Cover Osteuropa 8-9/2007

In Osteuropa 8-9/2007

From Pan-Turkism to Pragmatism
Turkey and Central Asia

Rainer Freitag-Wirminghaus

Deutsche Fassung


Turkey likes to see in the Turkic-speaking nations of Central Asia fraternal peoples. When these achieved independence at the start of the 1990s, politicians in Ankara dreamed of political pan-Turkic unity. These burgeoning dreams quickly faded. Turkey exhibited much less attraction on the Central Asian states than Ankara had hoped. Nonetheless, Turkey is very present in the region in economic terms, and cultural ties have been intensified. That Ankara has in the meantime given preference to realpolitik as opposed to its fixation on allegedly fraternal peoples is seen in energy and security policy. In these two decisive fields, Turkish interests have shifted to the southern Caucasus. There, Georgia has become an important partner alongside Azerbaijan, which is closely allied with Turkey culturally and politically. Nonetheless, in Central Asia as well, Ankara is trying to find its place as a mediator between Russia and the United States.

(Osteuropa 8-9/2007, pp. 339–356)