Turkey’s Role as a Regional Actor in Central Asia: An Assessment
Dr Pravesh Kumar Gupta, Associate Fellow, VIF

Central Asia’s geostrategic location at the crossroads of East and West has shaped substantial geopolitical rivalries in the region. Even though the region is within Russia’s sphere of influence, China has made significant advances in Central Asia after the fall of the Soviet Union due to the Central Asian republics’ multi-vector foreign policy. Turkey has a considerable interest in this geopolitically crucial region for two primary reasons. First, Ankara has ethnic links with the region’s Turkish-speaking countries, and second, Central Asia’s energy resources and strategic location is vital to Turkey’s geopolitical objectives. Ankara’s recently redefined Eurasian strategy is also partially motivated by its growing dissatisfaction with the West and an aspiration to strengthen ties with Russia and China. As a result, Turkey’s relations with Central Asian countries have also been scrutinised, notably the rough course they took following a brief period of benevolence in the early 1990s.

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