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  • Author: Özden Zeynep Oktav
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Socrates' pupil Chaerephon once asked an oracle “who is the wisest of all men?” The oracle responded that Socrates is the wisest of all because of his self-awareness. According to philosophers from Socrates to Montaigne, Spinoza, Kant, true wisdom and full knowledge may be a utopian fantasy. In a world of uncertainty where mistakes are unavoidable facts of daily life for citizens and politicians alike, how politicians will be able to avoid foreign policy mistakes is the main concern of this book. There are some other questions of crucial importance which the book deals with: What are foreign policy mistakes and how and why do they occur? The answers to those questions are available in this book and it concentrates on the concept of power. Regarding the concept of power, the main question is “kto-kovo?” (Lenin's famous question, “who controls whom?”) The answers to the question “what are foreign policy mistakes?” and conceptualizing foreign policy mistakes are quite blurry and complicated. There may be lots of different kinds of mistakes, such as violating moral rules, lack of cognitive judgment, and policies costing too much and having unanticipated and undesirable results. The mistakes can be classified as omission (too little/too late) and commission (too much/too soon). For example, mistakes of omission are evident in the British policies towards Germany which failed to deter Germany's occupation of Sudetenland in 1938 and to reassure the Russians that they would negotiate an alliance against Germany. This failure of the British decision makers led to a non-aggression pact between Stalin and Hitler in 1939. The Katyn Forest massacre exemplifies best how Soviet Russia misperceived the gains in cooperating with Germany in the removal of Poland from the map of Europe because according to the authors, the Soviet decision to execute Polish POWs and bury them in the Katyn Forest is a foreign policy decision that falls into three domain; morality, intelligence and policy. It was a violation of international law, based on a diagnostic judgement blinded by ignorance of the future and by communist ideology, which led to a prescription for a policy action that alienated future allies.This, at the same time illustrates the mistake of commission (too much/too soon) and moral failure. Foreign policy choices are not only concerned with rational choices, but, as Axelrod and Jarwis clearly defined it, they also stem from some sources of mistakes such as subjective cognitive maps, heuristics, attribution errors, desires to maintain cognitive consistency and avoid cognitive dissonance, selective attention, and other emotional or cold cognitive biases. Khong explains why human beings are “creatures with limited cognitive capacities” by emphasizing that leaders, like every human, tend to turn to historical analogies for guidance when confronted with novel foreign policy challenges. However the issue is that the result is often a foreign policy mistake since this only helps the leaders “access analogies on the basis of surface similarities”.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, United States, Europe, Poland, Soviet Union, Germany
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The wave of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa has not only affected Russia's interests but also opens some new opportunities for strengthening Russian influence. Nevertheless, the prevalent attitude in Moscow towards these dissimilar but inter-connected crises is negative, which is caused primarily by the nature of its own corrupt quasi- democratic regime haunted by the specter of revolution. The stalled NATO intervention in Libya has re- focused the attention of the Russian leadership on the issue of sovereignty, which determines the decision to disallow any UN sanctions against Syria. Russia's position has evolved in synch with the course taken by China, and Moscow is interested in strengthening this counter- revolutionary proto-alliance by building up ties with conservative Arab regimes, including Saudi Arabia, and also by upgrading its strategic partnership with Turkey. Harvesting unexpected dividends from the turmoil in the Arab world,Russia cannot ignore the risks of a sudden explosion of a revolutionary energy – and neither can it effectively hedge against such a risk.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East, Arabia, Moscow, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Jakub Wodka
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In this timely book Alexander Murinson explores the forces behind the entente between Turkey, Israel, and Azerbaijan. He juxtaposes these three countries, which he characterizes as “garrison-, like-minded, 'Westernistic', secular, constitutionally nationalist and lonely states.” (p.143) Those features depict the identity construct of the three states, which on the face of it, may seem to have conflicting interests in the turbulent Eurasian region spanning the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and the Balkans. Each of the three states is a sui generis actor on the global stage – post-imperial, western-oriented Turkey with global ambitions ruled by a post-Islamist party, a Jewish state encircled by Arab neighbors, and an oil-rich post-soviet republic with an autocratic regime. Thus, the author seeks to understand how the common identities of the three countries on the one hand led to the formation of this peculiar alliance, and on the other hand what factors could and in fact do undermine the Turkish-IsraeliAzeri security relationship. Departing from the more classic, neo-realist approach to international relations, where the homogenous states – the so-called billiard balls are the sole actors on the world stage, the author draws from the constructivist importance of identity as the driving force of states' behavior and their foreign policy. He looks deep into the tissue of the three states and the regional and global context to decipher the emerging patterns and trends in Ankara's relations with Israel and Azerbaijan. As “all the three states have special relations with the world hegemon,” (p.147) it is warranted to say that the United States is the “fourth leg” of this triangular axis. Washington plays a key role in regional affairs and is interested in forging cooperation between countries potentially capable of counterbalancing the regional alignment between Russia, Iran, and Syria.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Mert Bilgin
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper hypothesizes that analyzing the geo-economic and energy security characteristics of gas supplies to Europe may help in understanding the features of regional and international relations with regard to selected countries. The paper highlights the significance of natural gas in the New Energy Order, and points to the importance of supply security for the EU. It looks at Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Algeria as suppliers and Turkey as a transit country in an emerging gas corridor to Europe. It examines supply-side opportunities, which promote new fields of international cooperation based on gas trade, and addresses certain restraints that may reduce the likelihood of further regional cooperation. Economic and geographic factors create new opportunities for regional trade and international relations. This geoeconomic aspect, however, takes place with international security issues varying from case to case.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Libya, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Egypt
  • Author: Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, Eleni Fotiou
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since 2000, Turkey's Europeanisation process has affected the country's foreign policy both as a structural and a conjunctural factor. As a structural factor, the EU has had a good deal of influence on Turkey's political and security culture by introducing elements of “soft power” and by expanding the number of Turkey's foreign policymaking agents, particularly in the realm of “pipeline diplomacy.” As a conjunctural factor, the EU has affected Turkey's foreign policy rhetoric by introducing new negotiating chips, and thus complicating the “bargaining” process. However, in order for Turkey's energy diplomacy to achieve its goals, Turkey's strategy towards the Middle East and the Caucasus must become coherent and its approach towards the EU, the US, and Russia, balanced. Most importantly, the question of whether Turkey perceives “pipeline diplomacy” as a means to achieve energy independence, thus enhancing its security, or as leverage to increase its power, thus leading to its recognition as a regional hegemon, remains open.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Volkan Ş. Ediger, Itır Bağdadi
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims to outline the history of Turkey's relations with Russia in the energy sector. The energy relationship between these two competing states dates back to the early 19th century when the Ottoman Empire fulfilled its coal and oil demands with Russian supplies. The history of Ottoman-Russia and later Turkey-Russia energy relations is an important aspect of the aforementioned states' histories that needs to be unearthed and examined to better understand the complex relationship these states currently share. For instance, the complications that surround the recent natural gas pipeline projects such as Nabucco, South Stream, and Blue Stream II, reminiscent of previous projects in the region, can be better understood if one analyzes the semi-successful Baghdad railway project of the early 20th century. This article aims to analyze and highlight the complex relationship of yesterday in Turkey- Russia energy relations in an effort to shed light on the complexities of that same relationship today. The story will sound amazingly similar albeit with different actors.
  • Topic: History
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Baghdad
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Following the 2008 Georgia war, Russia reasserted itself as the main power in the Caucasus. The war shattered the old status quo and Moscow sought to make good use of the shifting geopolitical landscape to enhance its strategic footprint in the region. Russia's policy in the Caucasus has been an example of a subtle balancing act: it appeared to have encouraged Turkish-Armenian reconciliation while at the same time skillfully exploiting the suspicions that this process aroused in Azerbaijan and seeking to put an additional pressure on Georgia. Now, as Turkish-Armenian normalization seems to have hit a snag, Moscow can safely distance itself from what increasingly looks like a failure. After all, having deftly played all its “partners” off against each other, Russia appears to have secured its objective: both Armenia and Azerbaijan tend to lean more on Russia, while Turkey's relations with the two Caucasus countries has deteriorated. Moreover, Ankara's ties with Washington became frayed, too, which, from Moscow's perspective, isn't bad either.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Washington, Caucasus, Moscow, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Norman Stone
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008, 348 pp., ISBN 978-0-691-12573-2.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Kim Beng Phar
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Soft power is based on attraction and the ability to persuade others to further one's goals. The key sources of soft power are said to derive from one's culture, democratic political system, and fair-minded foreign policy. Yet it is often left unsaid that soft power is a Weberian archetype. All the three of the above sources are ideal types; they may not necessarily exist in complete forms, because one's culture, political system and foreign policy are all subject to flaws, weaknesses and gaps. In order for Turkey to project its soft power in turbulent neighborhoods like the Middle East and Central Asia, and indeed as a matter of strategic policy in general, it is vital to have a strong conceptual clarity first. Only then can soft power be applied by going beyond attraction and persuasion purely. Home grown reforms that are strong, ethical, and sustainable, for example, can be sources of appeal and attraction to the Middle East and Central Asia too, given that both regions long to see good governance and exemplary leadership.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Enika Abazi
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article discusses Kosovo's independence from a framework of political and legal perspectives and assesses regional and global responses to the declaration of independence. Kosovo's independence, it is argued, has revealed shifting strategic landscapes, security concerns and domestic developments in regional and international politics with significant implications for all actors in the region. Russia, for instance, calculated to restore its lost 'superpower' status and control Serbia's strategic oil industries while Turkey's prompt recognition of independence has increased its impact in the region. Kosovo's independence will be a test case for keeping peace and stability in the Balkans within the new dynamics of regional and international politics. The way to escape from regional and international rivalries in Kosovo and its environs is to enhance the forces of cooperation in this volatile region and avoid zero sum games among regional and international actors.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Oktay F. Tanrısever
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections in Russia in terms of their significance and implications for Russian politics. The article argues that the success of the United Russia party in the State Duma elections created the most conducive conditions for Vladimir Putin's handling of the presidential succession problem in 2008. By keeping the State Duma under the control of his 'Party of Power,' Vladimir Putin became able to nominate his close ally Dmitry Medvedev to the Presidency since the election results enabled him to use the State Duma to counterbalance the overwhelming presidential power which will be transferred to Dmitry Medvedev in 2008. The article begins by examining the significance and the actual organization of the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections in Russia. On the basis of the analysis of the election results, the article goes on to discuss the implications of the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections for Russian politics.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Alexandros Petersen
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, should be expected to broadly continue his predecessor Vladimir Putin's foreign policy toward Turkey and the broader Black Sea region. Analysts who cast Medvedev as a mere Putin puppet, or those who anticipate a gradual increase in power for the new man in the Kremlin miss the crucial question about decision-making in Russia: how much influence will the siloviki – current and former security service officers – wield to implement policies based largely on mistrust and calculation? Russia's policies in the Black Sea region are unlikely to change much in substance, although Medvedev may adopt a more subtle, effective style in seeing them through. Their exclusionary nature - a product of the silovik worldview - should be expected to continue. Therefore, despite recent significant improvements in Turkey's relations with Russia, over time Turkey may find itself in an uncomfortable middle ground between its Western allies and its new-found friends in Moscow.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The closure case against the ruling AK Party pending before the constitutional court occupied the center stage of Turkish politics throughout the summer. After months of speculation on the fate of the party, the court finally reached a verdict in late July, deciding not to close down the AK Party, and averting what had otherwise promised to be an unprecedented level of political uncertainty, social and economic turmoil, and potential chaos. With the closure case now behind it, the AK Party is expected to be more restrained, and to act responsibly – as it did during the proceedings of the case – while building up its democratic and secular credentials through a reform policy in keeping with the EU accession process. For some time, the ruling AK Party had been under pressure for neglecting, if not abandoning, the EU membership process. In response to critics the government may refocus its energy on the issues that have stalled Turkey's accession.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Georgia
  • Author: Saltanat Berdikeeva
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Georgia's military gamble in South Ossetia in August 2008 opened a Pandora's Box of misfortunes. Tbilisi is now faced with the loss of its breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, meanwhile creating a potential opportunity for Russia to assume a much-coveted control over the energy transit routes passing through Georgia. While the conflict has further spoiled the relations between the West and Russia, setting in motion stiffer competition between the two to secure the energy sources of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, the pragmatic calculations of the players involved in the Eurasian energy game may eventually change the tone of the game. With unresolved issues surrounding doubts over the sufficiency of energy supplies and the availability of means to deliver them from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe, Russia's preeminent position as a supplier of energy to the West will be maintained.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Bobo Lo
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: President Vladimir Putin's visit to China in March 2006 was in many respects a spectacular success. The Russian delegation was the largest and most diverse in post-Soviet times. The number of agreements, 29, represented a record in the history of the relationship. And the atmosphere was the most positive of any of Putin's overseas trips. Surveying the landscape of the relationship, there seems nothing not to like. The 4,300 km common border has finally been demarcated in its entirety; Moscow and Beijing agree on practically every regional and international issue of consequence – Chechnya, Taiwan, Iraq, Iran. Official trade has multiplied nearly six-fold during Putin's presidency; and the first ever Sino-Russian joint military exercises took place in August 2005.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, Taiwan, Beijing, Soviet Union, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Ukraine's Orange Revolution, its leaders contend, was primarily pro-European, not anti-Russian. But most commentators both in the West and in Russia look at the 2004 dramatic events in Kyiv differently: they tend to characterize them as a clear manifestation of Ukraine's strategic, if not civilizational, choice. Within this paradigm, opting for a "European path" would mean undermining what the Kremlin perceives as its vital national interests.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Angela Stent
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Russia has found an innovative way to ring in the New Year with its European partners: threatening to cut off energy supplies. At the beginning of 2006, it was gas exports through Ukraine; in January 2007, it was oil supplies through Belarus. Although President Lukashenko backed down and oil again flowed to Europe, the actions of pipeline monopoly Transneft –and President Putin's failure to inform Germany about the impending cutoff– presented German Chancellor Angela Merkel with an unwelcome start to Germany's EU presidency.
  • Topic: Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Joshua W. Walker
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey stands at the threshold of all major trends within its neighborhood and is actively seeking to harness the assets that its geography and historical experiences afford it. As a staunch ally of the United States which has traditionally privileged its "strategic partnership," Turkey's global role has shifted from being a Western geo-strategic military deterrent to an exemplary model of a Muslim-majority, secular, and democratic nation. This article offers an introduction to Turkey's new foreign policy doctrine known as "strategic depth" and then seeks to examine its implications for Turkey's emerging role in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia. In the following sections, this article will outline how Turkey is beginning to realize its full potential as a versatile multiregional and increasingly powerful international actor.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: İbrahim S. Arınç
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The EU depends highly on Russian gas and this dependency is expected to increase in the following decades. Conversely, natural gas export revenues significantly contribute to the Russian budget, making it dependent on gas sales to Europe. The relationship between the EU and Russia is therefore one of interdependence. Turkey's impact on this relationship has the potential to benefit all parties, as its strong ties with both the EU and Russia give it a unique position in the region. For the EU, Turkey could contribute to the diversification of supply, and secure transit pipelines connecting Middle Eastern and Caspian reserves to the EU. For Russia, Turkey could provide an export outlet for Russian gas to the Mediterranean and an alternative transit route to Europe.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Orhan Yılmaz
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's geographical location on the trade routes, adjacent to energy resources, and its emergence as an energy transit corridor, have made Turkey an attractive center for the investment of international capital. Turkey contains 72% of the world's boron reserves, which are concentrated in eight countries in the world; the USA and Russia have the next largest deposits. Boron, with its various applications and diverse product range, is an essential raw material in most industries. 85% of it is consumed in glass, fiberglass, insulating glass, detergent, ceramics and agriculture, with a total consumption of 3,500,000 metric tons (1,800,000 ton B2O3) per annum around the world. Turkey, with the Eti Maden, a wholly state-owned company, has become the leader in the boron business not only in terms of its reserves but also in production, sales and profitability since 2005. The primary target now is to make Turkey, the leader of world boron business, and an emerging terminal where energy lines intersect, a production base in the sectors identified in growth strategies.
  • Topic: Agriculture
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey