Ukraine was lured by the West for many years, but in its time of greatest need it was betrayed. Instead of protecting it militarily against the Russian invasion, the West has only been willing to engage the aggressor in economic warfare.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may create new fronts within Europe’s most fragile region. Throughout the Balkans, pro-Russian groups have eagerly awaited a Russian agenda that could topple current regional peace and security dynamics.
While Ankara’s relations with the West have soured in recent years, its relations with Moscow have come to a more stable footing. Nonetheless, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may cause Turkey to reassess its adversarial approach to old Western partners.
Chatham House’s Mathieu Boulegue told FeniksPod’s Atlantic Series that Russia has been using the Ukraine crisis to extort Western concessions in what has become the greatest test to European and global security since the Cold War.
A Russian invasion of Ukraine would pose significant risks to Turkey. Moscow’s potential exertion of economic, military, and political pressure on Ankara may also weaken a NATO response to the crisis, especially from the Black Sea.
With the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal coming to an end, the next agreement should be more comprehensive as Turkey grapples with an influx of Afghan refugees amid domestic economic downturn and a wave of political polarization that places refugees front and center.
FeniksPolitik organized its first in-house event on the future of NATO and the challenges it faces in confronting a changing Middle East, the US pivot to Asia, increasing presence of Russia and China in the region and intra-alliance tensions tied to a Turkey in democratic decline.
It is still uncertain whether the US and Iran can succeed in reaching a new nuclear deal; still, Turkey could benefit either way so long as it takes the rights steps in coordination with the US.
Geopolitical, ideological, and socio-economic quandaries will continue to haunt processes of normalization in the Middle East subsequent to the US’s gradual withdrawal from the region. Underlying issues remain unresolved despite diplomatic relaxation, and the power vacuum left behind by the US has the potential to rekindle regional rivalries and trigger proxy wars worse than those seen under the Obama and Trump administrations.