Energy-poor Turkey stands to benefit from Moscow’s surprise decision to drop the $45-billion South Stream natural gas pipeline project, analysts say. At the same time, it raises questions about whether Turkey will become a pawn in the broader energy contest between Russia and the EU.
For weeks, idle Turkish tanks have been watching from the hills in southeastern Turkey as Islamic State forces pound the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, just a few hundred meters across the border. That lassitude has prompted many Westerners to voice doubts about Turkey’s commitment to eradicating the Islamic State.
With presidential elections just three months away, Turkey’s May-13 Soma mine disaster, the country’s largest, has proven a huge political embarrassment for the government. Yet despite national protests, Ankara’s response stops short of addressing the larger issue of mine-safety.
The deepening Ukrainian crisis is placing Turkey in a difficult diplomatic position. At stake for officials in Ankara are Turkey's commitments to its Western allies and its cultural kin, Crimean Tatars, against its economic and political relationship with Moscow.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s apparent landslide victory in Turkey’s recent local elections is giving him a boost as he seeks his ultimate political goal – the establishment of a strong presidential system of government, analysts say. But amid allegations of government corruption, abuse of power and election fraud, will social unity be left curbside in the process?
The Russian-Ukrainian crisis over Crimea is forcing Turkey into a delicate balancing act: Ankara feels a need to be seen as a protector of the peninsula’s Tatar minority, yet it does not want to vex Russia’s paramount leader Vladimir Putin in a way that complicates Turkish-Russian economic arrangements.