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Turkey's Relations with Iran, Syria, Israel, and Russia, 1991-2000. The Kurdish and Islamist Questions

Series: Bibliotheca Iranica: Kurdish Studies Series 2
Availability: In stock
Published: 2001
Page #: ix + 240
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 1-56859-133-0
bibliography, index

 
$25.00

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Quick Overview

This volume, the second in the Kurdish Studies Series by this publisher, focuses on the role of the Kurdish and Islamist questions in Turkey’s foreign policies with Iran, Syria, Israel and Russia from the end of the Persian Gulf War to 2000.The author argues that the Kurdish question, i.e., the trans-state aspects of the challenge of Kurdish nationalism coupled with the Islamist question, i.e., the challenge of contending political groups using the discourse of Islam, were the major challenges to Turkey during this decade.
The two questions were dominant in relations between Turkey and Iran. The author concludes, however, that both countries’ wider geopolitic and geostrategic concerns in the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea Basin, Central Asia and the Middle East compelled them to cooperate, albeit, at times, reluctantly.

The book emphasizes that the Kurdish question was also the major factor in Turkey’s relations with Syria and Israel. Damascus’ sheltering of Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK leader, from 1979 to 1998, along with the accompanying dispute over the allocation of the downflow of the Euphrates River, were the paramount issues between Jerusalem and Damascus for nearly two decades. The author argues, further, that it was the threat of the PKK and Kurdish nationalism that compelled Turkey to seek an alliance with Israel in 1996.
The Kurdish question was also an important factor in relations between Turkey and Russia, in spite of the fact that Russia is not a Middle East country. During the decade of the 1990s, the Kurdish question was inextricably linked to the Chechnya question, i.e., Russia’s war against the Chechens. During the 1990s the Chechnya question was linked directly to the future relations of Moscow with its own Muslim minorities and its Muslim neighbors. As in the case of Iran, the author concludes that wider geopolitic and geostrategic concerns, especially the control and sharing of the distributive network of gas and oil pipelines emanating from the Caspian Sea basin, compelled the two countries not to play their Kurdish card or Muslim card in a manner that would jeopardized these wider interests.

author

Robert Olson

Robert Olson is Professor of Middle East history and politics at the University of Kentucky (Emeritus). He is the author of ten books of various aspects of Middle East history and politics. His major books are: The Siege of Mosul and Ottoman- Persian Relations: 1718-1743; The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Said Rebellion: 1880-1925; Turkey's Relations with Iran, 1979-2004;The Kurdish Question and Turkish-Iranian Relations:From World I to 2000; Blood, Beliefs and Ballots: The Management of Kurdish Nationalism in Turkey, 2007-2000; The Kurdish Nationalist Movements in Turkey: 1980-2011; The Goat and the Butcher: Nationalism and State Formation in Kurdistan-Iraq since the Iraqi War War. He is the author of 75 referred research articles and 60 edited research articles. He was distinguished Professor of the University of Kentucky in 2000. He is married and lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

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