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VOL. 2 (3) – SUMMER 2008

Research Papers

Identities, Interests and the Resolution of the Abkhaz Conflict (pp. 112-123)
by Ondrej Ditrych

Nabucco Pipeline and the Turkmenistan Conundrum (pp. 124-132)
by Marco Giuli

Geopolitics of Central Asia in the Context of the Iranian Factor (pp. 133-145)
by Guli Yuldasheva

Instability in the New Imperial Periphery: A Conceptual Perspective of the “Turbulent Frontiers” in the Caucasus and Central Asia (pp. 146-155)
by Khatchik Der Ghoukassian

The Shadow of Past Rivalry: Limits of Post-1999 Dynamism in Greco-Turkish Relations (pp. 156-165)
by Eda Kuşku
 

Comment

Turkish AK Party’s Central Asia and Caucasus Policies: Critiques and Suggestions (pp. 166-172)
by Ertan Efegil
 

Interview

“Soft annexation of Abkhazia is the greatest legacy of Putin to his successor” (pp. 173-177)
Interview with Thomas de Waal, Institute of War & Peace Reporting in London
 


 

Research Papers

Identities, Interests and the Resolution of the Abkhaz Conflict (pp. 112-123)
by Ondrej Ditrych

The recent crisis in Abkhazia reveals a fundamental qualitative change in the conflict in which the balance among three main actors is shifting, and increasingly the conflict plays a more important role in the triangular relations between Georgia, Russia and the West. The search for a new equilibrium in the conflict, one that would be an optimal outcome for the actors involved, will require rethinking the mutually constitutive roles (identities) and interests they want to assume with respect to the conflict and the entire South Caucasus. This is argued to be a matter of the ‘first order’ with respect to conflict resolution in Abkhazia, with confidence-building measures and political status questions representing only a ‘second order’read more
 

Nabucco pipeline and the Turkmenistan conundrum (pp. 124-132)
by Marco Giuli

This paper aims at exploring the prospects for Turkmen natural gas participation in the Nabucco pipeline project. Since the Azerbaijani and Iranian resources suffer technical and political setbacks, Turkmenistan’s inclusion among the supplying countries is turning out to be essential even if its prospects are probably unsustainable in the long term, when huge amounts of Iranian gas will be needed. However, Turkmenistan could be considered as a “bridging provider” justifying the realization of Nabucco in preparation for a reduction of the international tensions stemming from the Iranian nuclear program. Despite the improved political landscape in Turkmenistan, several obstacles still persist: among them, the commitment of the new leadership to supply Russia and China as well as the weak prospects for the Trans-Caspian pipelineread more
 

Geopolitics of Central Asia in the Context of the Iranian Factor (pp. 133-145)
by Guli Yuldasheva

This article examines geopolitical tendencies around Central Asia (CA) in the context of the Iranian factor in international relations. In all political processes in CA interests are underscored by energy security and the struggle of the competing powers for dominance and access to energy resources in the region. Iran’s role is shown as both a source of tension in the region and a transit route for CA hydrocarbons. Within this framework the negative impact of the US anti-Iranian strategy on the whole geopolitical situation in the region is revealed. It is argued that without resolving Iranian-American disputes and achieving the adequate balance of interests in the CA between the US and Russia there will not be geopolitical and, hence, economic stability in the region…read more
 

Instability in the New Imperial Periphery: A Conceptual Perspective of the “Turbulent Frontiers” in the Caucasus and Central Asia (pp. 146-155)
by Khatchik Der Ghoukassian
 

Since the emergence of the United States as the world’s only superpower, the Caucasus and Central Asia, traditionally conceived as the Russian “Near Abroad,” have increasingly made their way up the U.S. foreign and security agenda. From debates on NATO expansion to pipeline diplomacy, basing policy, “train and equip” programs, as well as suspected support for ‘color revolutions’, and bilateral cooperation agreements, Washington has tried to mark a presence in these regions. These moves have generated concerns in Russia, where the U.S. expansion to the “Near Abroad” is perceived as a prelude for a new Cold War-style confrontation. Nonetheless, while this “big picture” of a renewed great powers competition holds some truth, it, however, should not hide the importance of local political dynamics, in particular territorial and ethno-nationalist conflicts, as well as clan politics and domestic unrestread more
 

  

The Shadow of Past Rivalry: Limits of Post-1999 Dynamism in Greco-Turkish Relations (pp. 156-165)
by Eda Kuşku

This essay will enquire whether Turkey and Greece could remove their enduring controversies through confidence building measures, mediation and inter-governmental dialogues which were introduced in the post-1999 détente period. The paper will specifically focus on the recent nature of understanding between the two countries and will endeavour to answer the question of whether there is a divergence in the nature of recent cooperative arrangements from those which were concluded in the former periods of détente and each of which were disrupted by succeeding periods of either armed conflict or cold war. The paper contends that the recent nature of Greek-Turkish relations is not problem-free…read more

 

Comment

Turkish AK Party’s Central Asia and Caucasus Policies: Critiques and Suggestions (pp. 166-172)
Comment by Ertan Efegil

The AK Party’s approaches to Central Asia and Caucasus are similar to those of previous governments. For the AK Party, Central Asia, and especially Eurasian geopolitics, are strategically very important; therefore, they have desired to improve Turkey’s existing relations with the regional states and strongly supported inter-regional projects, such as the Baku-Tbilis-Erzurum natural gas pipeline, Baku-Tbilis-Kars railway and the Nabucco pipeline. For that reason, Turkish officials have paid various official visits to the regional states. With the assistance of these projects, the officials believe that regional integration attempts will be strengthened and welfare, stability and development will dominate regional affairs. But the Turkish policy makers have had to change their perspective about the region in favor of existing regional conditions, and they have formulated more realistic and rational policies, including a focus on more concrete projects…read more

 

Interview

“Soft annexation of Abkhazia is the greatest legacy of Putin to his successor” (pp. 173-177)
Interview with Thomas de Waal, Institute of War & Peace Reporting in London

Question: What do you think is the next step in Abkhazia?

De Waal: One of the main problems in Abkhazia is the high degree of unpredictability on both the Russian and the Georgian sides. I don’t believe that anyone wants a war over Abkhazia. However it’s a very small territory, and there are a lot of armed men there from both sides. The Russians have recently deployed paratroopers there, ostensibly as peacekeepers, although they obviously have a big offensive capability. And the Georgians have deployed armed men in the only part of Abkhazia under their control, the Upper Kodori Valley…read more

       
 
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