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  • Russia, Turkey, and Iran: Moving Towards Strategic Synergy in the Middle East?

    This article aims to delve into the patterns of convergence and divergence of interests among three key regional players in the Middle East: the Russian Federation, Turkey and Iran.

    March 2015

    Turkey: ‘Sick Man’ of NATO

    Turkey: ‘Sick Man’ of NATO

    In the West, there is growing realisation that only boots on the ground can defeat or substantially destroy the Daesh. Unless a ground force capable of taking back the territories seized by the Daesh arrives on the scene, the advantage will lie with the jihadis.

    October 17, 2014

    Turkey and its Quest for Leadership Role in the West Asian Region

    Turkey and its Quest for Leadership Role in the West Asian Region

    Turkey is one of the major regional powers in West Asia. Born from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has taken time to consolidate and establish itself as a prosperous modern state. It has overcome military coups and economic crisis in past decades and is now emerging as revitalized country with a host of opportunities for expansion. The countries of the region have often seen it with contempt and suspicion due to the Ottoman legacy as also its Western orientation in earlier part of its short modern history.


    Will Turkey be the new hub for gas?

    Turkey’s natural gas reserves are 218 bcf and its production is roughly 27 bcf. It relies heavily on imports to meet its domestic demand. Additionally, Turkey positions itself as a gas transit hub – importing from Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran and re-exporting some of it to Europe.

    November 06, 2013

    Turkey, Islamic Politics and the ‘Turkish Model’

    In more than three decades, ever since the Islamic-oriented National Order Party was formed in 1969, Turkish politics has been analysed by many in terms of two straitjacketed views: Islamists trying to capture power on the one hand, and on the other hand the secularists or the state elite, with the help of the military, struggling to keep the country’s political orientation towards the West to protect Turkey as a secular state. This image of Turkey has created some confusion among strategic analysts abroad in understanding Turkey and its policies.

    September 2013

    Israel Offers to Reconcile with Turkey: Compulsions and Realities

    The US may have provided the support and platform for the apology, but it was something Israel had to do desperately as it was finding the developing regional situation difficult to handle with every passing day.

    March 25, 2013

    Patriots in Turkey

    The Patriot deployments signify Turkey’s attempt to secure itself and its allies against touted missile threats from the two countries with which it shares borders to the east – Syria and Iran.

    January 24, 2013

    Is Turkey’s Foreign Policy of “Zero Problems with Neighbours” Coming Apart? A Critical Appraisal

    Turkey is realising that a soft power-based foreign policy was successful and gave returns with minimum risks only when the region was stable. With the Middle East going through a political transformation, Turkey will have to invent new strategies to remain relevant and continue its rise a regional power.

    October 31, 2012

    Arab Spring and the Non-Arabs of West Asia

    Iran, Israel and Turkey have adopted a two pronged approach to deal with the Arab Spring: avoid the negative consequences of the uprisings while at the same time deriving mileage to further their interests in an uncertain neighbourhood.

    September 07, 2012

    Rajat Dubey asked: What will be the short and long term effect of Arab turmoil and growing confrontation with Turkey on the strategic position of Israel?

    Rumel Dahiya replies: Although Israel did not have many friends to count upon in the region, it was in a reasonably comfortable situation till 2009 in view of friendly relations with Turkey, stable relations with Egypt and Jordan, and fissures among the Palestinians and a weak Syria to contend with. Even other Arab countries were less hostile towards Israel than before. However, the "street" in the countries neighbouring Israel continued to be by and large hostile towards it. Deterioration of relations with Turkey weakened Israel's position in the region since Turkey was gaining in strength and influence. Israel still felt confident of its security because of its military strength and unstinted support of the US.

    The Arab Spring or Arab Turmoil has disturbed the geo-political balance in the region. Egypt has now come under the sway of the conservative forces. It is expected that the new dispensation in Egypt will be less accommodating of Israel's security and diplomatic concerns despite the fact that it will need external (read US) financial assistance to be able to improve economic condition of the masses. The Egyptian military's salience in decision-making is bound to come down over time and Egypt's policy towards Israel will be dictated more and more by the popular perception at home. However, an armed conflict between the two countries is not expected in short to medium term due to asymmetry of power between the two countries.

    The Iran factor, unless Israel decides to undertake strikes on Iranian nuclear installations, will work to its advantage. Israel may be hoping for fragmentation of Syria on ethnic lines following a civil war, but the outcome may be different and Muslim Brotherhood may assume power upon the fall of the current regime. This will not be a welcome development for Israel. Turkey's ambitions of gaining a leadership role in the region have met with some headwinds in past months and it will remain embroiled in diplomatic stand off with some EU countries and will have to make difficult choices with regard to Syria. It will also be in a difficult situation if Israel decides on striking Iranian nuclear facilities to slow down and disrupt its march towards nuclear weaponisation. Given the asymmetry of military power and the fact that its neighbours will be busy trying to establish internal security, it is felt that in the short-term Israel does not face any military threat or serious diplomatic pressure. However, if the Palestinian factions genuinely unite and once the conservative governments in countries surrounding Israel become stable, there will be serious diplomatic pressures on Israel. It will still be militarily powerful enough to deal with any threat and new gas finds off its coast in Eastern Mediterranean will help its economy, yet its diplomatic isolation is expected to grow. Sub-conventional threats are also likely to grow and hard response will invite universal condemnation. Though Israel can meet the threats that it may face, it is likely to come under growing pressure to resolve the Palestinian problem.