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Briefing on Turkey, Russia and Syria
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Briefing on Turkey, Russia and Syria

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Turkey’s immediate show of support for the recent US strike in Syria on government forces may have damaged its relations with Russia, demonstrating the balancing act Turkey must play between the two powers.

• Turkey’s recent relative quiet about removing Assad was interpreted as a concession to Russia, but its response to the US strike made clear Ankara still wishes him gone.
• Turkey is reliant on Russia for its energy needs, financially as an export destination, and in pursuing its aims in Syria.
• Nonetheless, as this incident shows, Turkey and Russia’s interests do not fully line up, including on Syria.

The US strike on Syrian government forces on 6 April was met with an enthusiastic response in Turkey. The Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said the next day that Turkey supports the US operation, adding that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which he accused of committing war crimes, should leave Syria. This was an…

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13 April 2017

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