For Turkey, as for the other NATO countries, the end of the Cold War had been a gradual process. As we have seen, Mikhail Gorbachev’s accession to power in the USSR in 1985 had brought about a notable decline in SovietTurkish tensions and impressive progress in economic cooperation between the two countries (see pp121-2). This process was sealed in March 1991, when Presidents Gorbachev and Özal finally signed a Treaty of Friendship and Good Neighbourliness. Had conditions remained unchanged, Turkey might have continued this as a long-term entente with its northern neighbour, as it had in the 1920s and 1930s. Although Turkish policies towards Russia were far more cooperative than they had been during the Cold War, a full entente failed to emerge, mainly because the disintegration of the USSR in 1991 opened up a Pandora’s box of regional conflicts – notably in the new Transcaucasian republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, in which Turkey and Russia were on opposite sides politically. At the same time, Turkey had important reasons, both strategic and economic, for seeking to avoid a headon collision with Moscow. As a result, it had to walk a delicate tightrope in its relations with Russia, balancing its sympathies for the Muslim and predominantly Turkic nations of the Caucasus and central Asia, and its desire to prevent Moscow from regaining a monopoly of power in Russia’s ‘near abroad’, with its need to promote its economic interests in Russia and avoid a direct clash with Russian military power.