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Setaita Tupua Kalou
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2018

Abstract:

The thesis explores the changing dynamics in the Middle East where the region is witnessing a metamorphosis in its power structure as major regional powers actively pursue their grand strategies to unseat U.S. hegemony. The analysis focuses in particular on the foreign policies of the revisionist powers of Russia and Turkey collaborating in all spheres of statecraft against the resoluteness of the U.S. to maintain the status quo. It recognises that the Syrian civil war has disrupted the equilibrium of the prevailing power structure which, by extension, has provided the enabling environment for the major players in the region to capitalise on the opportunities to pursue their own strategic interests and objectives in the Middle East. The thesis concludes that Turkey’s unique geopolitical profile positions it at the fulcrum of the power struggle between Russia and the U.S., elevating its status as the key player in determining the future of the region. Turkey’s unique attributes include, inter alia, its strategic geography nestled between Europe, Russia, Asia and the Middle East, coupled with its significance as a NATO ally of the U.S. hosting its military assets on its Incirlik air base. As the U.S. and Russia vie for Turkey’s support in a typical zero-sum fashion, Turkey asserts its own authority to maximise its gains by throwing its own grand strategy into the geopolitical calculus. As it stands, Russia’s calculated strategies to build up its rapport with Turkey through, inter alia, a major gas pipeline project, TurkStream, and other important economic, military and diplomatic forms of cooperation, are leveraging Turkey to become a major regional power in the Middle East. Turkey’s close collaboration with Russia has put the U.S. on notice with the recognition that a major shift in Turkey’s allegiance towards Russia poses a real threat to U.S. hegemony in the Middle East.

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