Turkey, ethnicity, and oil in the Caucasus

Michael B Bishku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, ethnicity became an important factor in Turkish foreign policy. Yet aside from Azerbaijan under Elcibey's presidency, the Turkic states of the former Soviet Union were more interested improving their economies than in strengthening ethnic ties. Afterall, almost everyone of those countries had leaders who were former Communists and while they were at times distrustful of Russia, they did not want to substitute Turkey as the "big brother." Azerbaijan has welcomed Turkey's diplomatic support, based in part on a shared ethnicity, in its confrontation with Armenia, an ally of Russia. However, it has been the manifestation of Armenian nationalism and geopolitical concerns that have been responsible most for the cementing of Turco-Azerbaijani political and economic ties, especially in the field of energy. While respecting Russia's power, but at the same time fearful of its nationalistic interference in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan is keen to enhance its relations with the West, and Turkey plays an important part in this process; Georgia has better relations with Armenia, but it shares with Azerbaijan those other concerns. While Turkey has toned down its ethnic appeal in Azerbaijan (and Central Asia), it has continued to have a good appreciation of the economic benefits of relations with the region and how they factor in to Turkey's ties with the West and Russia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Third World Studies
Volume18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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