Russia concerned by Turkey’s growing influence in the Turkic world

Russia is concerned Turkey’s growing influence over central Asia’s Turkic nations could challenge its authority and fuel separatism in the region, according to U.S.-based thinktank the Jamestown Foundation.

Turkey’s pro-government newspaper Hürriyet Daily News reported on Friday that the newly renamed Organisation of Turkic States held its eighth summit in Istanbul, approving "Turkish World 2040 Vision", a strategic document for guiding future cooperation,

Previously known as the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, the organisation’s members include Turkey, Azerbiajan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, which share cultural and linguistic links.

Commentators in Moscow argue Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could seek to expand membership to Turkic nations within Russia’s national borders, the Jamestown Foundation said.

On a visit to Baku last December, Erdoğan caused controversy by quoting a poem that seemingly endorsed separatism in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, earning a stiff rebuke from Tehran.

Erdoğan has also previously claimed Iran’s ethnic Azerbaijanis are a matter for Ankara, adding to concerns in Russia that the Turkish president could seek to exploit Turkic peoples in its territory from the North Caucasus to the far east, Jamestown Institute said.

This includes Sakha, a large republic in east Russia that is increasingly looking to Turkey with the encouragement of the Turkic council despite being non-Muslim, the thinktank said. Another example is the Gagauzia, a Turkic but Orthodox Christian region in Moldova, which Moscow has previously used to pressure the government in Chișinău, it added.

In expanding its influence through the Turkic nations, Russian analysts see Turkey as replicating Moscow’s own successful “Russian world” strategy and therefore posing a significant challenge, the Jamestown Institute said

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.