Ankara’s Central Asian policy offers a privileged perspective for analyzing the evolution of Turkey’s post-bipolar foreign policy. A key element for Turkey’s attempt to re-launch the country’s value and significance for Euro-Atlantic interlocutors after the Cold War, Central Asia progressively lost its centrality in Ankara’s foreign policy and strategic thinking. This process was the result of both the im-possibility of competing for influence with regional powers and, at the same time, of the inauguration of a Turkey-centered foreign policy that naturally prioritized its immediate neighborhood. Hence, setting aside its attempt to pursue creation of a zone of influence in Central Asia, Ankara developed a more pragmatic policy based on the revival of frameworks for cooperation with Turkic Republics and, at the same time, on engagement with Russia and China on both the bilateral and multilateral levels.
Carlo Frappi, ISPI Associate Research Fellow