Turkey’s Comeback to Central Asia
October 1, 2018
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkey emerged as an influential player in the Muslim and ethnically Turkic republics of Central Asia. Despite an unrealistic initial policy approach aimed at creating a wide-spanning Turkic union, Turkey reoriented its foreign policy toward the region and since the mid-1990s has relied on a sophisticated combination of bilateral engagement, multilateral institutions, economic linkages, and soft power vis-à-vis Central Asia. The recent thaw in Turkish-Uzbekistan relations offers new opportunities for cooperation, while Central Asia as a whole is likely to gain importance in Turkish foreign policy against the backdrop of Turkey’s deteriorating relations with traditional Western allies.