communities are often examined through their organizational structure. However,
another approach is to examine cooperation agreements, conflicts, and the
successes and failures of these relationships. This research examines
cooperation agreements among different nations to combat the global security
threat of terrorism. Specifically, this paper seeks to explore the successes
and failures of Russia and Turkey in their attempts to combat terrorism.
Terrorism fails to discriminate against any one nation, person, idea, or
thought. In the words of Vladimir Putin, “terrorism has no nationality or
religion.” Below is a matrix outlining concepts explored in this analysis.
Russia have been fighting the rise of the Islamic State but through different
approaches. Zenon as explains the Islamic state is a fusion of a state, an
insurgency, and a terrorist organization, a violent non-state actor that could be
best described as a quasi-state” (96). The threats imposed by the Islamic State
include both conventional and asymmetrical threats. Thus, by examining history
we can understand how to combat the different angles and methods used by the
Russia has primarily faced terrorism issues from the North Caucasus region. “The struggle was begun by Chechen rebels
and was apparently supported economically, morally, and militarily by radical
Islamic elements in the Middle East” (Magan, 2010).Additionally,
Russia continued to face challenges defending its security interests
domestically and regionally. As Crosston notes, Russia contends with several
aspects of domestic security to include home-grown radical Islamist movements,
political and economic corruption while facing an international struggle
against terrorism” (123).
comparison, Turkey also experienced security concerns as it related to
extremist organizations and terrorism. Throughout history, Turkey has tackled
some of the most challenging movements for Islamic independence. “Turkey had
established blood borders drawn up by a popular struggle for
self-determination” (Akturk, 5). Turkey confronted a different kind of
challenge than most western and non-western regions, which included ethic and
religious separatist movements. For decades, Turkey viewed the Kurdish
militancy as a threat to their security and sovereignty (Starr, 1). Turkey
attempted to solve the dilemma with the Kurds through largely political means
but also employed some heavy-handed military operations as well. Turkey had
another problem besides the conflict with the Kurdish people: it wanted
accession into the European Union.
pursued accession into the European Union to advance their strategic agenda and
strengthen commercial and economic ties. However, the European Union was not
confident Turkey could comply with the Copenhagen criteria “without substantial
change in the role of the military” (Larrabee and Lesser, 12). Turkey
understood to gain accession into the European Union it would need to undergo
significant reform and change the paradigm of their geopolitical environment.
Turkey began to accept change and underwent reform to continually enhance its
relationship with the European Union. First, in 2001, Ankara laid out an
Accession Partnership Document and parliament passed a series of reforms that
eased restrictions on human rights. (Larrabee and Lesser, 53). Turkey started
to make steps toward developing a successful Western-like democratic
establishment, even if there was skepticism inside the European Union.
Additionally, in 2002, Turkey passed a mini-reform package that “relaxed
constraints on freedom of expression that had been used to jail journalists and
intellectuals who published views considered to undermine the State” (Larrabee
and Lesser, 53). The reforms within Turkey were well-received within the
international community. However, Turkey still had a long way to go on meeting
the full criteria established by the European Union.
however, has taken a different approach to terrorism by implementing ambivalent
policies. As a communist country, Russia’s main authoritarian security concern
was to protect its internal security (Gentry, 468). Although Russia seeks to
maintain practical strategic partnerships, its Military Doctrine today is
conflicting. For example, “a document from 1993 stated Russia did not recognize
any country as its foe, whereas the text from 2000 suggests many actions will
pose challenges and actual threats to Moscow’s security” (Bugajski, 62). Russia
has a significant Muslim population and must maintain a peaceful approach
toward Muslims. Therefore, Russia “chooses
to present those involved as rebels against the state as criminals handled by
internal security procedures” (Magen, 2010). Although Russia has
experienced several contradictions within its policies, it has also found ways
to cooperate with many rivals.
Turkey, Russia sought out regional cooperation for a common good. In 1992 and
2002, Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement to exchange information as it
related to Islamic religious groups and suspected criminals/terrorists
(Lefebvre and McDermott, 269). In certain cases, rivals can come to an
agreement based on common interests and threats. After the attacks on the U.S.
in 2001, the NATO-Russia Founding Act called upon the international community
to unite against “such an inhuman act” (NATO, 2001). Beasly, Kaarbo, Hermann
and Hermann explain leaders tend to set aside disagreements based on foreign
threats to protect the survival of the regime (220). Strategically, Putin may
have been simply reassuring Bush or Putin may have truly empathized. Either
way, it reduced the alienation endured by Russia and the United States, often
for identity has been a greater challenge for Turkey. Turkey continued to fight
for accession into the European Union but a decade later the enhanced
relationships and possibility of democratic reform took a fatal blow. BBC News
reported, in 2016, the Turkish military established a coup d’état in which
Erdogan encouraged the public to take to the streets in an all-out war against
the Turkish military (Turkey’s coup attempt, 2016). The European Union was
significantly unsettled by President’s Erdogan’s actions, which crumbled the
possibility of Turkey’s accession into the European Union. Turkey was now at a
complete disadvantage with the European Union and trying to combat terrorism in
and outside the region.
European Union-Turkey tensions remain tense due to Turkey’s domestic politics.
Pierini (former EU ambassador) explains President Erdoğan’s political affiliations are now connected to
anti-European parties which uphold the “one-man-rule system and will not steer
the country toward European democratic standards” (2018). Although it seemed
throughout the early 2000s Turkey was gaining accession support from the
European Union, the crucial decisions of President Erdogan marked a monumental
turning point in EU-Turkey relations that further exacerbated the growing
threat of terrorism within Turkey. Turkey continues to struggle with
sectarian and religious hostilities throughout the region. On May 11th
2013, “Turkey suffered the deadliest terrorist attack in modern history when 52
people were killed in twin car bombings close to the Syrian border” (Starr, 1).
This marked the beginning of a long road of terrorist growth and activity
within Turkey. By 2017, the “Reina nightclub massacre in Istanbul marked the
involvement of the Islamic State” terrorist group publicly taking ownership of
an attack within the Turkish state (Soliev, 24).
to Turkey, immediate security threats inside Russia are still a growing
concern. Russia continues to develop cooperation with international and
non-governmental partners to enhance and protect rights in and outside the
region. Russian foreign policies focus on maintaining strong economic and
foreign policy ties to the European Union (Foreign Policy, #63/64). However,
Russia is also going to have to look toward non-friendly partners to stabilize
situations that have a direct impact on Russian domestic and regional security.
Russia realized it needed to focus on terrorism not just from a domestic
standpoint, but from regional and international ones. For example, by 2009,
Russia was forced to return to the security threat of an unstable Afghanistan.
Russia utilized regional actors, throughout the 2000s, such as Pakistan,
Central Asia, and India, to understand the position of Afghanistan
(Safranchuck, 2019). This not only enhanced relationships with Pakistan (a foe
to Russia) but gave Russia regional expertise to help develop new policies on
regional and transnational terrorism.
continues to advance towards developing policies that deter those organizations
threatening to ‘cleanse’ Turkey’s southern regions. Similar to Russia, the
Republic of Turkey explains its main security concerns include protecting
territorial integrity and preserving national identity (2011). The increased
tensions across Syria cause continued concern for Turkey. In an interview with
BBC, Mihrae Ural (a Commander of Syrian resistance), claimed individuals in
regions of southern Turkey were allied with Syria to fight on behalf of the
Syrian government (Starr, 3). The integrity and security of Turkey continues to
be compromised by its own artificial borders and loss of ties to Russia. As the
Syrian conflict continued, Turkey understood the importance of establishing
joint partnerships to prevent the disruption of the territorial sovereignty of
continuing to seek political advancements and influence through alternative
policies and relationships around the globe. One of the major successes was
Russia’s ability to establish a relationship with the United States in regards
to combating terrorism. It not only established relationships with the United
States but also the European region. Russia is able to focus on its internal
threats but also build influence in Central and Eastern European regions by
establishing relatively amicable relationships with America. This has given
Russia the perception that it is a major source of European power. Russia has
not only assessed the need to find common ground with the United States, but
understands the influence this could provide Russia in the European region.
this success would quickly turned into a failure to maintain cooperation with
the European region. Russia began to see the European region as a threat to the
‘Russian regime’ and turned from cooperative to conflicting. After Russia had a
conflict with Georgia, the European Union suspended its Partnership and
Cooperation Agreement with Russia (Foxall, 2018). Russia saw the continued
expansion of NATO and increased western influence as a means to infringe upon
Russian borders, thereby threatening Russian sovereignty.
in 2016, the Russian Federation released their Foreign Policy Concept. Russia
focused on the “spread of extremist ideology and the activity of terrorist
groups, primarily, in the Middle East and North Africa” (Foreign Policy, 2016).
Russia is searching for policies that respect its territorial sovereignty while
countering attempts that interfere with its domestic state of affairs. Russia
has provided this in its foreign policy by understanding the need to “prevent
military interventions or other outside interference” while still allowing
Russia to exercise its sovereign rights (Foreign Policy, 2016). These policies
not only secure the national security of Russia, but seek to strengthen
cooperation with neighboring states.
Russia must continually examine regional and international networks available
to develop a comprehensive approach to mitigating terrorism domestically and
regionally. Ehrhart explains the successes of Russia in the Ukraine and the
U.S. in Afghanistan was the utilization of civil and military means and methods
(265). Employing these different combinations of means and methods also
required a vast amount of cooperation and communication. However, prior to
establishing any relationship, the nation must consider any risks involved and
how that partner conceptualizes different security threats (Ehrhart, 271). Any
country facing the threat of terrorism, Western or non-Western, must establish
cooperating partners while communicating effectively with domestic, regional,
and global actors.
conclusion, Russia and Turkey were able to establish policies intended to
safeguard their internal systems. As strategic opportunities arose, both
nations took advantage of developing cooperation with the European Union and
the United States, respectively. However, the authoritarian tendencies of both
nations ultimately led to failure in maintaining these relationships. Although
Russia failed to maintain a strong relationship with NATO and the US, it was
able to successfully and strategically place itself around the Afghan region to
gain influence and expertise there. Whereas Turkey was not able to gain
accession into the European Union, it also failed to resolve ethnic and culture
dilemmas internally and regionally. Therefore, Russia has established better
strategic and tactical means to deter the internal and regional influence of
terrorism across its general sphere of geographical impact.