Turkey, Russia may get embroiled in another proxy conflict in Yemen - analyst

Turkey and Russia already back separate sides in conflicts in Syria and Libya, but could also be on course to get embroiled in another proxy war in Yemen, according to analyst Irina Tsukerman writing for the Besa Center on Tuesday. 

Tsukerman said that Turkey has been trying to manoeuvre among the parties involved in the multiple conflicts in Yemen, and is possibly courting the internationally-recognised Hadi government.

Turkey has invested heavily in humanitarian outreach to its potential Yemeni supporters via the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) and is also trying to influence the educational system, religious institutions, and other social infrastructure in Yemen, Tsukerman said.

As with Syria, Russia sees itself as a potentially influential power broker among the many splintered actors, she argued. 

“In theory, so long as Turkey respects these boundaries and does not conflict with Russia over its interests, the two countries can pursue their goals side by side, especially as there is no clear winner right now,” she said. 

“However, should Turkey advance more aggressively to impose Islamist control and intervene militarily, and should it attempt to oust Russia from a leading or influential role in Yemen due to a clash of interests or in response to the non-resolution of tensions in Syria or Libya, another proxy conflict could occur.”