Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International Studies

Committee Director

Steve A. Yetiv

Committee Member

Austin Jersild

Committee Member

Frances Hassencahl


This dissertation started with a simple question: What was the main source of Turkish-Russian rapprochement seen generally after the end of the Cold War, specifically within the last 15 years (2001-2015)? A review of the literature on the subject revealed three explanations for Turkish-Russian rapprochement: (1) Perception of the U.S. as a threat in the Black Sea and Caucasus region, (2) Deterioration of Turkey’s relations with the West, and (3) Turkey’s need for energy. Thus came the main question for this work: To what extent does Turkey’s need for energy play a role in Turkish-Russian rapprochement? Although each of the explanations are analyzed in detail as variables in this study, the focus is on energy, primarily from a Turkish foreign policy perspective.

Once the variables were explored with their respective influence in Turkish-Russian relations, they were further tested on the foreign policy choices of Turkey in two specific regions of interest for Turkey: the Middle East and the South Caucasus. In the case studies, with the consideration that each country’s specific conditions played a role in its relations with Turkey, energy was found to be a significant factor. The findings from the case studies further supported the role of energy beyond any other factor in the making of Turkish foreign policy, and thus also support the main argument that Turkey’s need for energy has served as the main factor for Turkish-Russian rapprochement.


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