Turkey and Russia in a Turbulent Middle East and Eurasia: Energy Politics and Regional Security Challenges

Thursday, June 1, 2017, 12:00pm
Encina Hall West, Room 219
Turkey and Russia in a Turbulent Middle East and Eurasia:  Energy Politics and Regional Security Challenges

Suhnaz Yilmaz

Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA & Koc University (Istanbul, Turkey)


This lecture aims to analyse the complex dynamics of Turkish-Russian relations in a volatile regional context, focusing particularly on economic ties, energy politics and regional security challenges. Turkish-Russian relationship sheds light on some interesting issues concerning broader themes in global political economy. First, significant economic interdependence may be generated amongst states with different geopolitical outlooks. Second, growing economic interdependence may co-exist with continued political conflicts and geo-political rivalries as indicated by the limited impact of Crimean and Ukrainian crises on Turkish-Russian relations. An important strategy that emerges is the tendency to compartmentalize economic issues and geo-political rivalries in order to avoid the negative spill-over effects. This facilitates the co-existence of extensive competition with deepening cooperation, as reflected in relations in the field of energy. However, if the divergences over hard security issues deepen further, and intensify in regions considered as critical for Turkey’s core security interests such as the Syrian conflict, it could significantly tamper economic ties as well.


Şuhnaz Yılmaz is a Visiting Professor at UCLA with a dual appointment at the Department of Public Policy, Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Luskin Center for Innovation. She is also an Associate Professor of International Relations at Koç University, Istanbul.

Professor Yılmaz graduated from the International Relations Department of Bilkent University in 1993 and received her M.A and Ph.D. from Princeton University, in 1995 and 2000, consecutively, specializing on Near Eastern Studies and International Relations. She conducted her post-doctoral Studies at Harvard University. She held visiting faculty positions in the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, Stanford University and the Center for International Studies, Princeton University.

Professor Yılmaz teaches International Relations, Turkish Foreign Policy, Turkish-American Relations, Middle Eastern Politics, Politics of Former USSR and Central Asia, European Foreign and Security Policy, as well as Foreign Policy Analysis for Global Leaders in the Graduate School of Business and Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa in the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM). Her recent research focuses on the international affairs of Eurasia and the Middle East, foreign policy analysis, Turkish foreign policy, international security and European security and foreign policy, energy and natural resource politics, Turkish-US-EU and Turkish-Russian relations. She has numerous publications in journals such as Political Science Quarterly, Middle East Journal, Third World Quarterly, World Today, Middle Eastern Studies and Turkish Studies. She has a recent book on Turkish-American Relations entitled Turkish-American Relations (1800-1952): Between the Stars, Stripes and the Crescent (2015) from Routledge Press International Relations Series.


Cosponsored by the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, the Center for Russian, Eurasian and Eastern European Studies and the Global Internships Program