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  • Author: Oktay F. Tanrısever
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections in Russia in terms of their significance and implications for Russian politics. The article argues that the success of the United Russia party in the State Duma elections created the most conducive conditions for Vladimir Putin's handling of the presidential succession problem in 2008. By keeping the State Duma under the control of his 'Party of Power,' Vladimir Putin became able to nominate his close ally Dmitry Medvedev to the Presidency since the election results enabled him to use the State Duma to counterbalance the overwhelming presidential power which will be transferred to Dmitry Medvedev in 2008. The article begins by examining the significance and the actual organization of the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections in Russia. On the basis of the analysis of the election results, the article goes on to discuss the implications of the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections for Russian politics.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Alexandros Petersen
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, should be expected to broadly continue his predecessor Vladimir Putin's foreign policy toward Turkey and the broader Black Sea region. Analysts who cast Medvedev as a mere Putin puppet, or those who anticipate a gradual increase in power for the new man in the Kremlin miss the crucial question about decision-making in Russia: how much influence will the siloviki – current and former security service officers – wield to implement policies based largely on mistrust and calculation? Russia's policies in the Black Sea region are unlikely to change much in substance, although Medvedev may adopt a more subtle, effective style in seeing them through. Their exclusionary nature - a product of the silovik worldview - should be expected to continue. Therefore, despite recent significant improvements in Turkey's relations with Russia, over time Turkey may find itself in an uncomfortable middle ground between its Western allies and its new-found friends in Moscow.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The closure case against the ruling AK Party pending before the constitutional court occupied the center stage of Turkish politics throughout the summer. After months of speculation on the fate of the party, the court finally reached a verdict in late July, deciding not to close down the AK Party, and averting what had otherwise promised to be an unprecedented level of political uncertainty, social and economic turmoil, and potential chaos. With the closure case now behind it, the AK Party is expected to be more restrained, and to act responsibly – as it did during the proceedings of the case – while building up its democratic and secular credentials through a reform policy in keeping with the EU accession process. For some time, the ruling AK Party had been under pressure for neglecting, if not abandoning, the EU membership process. In response to critics the government may refocus its energy on the issues that have stalled Turkey's accession.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Georgia
  • Author: Saltanat Berdikeeva
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Georgia's military gamble in South Ossetia in August 2008 opened a Pandora's Box of misfortunes. Tbilisi is now faced with the loss of its breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, meanwhile creating a potential opportunity for Russia to assume a much-coveted control over the energy transit routes passing through Georgia. While the conflict has further spoiled the relations between the West and Russia, setting in motion stiffer competition between the two to secure the energy sources of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, the pragmatic calculations of the players involved in the Eurasian energy game may eventually change the tone of the game. With unresolved issues surrounding doubts over the sufficiency of energy supplies and the availability of means to deliver them from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe, Russia's preeminent position as a supplier of energy to the West will be maintained.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Bobo Lo
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: President Vladimir Putin's visit to China in March 2006 was in many respects a spectacular success. The Russian delegation was the largest and most diverse in post-Soviet times. The number of agreements, 29, represented a record in the history of the relationship. And the atmosphere was the most positive of any of Putin's overseas trips. Surveying the landscape of the relationship, there seems nothing not to like. The 4,300 km common border has finally been demarcated in its entirety; Moscow and Beijing agree on practically every regional and international issue of consequence – Chechnya, Taiwan, Iraq, Iran. Official trade has multiplied nearly six-fold during Putin's presidency; and the first ever Sino-Russian joint military exercises took place in August 2005.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, Taiwan, Beijing, Soviet Union, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Ukraine's Orange Revolution, its leaders contend, was primarily pro-European, not anti-Russian. But most commentators both in the West and in Russia look at the 2004 dramatic events in Kyiv differently: they tend to characterize them as a clear manifestation of Ukraine's strategic, if not civilizational, choice. Within this paradigm, opting for a "European path" would mean undermining what the Kremlin perceives as its vital national interests.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Angela Stent
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Russia has found an innovative way to ring in the New Year with its European partners: threatening to cut off energy supplies. At the beginning of 2006, it was gas exports through Ukraine; in January 2007, it was oil supplies through Belarus. Although President Lukashenko backed down and oil again flowed to Europe, the actions of pipeline monopoly Transneft –and President Putin's failure to inform Germany about the impending cutoff– presented German Chancellor Angela Merkel with an unwelcome start to Germany's EU presidency.
  • Topic: Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Joshua W. Walker
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey stands at the threshold of all major trends within its neighborhood and is actively seeking to harness the assets that its geography and historical experiences afford it. As a staunch ally of the United States which has traditionally privileged its "strategic partnership," Turkey's global role has shifted from being a Western geo-strategic military deterrent to an exemplary model of a Muslim-majority, secular, and democratic nation. This article offers an introduction to Turkey's new foreign policy doctrine known as "strategic depth" and then seeks to examine its implications for Turkey's emerging role in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia. In the following sections, this article will outline how Turkey is beginning to realize its full potential as a versatile multiregional and increasingly powerful international actor.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: İbrahim S. Arınç
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The EU depends highly on Russian gas and this dependency is expected to increase in the following decades. Conversely, natural gas export revenues significantly contribute to the Russian budget, making it dependent on gas sales to Europe. The relationship between the EU and Russia is therefore one of interdependence. Turkey's impact on this relationship has the potential to benefit all parties, as its strong ties with both the EU and Russia give it a unique position in the region. For the EU, Turkey could contribute to the diversification of supply, and secure transit pipelines connecting Middle Eastern and Caspian reserves to the EU. For Russia, Turkey could provide an export outlet for Russian gas to the Mediterranean and an alternative transit route to Europe.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Orhan Yılmaz
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's geographical location on the trade routes, adjacent to energy resources, and its emergence as an energy transit corridor, have made Turkey an attractive center for the investment of international capital. Turkey contains 72% of the world's boron reserves, which are concentrated in eight countries in the world; the USA and Russia have the next largest deposits. Boron, with its various applications and diverse product range, is an essential raw material in most industries. 85% of it is consumed in glass, fiberglass, insulating glass, detergent, ceramics and agriculture, with a total consumption of 3,500,000 metric tons (1,800,000 ton B2O3) per annum around the world. Turkey, with the Eti Maden, a wholly state-owned company, has become the leader in the boron business not only in terms of its reserves but also in production, sales and profitability since 2005. The primary target now is to make Turkey, the leader of world boron business, and an emerging terminal where energy lines intersect, a production base in the sectors identified in growth strategies.
  • Topic: Agriculture
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey