Sunday, August 31, 2008

Turkey's troubles in the Caucasus

I know... I know... It has been quite a long time since my last post in here and this happened only because I had nothing to say... or even better, I had nothing to write!

I hope you will excuse this "behavior" of mine. Some of summer relaxation, some of personal issues and some of business developments that hopefully will occur soon, kept my mind occupied and my keyboard untouched. Even for my personal blog. So, I have decided to republish, once and then, posts from other sources in order to keep things going even though I would love to write about plenty of issues like the recent Caucasus war, or the situation about greek economy, or even the ongoing process of resolving the Cyrpus issue... But nothing!

Simply, I couldn't put words in order! By writing for so many years for newspapers and magazines in the past as well as for blogs today, I know that it can happen; I mean to find yourself in a situation like this, feeling like you have nothing to say, or even more, feeling not able to describe things in a way that you would like to. And the bad thing is that you don't even know how long it will take till you to return back to "normal".

In such occasions is more preferable - I think - to say or write nothing, instead of forcing yourself to expression.

Nevertheless, today I have read a very good article from MESH about Turkey and its foreign policy, that is titled "Turkey’s troubles in the Caucasus" and I would like to share it with you. here is an excerpt:

The outbreak of the Russian-Georgian War earlier this month apparently caught Ankara as poorly prepared as it caught Washington. The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s section dealing with the Caucasus reportedly was virtually unstaffed. The head of the section was in Mosul on temporary assignment, the section’s number-two spot is empty and has been for the last six months. The number three was also away on temporary assignment in Nakhichevan and the other assigned section members were on vacation, thus forcing on-duty diplomats from other desks to scramble.

This may surprise. There are abundant reasons for one to expect that Turkey would have been following events in Georgia and the Caucasus with great diligence. The two countries share common borders and intertwined histories. Istanbul ruled large chunks of the Caucasus, including much of Georgia, for centuries, and today there remains inside Turkey a small but vibrant community of Abkhazians and related Caucasian peoples. Russia for most of the past three centuries has loomed over Turkey as its greatest rival and threat, yet at critical times, such as during the Turkish War of Independence (1919-22), it has been a key ally. Today Russia supplies somewhere around 70 percent of Turkey’s natural gas and is Turkey’s second largest trading partner.

Georgia is a transit point for Caspian and Central Asian oil and gas and as such is critical to Turkey’s ambitions to become an energy hub and to diversify its own energy supplies. As a member of NATO, Turkey has been involved in training and supplying the Georgian military. Finally, given Turkey’s own struggle with Kurdish separatists, other instances of ethno-separatism and border revision logically should command Ankara’s keen attention. In short, both Russia and Georgia are of great strategic, economic, and historic importance to Turkey, and the principles of territorial integrity and self-determination over which the Russo-Georgian War was (nominally) fought are directly relevant to the most sensitive of Turkey’s security concerns.

Day opening - August 31


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