Power Vertical Podcast Ep. 62

Turkey and Russia have been here before—and they will probably be here again.

When Turkey shot down a SU-24 warplane over Syria back in November 2015, the prospect of war between a nuclear-armed Russia and NATO member Turkey appeared frighteningly real. Moscow and Ankara pulled back from the brink back then—and the emerging partnership between the two authoritarian regimes eventually grew stronger.

But today, Russia and Turkey are again facing off, this time in Syria’s Idlib province—where Moscow is supporting its client, Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Ankara backing anti-Assad rebels—with potentially destabilizing consequences.

The Russian-Turkish relationship is an uneasy partnership of two wary “frenemies who share a common disdain for the West. But it is also a rivalry between two leaders with messianic visions, both of whom view it as their destiny to revive their country’s lost imperial greatness—and whose imperial ambitions often collide.

Listen to the Power Vertical Podcast Ep. 62 as Brian Whitmore dives into this relationship with CEPA’s Donald N. Jensen and special guest Soner Çağaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute and author of the book “Erdoğan’s Empire: Turkey and the Politics of the Middle East.”

Intro Audio Clip: “Message from the President to the Federal Assembly” via the Kremlin under CC BY 4.0. 

Photo: “Russian-Turkish negotiations” via the Kremlin under CC BY-SA 4.0.

WP Post Author

Brian Whitmore

Brian Whitmore is Director of the Russia Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis. Before joining CEPA he was Senior Russia Analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He also worked as a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe in Moscow and Prague; as a graduate instructor in the Department of Government and International Studies at the University of South Carolina; and as a visiting lecturer in the History Faculty at Mechnikov National University in Odessa, Ukraine and the International Relations Faculty at St. Petersburg State University.

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March 6, 2020

The Power Vertical is a CEPA podcast covering the Kremlin for Kremlin watchers. All opinions are those of the guests and do not necessarily represent the position or views of the institutions they represent or the Center for European Policy Analysis.