Turkey and Russia: A New Alignment?

Nov 14, 2018 | 10:00 GMT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 17, 2018, in Sochi, Russia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Syrian civil war on Sept. 17 in Sochi, Russia. Turkey has moved closer to Russia while its relationship with the United States has suffered. But a Turkish realignment toward Moscow is not likely given their differing priorities and visions.


Turkey's relationship with Russia is historically fraught with suspicion and friction. Since the end of the Cold War, however, the two countries have established an important economic relationship, and have set a bold, perhaps unreachable target of $100 billion in bilateral trade. Even so, this economic aspiration is counterbalanced by differing prerogatives in the strategic and geopolitical realm. Turkey, representing NATO's eastern flank, has partnered for decades with the United States and the European Union to contain Russian influence in Eastern and Central Europe, as well as the Caucasus. Recent developments in the Syrian civil war have resulted in a strange congruence of interests and seeming cooperation between Ankara and Moscow, but it would be a stretch to argue that this cooperation will deepen into an enduring strategic relationship....