Leverages and Constraints for Turkish Foreign Policy in Syrian War: A Structural Balance Approach

ULUSLARARASI İLİŞKİLER, CİLT 15, SAYI 59, 2018  

Serdar Ş. GÜNER* and Dilan E. KOÇ**

ABSTRACT

Various balance and imbalance conditions among the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iran are analyzed to present how changes in the direction of conflict and cooperation disturb the regional balance in the Syria conflict. We find that given a stable hostility between the U.S. and Russia, and the stable friendship between Russia and Syria, Turkish preferences over coveting friendship and leaning toward enmity are central in the formation of balances. Turkey-Syria relations constitute a key for the balance in the region. A main Russian foreign-policy problem thus remains to help Turkey and Syria to conduct friendlier relations. A competition or an agreement between the U.S. and Russia over Kurdish independence underlies TFP alignment choices and a high likelihood of a protracted conflict for years to come in the Middle East.

Keywords: Structural Balance Theory, Balance of Power, Unbalanced and Balanced Systems, Enmity and Friendship

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* Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara.

** Student, Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara.


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