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How the Rapprochement of Turkey and Russia Affect the Resolution of Regional Crises (Dissertation Sample)


This research sOUGHT to answer the question: How did the rapprochement of Turkey and Russia affect the resolution of regional crises, especially the Syrian Civil War? This dissertation exploreD thIS question through a qualitative analysis of interview transcripts and secondary sources.
Turkish-Russian relations have been characterized by significant flux in recent years. This is due, in part, to the aftermath of the Russian annexation of Crimea and subsequent military conflict in Eastern Ukraine. These events created a tense environment between the two countries that has made it difficult for them to cooperate on a wide variety of issues. However, the development of Turkish-Russian regional cooperation is not solely a product of these bilateral relationships. Rather, it is shaped by a variety of factors including shared history, geography, and economic interests.


Student’s Name
Turkey and Russia have a long history of bilateral relations. However, their relationship has been strained in recent years. After the Turkish military downed a Russian fighter jet in November 2015, relations between the two countries deteriorated significantly. Russia imposed a series of sanctions on Turkey, including a ban on Turkish exports and the closure of Turkish businesses in Russia. However, the two countries have improved their relationship in the past years. In May 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Russia and held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two countries signed several agreements, including an agreement on military cooperation and a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation. This paper will discuss the reasons behind the deterioration in Turkish-Russian relations in 2015 and examine the efforts made by both countries to improve their relationship. The paper will also analyze the various factors that have led to the rapprochement between the two countries, including their shared interests in regional security and cooperation, especially concerning the Syrian War. The study will employ a qualitative approach in examining the factors of turkey and Russia's volatility in bilateral relations from 2015 to 2020. In-depth content analysis was conducted on empirical data from scholarly journals and secondary data collected from government reports and news articles. The findings reveal that three main factors have contributed to the volatility of bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia: the Syrian civil War, the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey, and the Turkish military operation in Syria. However, the study is limited by its reliance on secondary data and its focus on a relatively short period. Future research should focus on addressing these limitations.
Keywords: Turkey, Russia, bilateral relations, regional security, cooperation.
Table of Contents



1.1Background  5

1.1.1Reasons for Rapprochement   5

1.1.2Towards Improved Ties  6

1.2Problem Statement  8

1.2.1The Developing Bilateral Relations:  8

1.3Objectives of the Research  9

1.4Research Question   10


2.1Perspectives of Scholars before 2015   11

2.2Perspectives of Scholars post 2015  15


3.1.1Relevance in the academic world   20

3.23.2. Research Strategy   22

3.2.1Framework for theorizing and conducting the research:   22

3.3Data  25

3.4Methods of Data Collection   25

3.5Method of Analysis   26

3.5.1Reflection on the Methodology  27

3.6Research Ethics   28


4.1The Game Theory  29

4.1.1Rational choice theory  31

4.1.2Win -win theory   32

4.2Models of Political Relationships  34

4.2.1The Cold War period  34

4.2.2Dissolution of the Soviet Union   35

4.2.3Collaboration   36

4.2.4Political Tension  37

4.2.5Rebuilding relationships   38

4.3Significance of Leadership   40


5.1A brief look at Turkey and Russia before 2015   43

5.2Turkey-Russia bilateral relations developed after 2015   49

5.2.1Downing of the Russian Jet  49

5.2.2Political Relations   54

5.2.3Economic Relations  55


Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Turkey and Russia have been allies against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. However, their relationship began to sour after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Russia of supporting Assad, and Moscow responded by suspending military cooperation. Their relationship deteriorated further in early 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane violating Turkish airspace. The fallout from this incident led to a prolonged freeze in bilateral relations. However, since the November 2015 presidential election in Turkey, which saw Erdogan's victory against his opponent, the two countries have been working to repair their relationship. This has been reflected in multiple areas of cooperation, including regional security, trade, and energy. This paper will explore the reasons behind the rapprochement between Turkey and Russia and discuss the potential for further cooperation between them.[Lund, Aron. "From cold war to civil war: 75 years of Russian-Syrian relations." Stockholm: Swedish Institute of International Affairs (2019), 18.] [Yavuz, M. Hakan, and Rasim Koç. "The Turkish coup attempt: the Gülen movement vs. the state." Middle East Policy 23, no. 4 (2016): 136-148, 147.] [Özertem, Hasan Selim. "Turkey and Russia: a fragile friendship." Turkish Policy Quarterly 15, no. 4 (2017): 121-134, 122.] [Kirişçi, Kemal, and Amanda Sloat. "The rise and fall of liberal democracy in Turkey: Implications for the West." Policy Brief, Retrieved 10 (2019), 4.]
Reasons for Rapprochement
Several factors have led to the thaw in Turkish-Russian relations since November 2015. These include shared interests in regional security and cooperation and Erdogan's desire to improve relations with Moscow after years of strained ties. One of the main reasons for Turkish-Russian cooperation in regional security is the Syrian Civil War. Both Turkey and Russia were interested in averting a victory by Assad, whom they saw as a threat to their interests. In addition, both countries were concerned about the ramifications of a potential victory by Assad's regime, including the possibility of sectarian conflict spilling over into their respective countries.[Goff-Taylor, Moira. "Why Turkey Needs Russia." Wilson Center 9, no. 07 (2017), 1.] [Kofman, Michael, and Matthew Rojansky. "What kind of victory for Russia in Syria?." Military Review 24, no. 2 (2018): 6-23,7.]
The freeze in Turkish-Russian relations following the downing of the Russian warplane also played a role in the rapprochement. Erdogan was angry over the incident and blamed Moscow for not doing enough to help Ankara investigate what happened. In addition, Russia's support for Assad in the Syrian Civil War led to a souring of relations between the two countries. However, since November 2015, Ankara and Moscow have made a concerted effort to repair their relationship.[Özertem, Turkey and Russia, 123.] [Alexandrova-Arbatova, Nadia. "POLICY PAPER SERIES." (2018), 17.]
Towards Improved Ties
There are several areas where Turkish-Russian cooperation could potentially progress in the future. These include economic ties, including energy and trade; military cooperation, joint exercises; and human rights. In terms of economic ties, Russia is Turkey's largest trading partner in the European Union (Babacan, 2011). However, bilateral trade has stalled since the downing of the Russian warplane. There are also areas where cooperation between the two countries could be enhanced, such as defense industry collaboration.
Military cooperation could also see an increase in collaboration in the future. The two countries have already begun cooperation on several military projects, such as constructing a joint naval base in Tartus, Syria. In addition, there are plans to co-operate more on missile defense and counterterrorism.
Human rights could also see an increase in cooperation between the two countries. Turkey has been critical of Russia's human rights record, particularly its treatment of journalists and political dissidents. However, Ankara is also keen to improve ties with Moscow, given their interest in defeating Islamic State (IS). There have been several joint initiatives between the two countries to improve human rights, such as the launch of a joint commission on prison reforms.
Nonetheless, there are some areas where cooperation between the two countries could still be problematic. For example, relations between Ankara and Moscow have been strained by Russia's support for Turkey's opponent, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PKK). This has led to deterioration in Turkish-Russian ties since 2015. Additionally, Moscow is also opposed to Turkish plans to build a wall along its border with Syria.[Goff-Taylor, Why Turkey Needs Russia, 2.]
According to Kudryashova (2021), there is potential for cooperation between the two countries to increase in the future, but there are also areas where tensions could persist. This will depend on the respective agendas of both Ankara and Moscow and their willingness to compromise on key issues. However, bo...

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