Turkey and the Russian Federation: Towards a Mutual Understanding? *
This chapter demonstrates that Turkish-Russian relations could be understood better by exploring the changing positions of these states in the international system rather than by focusing on their bilateral interactions. It argues that the systemic and structural factors play a much more important role than the actor-level national factors in the deterioration or improvement of bilateral relations. The rosy climate in Turkey’s relations with the Russian Federation has been adversely affected by the growing problems in Russia’s post-Soviet transition process. The chapter examines the rapprochement between Turkey and the Russian Federation through analyzing the convergence in the positions of these two states in international system, and their economic and security cooperation in the post-1997 period. It explores the opportunities for a ‘strategic partnership’ between Turkey and the Russian Federation, and the existing structural limitations in their relations. The chapter concludes by discussing the emerging trends in Turkish-Russian relations.