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Tag: turkey

The new Great Game that is not

The idea that Central Asia is the nexus of a Great Game between the world’s superpowers is, in the 21st century, largely exaggerated. Undoubtedly, the Central Asian republics are actively engaging with the great powers by relying on their sovereign prerogatives and pursuing their own strategic goals. But this should be seen rather as a strategy of the local players than a competitive game orchestrated from Washington, Moscow or Beijing.

It is not uncommon to hear from academics and pundits alike that Central Asia is now at the centre of a new Great Game between the great powers (namely, the United States, Russia and China), as it was two centuries ago. The term, popularised by Rudyard Kipling’s 1901 novel Kim and first used by Captain Arthur Conolly of the East India Company’s Bengal Army in 1840, directly refers to the 19th-century competition between the Russian and British empires for control over Central Asia. An example of the pre-eminence of the metaphor in today’s intellectual circles is one of the latest books published on international politics in Eurasia, edited by Mehran Kamrava, titled The Great Game in West Asia, which claims that there indeed is a new great game afoot in the region.

Though vigorously denied by those policy-makers actually involved in the politics of the region, and often criticised by more nuanced and context-aware regional observers, the Great Game is still a widely adopted and popular metaphor, rooted in geopolitical thinking and aimed at simplifying the reality. It refers to the competition between the abovementioned states to vie for influence over and in the region, as well as to the conflicts that their different strategies may elicit in the near future. In the Great Game narrative, the five Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the board on which the game is played.

October 31, 2017 - Filippo Costa Buranelli

Turkey and Ukraine. The end of the love affair?

The Turkish-Russian rapprochement will have the biggest impact on the Black Sea region. Most probably, Turkey as the weaker actor will return to politics of avoiding open geopolitical confrontation with Russia in the area of key importance for the Kremlin. As a result, the main consequence of the improvement in Turkish-Russian relations will be a weakened cooperation between Turkey and Ukraine in the sphere of security. Paradoxically, at the same time, an intensification of economic cooperation between the two countries might follow.

September 16, 2016 - Adam Balcer

The identity of Turkish youth

Like their peers in other states, Turkish youth are said to face many challenges while trying to define themselves. Many members of the younger generation still think that one’s character is defined by two elements: nationality and religion. Thus, those who hold such a belief tend to say that a sense of nationality is an inherent characteristic of the Turkish society. This conviction, however, does not imply racism. It rather assumes that Turkish identity has been shaped by historical experiences and cultural nationalism. The Turkish attitude towards religion is also rather unique, especially when compared to others in the Muslim world, which confirms the thesis that despite being a Muslim society by a great majority, Turks are proud of being tolerant towards other beliefs and religions. They remember that two centuries ago Sultan II Mahmut said “I want to see my Muslim citizens in mosques, my Christian citizens in churches and my Jewish citizens in synagogues”, and follow the Prophet Muhammad’s words that neither Persians nor Arabs are superior.

September 13, 2016 - Kinga Gajda

Crossing the red line

Interview with Asli Edoğan, a prize-winning Turkish writer and human rights activist detained on August 17th 2016 for allegedly making terror propaganda on behalf of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The interview took place at the end of September 2015 in Kraków.  Interviewers: Iwona Reichardt and Bartosz Marcinkowski.

August 19, 2016 - Iwona Reichardt and Bartosz Marcinkowski

EU Association Agreements can become engines of change, even if they do not lead to membership

An interview with Barbara Lippert, Director of Research in the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Interviewer: Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska.

July 6, 2016 - Barbara Lippert

Turkey at a geopolitical crossroads – Part II

An interview with Adam Szymański, associate professor with the Institute of Political Science at the University of Warsaw. Interviewer: Jim Blackburn

May 20, 2016 - Adam Szymański



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