Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Turkey Navigates the Ukraine War

by Peter Zeihan on March 30, 2023

Despite the threat to Turkey’s national security that a Russian victory in the Ukraine War poses, the Turks are taking a far different approach to international affairs than Japan…and it makes a lot of sense when you take a broad look at Turkey’s geopolitical situation.

Unlike Japan, Turkey doesn’t need to buddy up with the US to ensure a bright future. Turkey has some of the strongest demographics in G20 — thanks to high birth rates and a young population. They are blessed geographically — a land invasion would be futile since they are located on a peninsula and they fall at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia, so trade isn’t an issue.

Turkey’s main concern with the Ukraine War is that if Russia wins, they will likely head after the Bessarabian Gap next and jeopardize the Turkish Straits — a.k.a the heartline of the Turkish economy. This is one of the main reasons Turkey has stuck with NATO, as they are patrolling these areas.

Outside of the protections offered by NATO, Turkey is broadly self-sufficient. Even if they left NATO, they still have a massive army to protect themselves. Thanks to recent industrialization efforts, they are a high-value-add society, they produce much of the necessary foodstuffs to feed their population, and their energy needs can be imported from several different places.

While the Turks don’t want to see the Russians win, they know the value of keeping them around. Until recently, Turkey was profiting off Russia by providing them with a number of materials on the secondary markets and access to the US/EU financial markets. NATO has recently cracked down on this issue, but it shows that Turkey is navigating this situation with one goal in mind: to position itself as a significant world player for years to come.

Turkey Navigates the Ukraine War || Peter Zeihan

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