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Turkey's Rapprochement with Russia: Assertive Bandwagoning


Despite Russia’s increasing clout and assertiveness in its region, Turkey has chosen to improve its relations with Russia, rather than balance against it through its Western allies. Turkey’s unexpected strategic partnership with Russia is best seen as an example of bandwagoning for profit. It is an assertive bandwagoning with the objective of countering Kurdish separatism, an imminent problem in the Turkish ruling elite’s ranking of threat perceptions. The empowerment of Syrian Kurdish groups under the protection of the United States has moved Turkey closer to Russia. A long-term alliance between the two, however, depends on reconciliation of their differences which are deeply rooted in historical and geo-political factors.
Keywords: Turkey, Russia, the United States, Syria, Kurds, assertive bandwagoning