Aerial view of Istanbul, Turkey with World Heritage sites such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Galata Bridge and more in the Fatih district between the Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus.

Turkey, its Asian Pivot and the West: New Geopolitical Realities in the Making


Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS),
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Project Members:

Ceren Ergenç, Research Fellow, Foreign Policy Unit, CEPS
Steven Blockmans, Senior Research Fellow, CEPS
Sergen Kızılhan, Project Assistant, Foreign Policy Unit, CEPS
Max Bergmann, Director, Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program and Stuart Center, CSIS
Ilke Toygür, Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program, CSIS
Jeffrey Mankoff, Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program, CSIS

Project Duration: June 24 - May 25


Ceren Ergenç, email:
Ilke Toygür, email:


Anchored in the West but looking East, Turkey’s positioning towards China, Russia, and the regional alliances alternative to the Western ones, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO], has the potential to affect the global balance of power. Turkey's relationship with China and Russia in its immediate neighborhood is far from a solid tripartite alliance, given the multitude of clashes in national interests among all parties involved. However, when Turkey's long quest for full membership in the SCO was partially rewarded with the Status of a dialogue partner, it brought the three countries together in an institutional setting. This opens up an interesting triangle to research: Turkey, the Sino-Russian partnership (whenever it applies), and the transatlantic alliance (with an emphasis on the EU) at global and regional levels. This project will tackle the following overarching question: What is the nature of Turkey's efforts to balance Integration with Western institutions, particularly the EU, while simultaneously pursuing closer Cooperation with Russia and China in the aftermath of the presidential transition domestically, as well as the pandemic and regional wars internationally? How should this balancing act be considered in European policymaking at both global and regional levels in the short and medium terms?


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