Deepening Russia-Turkey Ties

Turkey Brief is an intelligence summary (INTSUM) produced by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). This ISW INTSUM series sheds light on key trends and developments related to the Turkish government’s objectives and its efforts to secure them.

Reporting Period: January 23 - March 18, 2019

Authors: Elizabeth Teoman with Monica Ma, Matti Suomenaro, Darina Regio, and Michael Land

Key Takeaway: Turkey is deepening its strategic cooperation with Russia as the U.S. draws down its forces in Syria. Turkey is strengthening its naval coordination with Russia in the Black Sea and negotiating to expand bilateral economic ties. In Syria, Turkey and Russia agreed to create a joint coordination center to conduct joint military patrols along frontlines in Northern Syria on March 14. They are also working together to begin trade from Turkey into regime-held parts of Aleppo Province. Turkey’s deepening cooperation with Russia undermines the cohesion of NATO and jeopardizes the prospects for a deal between the U.S. and Turkey to stabilize Eastern Syria.

Turkey is expanding its strategic cooperation with Russia. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly chosen to fortify his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the expense of Turkey’s alliance with NATO. Erdogan has taken a number of major steps toward a strategic realignment with Russia in 2019.

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