Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Turkish-Russian Adversarial Collaboration in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh

By Güney Yildiz, German Institute for International and Security Affairs

Russia and Turkey are backing opposing warring parties in three active conflicts. How­ever, this adversarial positioning has not hindered cooperation between Moscow and Ankara. They reign in opposing sides and, in effect, stage-manage their respective theatres of wars. Through multilateral arrangements, Europe is an enabler of Tur­key’s position and could leverage its support to push Ankara to cooperate more effec­tively with its Western partners.

Since 2015 in Syria and later in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, Moscow and Ankara have actively supported opposing warring parties. In each case, as explained below, Russia’s and Turkey’s military actions have strengthened one another and led to domi­nation on their respective sides. We see an emergent pattern that is being established in Syria and turned into a calculated co­operation model that is being implemented in Libya and the South Caucasus.

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