Regional Power Rivalries in the New Eurasia: Russia, Turkey, and Iran

By Alvin Z. Rubinstein; Oles M. Smolansky | Go to book overview

1
The Russian Federation and Turkey

George S. Harris

Geography has predisposed Russia and Turkey to a history of conflict. Thus, although both underwent revolutions in the first quarter of the twentieth century, wiping the slate clean to become allies of convenience, their cooperation was never free of suspicion. Without a strong anchor of mutual interest once both regimes had gained general international acceptance, they reverted to hostility during the Second World War. By the start of the Cold War, Stalin's designs on Turkish independence had brought Ankara and Moscow close to armed conflict. The patterns formed at this time continued to hamper relations long after the threat of actual hostilities had waned.

Despite this reserve, Stalin's demise paved the way for gradual warming between Turkey and the USSR, visible principally in the economic field. By the mid-1960s, the Turks began to receive occasional Soviet project aid and eventually became one of the largest recipients. Then, by the 1980s, Ankara started extending hard-currency credit to its northern neighbor as a way to facilitate trade.

In this way, by the Gorbachev era, a number of earlier irritants had been softened or eliminated. Though the Turks were concerned to the end not to antagonize what they saw as the colossus to the north, Ankara--especially in the post-Brezhnev period--began to reach out to some of the Turkic peoples who had been cut off from Turkish influence since the consolidation of the Soviet state.

Under Yeltsin, Turkish ties with the Russian Federation grew more complex than in the last days of Gorbachev. Opportunities for investment and

-3-

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Regional Power Rivalries in the New Eurasia: Russia, Turkey, and Iran
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • About the Editors And Contributors vii
  • Preface ix
  • Note xii
  • Part I- Old Rivals, New Relationships 1
  • 1: The Russian Federation and Turkey 3
  • 2: Moscow and Tehran The Wary Accommodation 26
  • Part II- Cis and Iran 63
  • 3: Ukraine and Iran 65
  • 4: Azerbaijan and Iran 93
  • 5: Iran and Tajikistan 112
  • Part III- The Turkish Factor 145
  • 6: Iran and Turkey Confrontation Across An Ideological Divide 147
  • 7: Turkey and Central Asia Reality Comes Calling 169
  • Part IV A Russian "Monroe Doctrine" In the Making? 199
  • 8: Russia and Transcaucasia The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh 201
  • 9: Russia and Tajikistan 231
  • 10: The Asian Interior The Geopolitical Pull on Russia 252
  • Conclusion 271
  • Index 279
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