Ankara University, Ankara
** Assistant Professor, School of Politics, History and International Relations, University of Nottingham Malaysia, Semenyih