On the 28th of March 2018, the Moscow office of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, along with the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, organised a lecture by Associate Professor Pavel Shlykov at the Lomonosov Moscow State University’s Institute of Asian and African Studies. The lecture focused on Turkey’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
Professor Shlykov began by conextualising Ankara’s foreign policy activity. At the end of the 1980s under President Turgut Özal, it appeared that Turkey was moving away from the cautious foreign policy of the previous Kemalist regimes. The 1990s then became an era of cultivating ties with the Middle East. But this shifted in the 2000s, as the government began to look towards territories formerly under the control of the Ottoman Empire, in an attempt to achieve the status of a major player on the international stage.
Today, Ankara aspires to the role of a dominant, rather than merely regional, player. Central to this move for control was the establishment of Turkish military bases abroad. An agreement with Qatar was recently signed to do just that. Similar talks are ongoing with Somalia, where Turkey is helping to modernise the armed forces. Simultaneously, negotiations are underway to build Turkish bases in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Aside from that, Turkey has a de facto presence in the north of Cyprus, Northern Iraq (with, according to various reports, up to 14 military bases), and Syria, where the plan is to build eight bases.
According to Shlykov, other demonstrations of Turkey’s ambition to raise