Turkey’s effort to save from Western-Russian confrontation – ANALYSIS

Baku. Vugar Masimoglu–APA. Recent developments in Georgia unveiled long-term secret confrontation between the West and Russia.

The only real complication of the tension between superpowers is that Turkey landed in the center of this confrontation.Ankara faces with both Western and Russian pressures and tries to save by intensifying regional diplomatic activity. From this perspective Turkey-proposed Caucasian Stability Pact can be estimated as a self-defense method only.

-What is the Caucasian Stability Pact?

Unfortunately neither Ankara, author of the initiative, nor possible members of the new platform make public details. The most open-handed comment came from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. After the discussions with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, Lavrov told journalists that the Caucasian Stability Pact was reviewed as an ASEAN-style organization. He said the Ankara’s initiative considered two-phase process. The platform to be established in the first phase will research opportunities of cooperation between the regional countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia – under the guarantee of Turkey and Russia. After formation of these mechanisms, decision-making initiative will be given to these three countries.

However Sergei Lavrov, Turkish officials and other countries appreciated the initiative didn’t explain how they will find mechanisms of cooperation between the five countries, which have a lot of serious problems between themselves. At the same time they didn’t respond to the question “What is the necessity to establish new platform while these countries are members of different t political and economic organizations (for example BSECO)?” Why the idea of Caucasian Stability Pact was forwarded? It needs to value relations between the member countries at first, balance of forces in the region, battle of interests and current realities to respond this question.

-Is this quintet or alliance of centers of force?

In fact this pact is reviewed as a solution of mutual problems of not five countries, but two conflicted alliances – Russian-Armenian strategic alliance and politically and economically tied Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In this regard the Caucasian Stability Pact should be reviewed not as an “alliance of five”, but as union of “3+2” format.

-Map of conflicts of the Pact

Regional problems exist not between these countries separately, but between these alliances:
1) Russia-Georgia (military conflict, violation of Georgia’s territorial integrity, Russia’s recognition of separatist regimes in the country, political and economic relations reduced to zero)
2) Russia – Turkey (diplomatic tension caused by NATO ships’ access to the Black Sea, minimization of economic relations, Turkey’s place in anti-Russian bloc)
3) Armenia – Turkey (territorial claims against Turkey, diplomatic activity for recognition of the events of 1915 as “Armenian genocide”, closed borders, cancellation of political, economic, diplomatic relations)
4) Armenia – Azerbaijan (occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories by Armenian armed forces, no relations between the two countries)

-The first obstacle – conflicts

These are the conflicts continuing among five states, or between “threes” and “twos”. Of course, one can add here Armenia’s territorial claims against Georgia, local tensions in Russia-Azerbaijan relations (situation around Gabala radar, Azerbaijan’s participation in the projects that will minimize Russia’s energy monopolism in Europe), which have not reached the level of open conflicts.

As seen, of the five countries planned to participate in the Caucasus Stability Pact, there are no serious problems only in Azerbaijan-Turkey, Azerbaijan-Georgia, Georgia-Turkey, Russia-Armenia relations. The probability of seeking the mechanisms that will bring these countries together and extend political and economic cooperation is zero.

-The second obstacle – Iranian factor

One more point against the Caucasus Stability Pact. This initiative will actually mean restriction of Iran’s levers of influence on the ongoing processes in the South Caucasus. Iran has serious interests in the region, this country borders on three out of five countries considered potential members of the Pact and has serious economic and political relations with these countries. Official Tehran, Armenia, which depends sufficiently on Iran in crisis situations, and Russia, which opposes to almost the whole world and seriously needs allies, will not agree to this country’s remaining beyond the Caucasus Stability Pact aiming to normalize the relations among the power centers in the Caucasus.

Besides, Iran’s participation in this platform had not been planned before. Even if there is such an effort, the West, which is the real author of the idea to form a new pact, will by no means agree to Iran’s participation in the serious political project. In this respect, Iranian factor may be considered the second biggest obstacle in the way of Caucasus Stability Pact (of course, after the tense relations among the participating countries).

Then why has the idea of establishing cooperation platform of the South Caucasus countries been put forward with Russia and Turkey’s right to guarantee, when there are such serious obstacles? Various suppositions can be put forth, but the most real variant is Turkey’s intention to insure itself against the consequences of Russia-West confrontation.

-Reply to the West- To sink Turkish economy

One factor can be taken into consideration. After developments in Georgia, tensity between Russia and the West caused damage to Turkey. Russia blamed Turkey for violation of Articles of Montreux Convention, illegal permission to entrance of NATO vessels in Black Sea and imposed an embargo against Ankara. Russian Foreign Minister Segey Lavrov stated that import of Turkish goods to the country was banned because of technical reason, not political and would be lifted soon. But Turkish goods cannot be entered Russian market more than a month. Moscow banned import of Turkish goods bought from European free economic zones. Turkey receives damage assessment worth ten millions every day. Turkey’s most profitable fields-tourism and energy depend on Russia seriously and taking it into consideration, it is not difficult to imagine that Moscow has chance to influence on Ankara.

-Caucasus Stability Pact –diplomatic maneuver
The fact is that Russia has few response measures taken against economic isolation policy of the West and top of this list stands economic damage to Turkey. Ankara understood this threat and proposing Caucasus Stability Pact tries to demonstrate that Turkey does not support West-Russia confrontation and looks at ongoing developments from different prism.
This is one of the aims of Ankara that it is interested in establishment of relations with real ally Armenia in the region. It is absurd to accept Caucasus Stability Pact seriously and assessed as one of the ways out of the situation. This step is an only diplomatic maneuver, which ensures itself.

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/ 16 July , 2018