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Ukraine crisis exposes Turkey’s limits

The Ukraine crisis has exposed Ankara’s limits on foreign policy, yet Turkey’s President Erdogan can still score points from rapprochement with the UAE and Israel.
Ukrainian servicemen patrol in the settlement of Troitske in the Lugansk region near the front line with Russia-backed separatists on Feb. 22, 2022, a day after Russia recognised east Ukraine's separatist republics and ordered the Russian army to send troops there as "peacekeepers".

As Western capitals scramble to stop further Russian advancement into Ukraine — after the Kremlin’s decision to recognize the sovereignty of two breakaway territories in Ukraine on Feb. 21 — through a series of sanctions and other measures, Turkey’s reaction to the move was mainly confined to denouncing Moscow's decision. Ankara's response shows its limited capacity to play an active role in the crisis as a player that appears to be increasingly stuck between the Russian hammer and NATO's anvil.

Speaking on his return from his Africa trip to join the emergency NATO summit on Feb. 23, Erdogan said “it’s not possible for Turkey to give up” on its cooperation with both Ukraine and Russia, effectively ruling out any possibility of Ankara’s joining in the Western sanctions against Moscow. 

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