Major geopolitical shifts and internal dynamics are setting the stage for possible increased great-power competition in Central Asia between Russia and China at a time when the region is becoming less hospitable to the projection of U.S. power and to the promotion of democracy.
Twenty-five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, all of the countries of Eurasia remain in the midst of difficult transitions and face unpredictable futures.
Beijing should approach its energy-centered partnership with Moscow in Central Asia with a degree of caution.
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Turkey sees the acute energy market competition as an opportunity to establish itself both as an influential energy state and as a central Eurasian power. In this regard, choosing Turkmenistan as the site of one of the first state visits by the new Turkish president was not accidental.
Turkmenistan has the gas reserves necessary to realize its plan to increase production. However, several geographic and political issues may make it difficult to export Turkmen gas.
It is time for Moscow to rethink its approach to Central Asia.
Beijing is emerging as the big winner in Central Asia, displacing Washington and Moscow while ensuring that engagement with countries in the region takes place on its terms.
The Turkish government places real importance on Central Asia because Ankara wants to develop the common heritage of Turkey and Central Asia, in terms of language, ethnicity, and even religion.
Central Asia is in a period of transition. Many tenets of Soviet infrastructure and culture have expired and rather than renew these precedents, the countries are emphasizing individual development.