TURKEY AND THE CAUCASUS

After a military coup against the government in 2016 failed and elections in 2018 allowed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to retain its majority, Turkish President Erdoğan has stretched his executive abuses of power, diminished parliament’s checks and balances in government, and consolidated the president's control on judicial appointments. Turkey’s crackdown on Kurds, an ethnic minority in Turkey and other countries of the Middle East, has also intensified.


Relatedly, Turkey also has strategic interests in the Caucuses. Two countries in this region, Armenia and Azerbaijan, have intermittently been at war over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, with the most recent conflict taking place in September-November of 2020. Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan despite hosting an ethnic Armenian majority. Seeking greater influence in the region, Turkey backed Azerbaijan, as they share close historic and cultural ties.

LEARNING RESOURCES

Introduction

Turkey

Armenia and Azerbaijan