Saturday, 16 August 2008

Caucasian union?

Unless Turkey opens its borders with Armenia without any precondition, all talks about “Caucasian union”, Turkey-sponsored “economic partnership” in the region will sound nothing more than a PR action to try to increase Turkey’s influence and importance in the South Caucasus dominated now by Russia and partly US/EU. I am not even talking about so many seemingly irreconcilable differences between countries in the South Caucasus which makes this whole idea looking more like an encouraging but fairy tale proposal, for now at least.

On the other hand, there are already voices in Turkey admitting that the policy of economic isolation of Armenia failed. It made Armenia’s dependence on Russia even stronger, without any advantage for Turkey or its ally Azerbaijan.

I wonder if pushing “Caucasian union” idea is (among others) a Turkey’s attempt to rectify its failed policies towards Armenia without ‘hurting’ too much Azeri feelings. I wonder if Turkey is ready to open its borders as a first step to push forward and make the “economic partnership” idea at least plausible?

via Hurriyet:

Turkey-sponsored Caucasian union to start as an economic partnership

Turkey has mapped out the details of the proposed Caucasian union and plans to launch the association on the basis of the economic partnership.

Turkey had proposed the formation of a Caucasian union after the clashes erupted between Georgia and Russia. Turkey, as a neighboring country of the region, has close interest in the Caucasus in its efforts to ensure energy supply safety.

Ankara had stepped in to resolve the conflict with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan had visited both Moscow and Tbilisi.

Turkey's proposal to establish a Caucasian union was widely accepted. The union, called by Turkey as "Caucasus Stability and Partnership Platform", is envisaged to bring Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia under the same roof.

Sources from Turkish foreign ministry told local media the union is planned to have common security and executive bodies, and would be similar to the neighboring countries of Iraq but in a more complex structure.

The works on the unions would start next week.


Although the idea was widely accepted, there is a tough task ahead of Turkey as almost every country, who would take part in this establishment, has bilateral conflicts.

Turkey hopes this union would contribute to the strengthening of the relations between Ankara and Yerevan as well as the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. [...]


Артём said...

The Caucasian union bringing Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia together is a very curious and it seems shaky "platform" to stand on. As much as I understand, and as the article you mention reads, there are various conditions that no participant of the platform is willing to concede, if we talk about any kind of collaboration among them. I understand that it was a rather smart go by Turkey to serve as peacemakers in view of the recent events to gain bonus points for whatever usage they choose, but I do not see any clear way to make the platform stable in the present situation, nor do I see any clear result of such a undertaking that would be satisfying to all parties. Or maybe it's just me.

Danielbeast said...

I saw that article and some others in the Turkish press heralding things like the upcoming BTE railroad, etc. and don't know how Turkish press can be heralding these things so proudly AFTER what happened. Yes just days after Georgia was invaded a Turkish article wrote about looking forward to the railroad, all the success it would bring, etc. Besides that talk about Caucasian Union of Turkey (not in the Caucasus), Georgia (which will be either part of Russia or just a smoldering pit of destruction) and Azerbaijan. Georgia is the all-important lynchpin of this proposed union, of the railroad, of everything. With its future so much in doubt, its infrastructure destroyed, and so much more how can they be continuing to plan it as their thin base of operations uniting the whole region?
While losing Georgia as a good outlet is bad for Armenia, at the same time Georgia is pretty much lost at least for the near-term future as Turkey's connection to Azerbaijan and all points east unless it wants to take the very roundabout way through Iran. Armenia is just sitting there in the middle impeding it from going further, if Turkey really wants to be a regional power I hope this shows that they aren't going to get anywhere while the blockade continues, they are totally stuck right now and this could encourage them to open the border even fast, something we all know they have been considering more strongly as of late.
Or they could just surprise no one and keep it locked for years to come. I guess I won't be surprised either way.

artmika said...

Turkey – Armenia: “Positive gestures” amid activated diplomacy