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Religion et politique dans le Caucase post-soviétique

Bayram Balcı
Raoul Motika

4. Turkish Policy toward the Caucasus: Some General Considerations

Mustafa Aydın

Texte intégral

1Since the worldwide changes, experienced from the late 1980s onwards, Turkey, because of its strong historical, cultural, ethnic and linguistic bonds, found itself at the centre of the Eurasian region – a focal point of global geopolitics. The emergence of eight independent States in Central Asia and the Caucasus to Turkey’s northeast at the end of the Cold War, arguably enlarged its role in the world, and presented Turkey both opportunities and potential risks in the region.

Adapting to the New Environment

2Having based its post-war foreign and security policies on the strategic importance for the West of its location vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, Turkey, initially, hardly welcomed the end of the Cold War. As the relevance of NATO in the new world order was opened up to discussion, Turkey suddenly found itself in a « security limbo ». While the emergence of liberal democracies in Eastern Europe created a buffer zone between Western Europe and Russia, Turkey still felt threatened by the lingering uncertainties regarding its immediate neighbourhood.

3It also became clear that Turkey could no longer follow its traditional foreign policy posture of non-involvement – inherited from the Kemalist period – in regional issues. At this juncture, the emergence of newly independent States beyond its Caucasian border was a challenge. Nevertheless, Turkey’s response to the Soviet collapse in 1991 was, perhaps not surprisingly, somewhat cautious, especially at the outset when the status of the new republics was far from clear.

4Since then, however, Turkish policy toward the Caucasus has changed dramatically, and after the USSR formally broke up in December 1991, the implementation of a new policy orientation soon followed. Thus Turkey immediately recognized the independence of the new republics: Azerbaijan on December 9, Georgia and Armenia on December 16, alongside all the former Soviet countries. After the recognition, Turkey signed protocols with each of them – except Armenia – initiating diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level. As a result, by the end of 1991, Turkey had completely abandoned its Moscow-centered stance, and embarked on a program of active relations with the Soviet successor States. Within the first year of independence alone, over 1170 Turkish delegations had visited both the Caucasus and Central Asia, and in October 1992 Turkey hosted the presidents of all Turkic States in Istanbul for an inaugural Turkic Summit. Direct air connections and a satellite broadcast link were set up, and to facilitate these activities, the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA) was established in Ankara in January 1992.

  • 1 The so-called “Turkish Model” has been discussed extensively in the literature. For example see, İd (...)

5While Turkey was aiming to achieve a greater role in the region, the fear that the ideological vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet regime could lead to Islamic fundamentalism among the Muslims of Eurasia led the West to promote Turkey as a Muslim, yet secular and democratic model1. Hence, as a result of growing self-confidence about its potential and political support in the West, Turkey felt ready to take advantage of the economic and political opportunities offered by the newly independent States of Eurasia.

Regional Rivalries

6Despite all the promising signs, it quickly became clear that Turkey was neither capable of capitulating on them, nor capable of fïlling the power vacuum. On the contrary, the competition between the rival countries seeking influence in the rapidly changing Eurasia became a 21st century replica of the ‘Great Game’, with the Russian Federation, Turkey, Iran and the United States among others envisioning becoming key players. The competition included economic, political, ideological and religious dimensions, thus offering various possibilities for widespread conflict.

7From the Turkish perspective, the possibility of a military confrontation with either Iran or Russia provided ample concern. Turkey worried that Iran would attempt to have an impact throughout the Caucasus on people’s identification to shia Islam – an apprehension shared at the time by the Russian Federation and the West in general. Iran, on the other hand, was concerned that Turkey’s active role in the region might revive a pan-Turkic hegemony on its borders. Thus, a brief competition ensued between the two opposing models of political development for the Turco-Muslim peoples of Eurasia; the secular model of Turkey with its political pluralism and the Islamist theocracy supported by Iran. However, it soon became clear that neither one nor the other had enough political cloth and economic power to back up its ambitions.

8While Turkey became the fïrst country to extend recognition to Azerbaijan, Iran did not conceal its concern, accusing Turkey of pan-Turkism, and the West of instigating such sentiments. Fears were expressed that the Turkish recognition would encourage independent Azerbaijan to lay claim to a ‘greater Azerbaijan’. The existence of about 20 million Azeris – out of a roughly 60-million population – makes Iran edgy and afraid that Iranian Azerbaijan might get restless after the independence of Soviet Azerbaijan. The concern was exacerbated earlier in Azerbaijan by the nationalist rhetoric of the President Elchibey. Though Turkey never played to such sentiments and though Azerbaijan after Aliyev’s rise to power has stayed clear of the issue, Iran still dreads the possibility that another nationalist leadership might come to power in Azerbaijan. In such a case, Iran will inevitably see Turkey as the beneficiary in their evolving relationships, which directly affect Iran’s territorial integrity, and might put itself on a high-stakes conflict path with Turkey.

  • 2 Velayeti’s speech in a conference cited in Korkmaz HAKTANIR, “Developments in Central Asia and Turk (...)

9Although Turkey and Iran share similar concerns about the continuation of the Karabakh conflict, they believe in different strategies on how to solve the problem. While Turkey prefers to have the OSCE dealing with the conflict, Iran, which also has a large Armenian minority, has taken a more direct approach by negotiating with, and mediating as a go-between for both Caucasian republics. While Iran’s bilateral initiatives raised concerns in Turkey about a possible increase in Iranian influence, Iran, in turn showed concerned about Turkey’s cooperation with the US on this matter, which was seen as paving the way for’the growing American influence in the région’2.

  • 3 Statement was made by the Russian Frontier Forces Commander in August 1994, see Carol MIGDALOWITZ, (...)

10While Turkey was locked in an influence competition with Iran, it did not wish at the same time to alarm Moscow by exerting too much influence in the region. While Russia initially welcomed Turkish influence in the region as a counterweight against Iranian dominated pan-Islamism, those views have long been modified, and Russia, increasingly concerned about Turkish intentions, has become more aggressive in its assertion of its own rights in its’near abroad’. Hence, after a brief period of self-isolation, Russia has moved to reestablish its place in the region as a dominant actor. In this move, political, economic and military pressures were used extensively. It even argued that stability in the Caucasus would be threatened without a Russian presence in Azerbaijan; implicitly threatening that if the latter did not accept Russian troops and grant oil concessions, Russia could support Armenia in its conflict with Azerbaijan.3 These put Russia and Turkey on opposite sides, as the latter unequivocally supported Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia.

  • 4 For example see “Turkish PM Demirel Visits Moscow: Useful, Constructive Talks Expected,” FBIS-SOV, (...)

11Turkey, however, realizing the Russian sensitivities regarding ethnic strife in the Caucasus, has repeatedly reassured Moscow of its opposition to any further fragmentation of Russia, and of its support for the CIS’s stability and integrity4. On the other hand, Turkey stood firm in its opposition to Russia’s wish to review arrangements in the Caucasus of Europe’s Treaty on Conventional Forces. In the end, Russia was able to convince the West to modify the treaty and, despite Turkish protests, returned many of its previously withdrawn military forces to the Caucasus. As a result, Turkey, since 1995 became conscious of the dangers of confrontation, and adopted a policy stressing that the benefits of cooperation with Russia are still greater than those stemming from the rest of the former Soviet republics.

  • 5 Briefing, No 1023, 9 January 1995, pp. 7-8; and No 1024, 16 January 1995, p. 10.
  • 6 For public accusation from the Head of Russian Federal Counterintelligence Service on December 20, (...)
  • 7 Briefing, 1 May 1995, No 1039, p. 13; 19 June 1995, No 1045, p. 13.

12Although Turkey avoids getting involved in any way in the conflicts on Russian territory, the quest of the Chechens for independence has rapidly become a sore point in Turkish-Russian relations. The crisis is critical for Turkey, not only because Turkish public opinion has shown great sympathy for the Chechen cause, but also because the crisis has displayed similarities to Turkey’s Kurdish problem. While criticizing Russia for its excessive use of force in Chechnya, Turkey always carefully stated that the matter was and remains an internal affair of the Russian Federation.5 Nonetheless, Turkey’s relations with Russia had worsened earlier with Russian claims about the Chechens obtaining assistance and volunteers from Turkey.6 Moreover, it was reported that the Russians were showing signs of supporting the secessionist Kurdish groups in Turkey in response to the alleged Turkish involvement in Chechnya.7 However, Turkey avoided direct involvement and the issue subsided after the 1996 cease-fire. Since the beginning if the second war from October 1999 onwards, Turkey carefully remained silent.

Relations with Armenia

  • 8 See Briefing, March 19, 1991, p. 3.

13Turkey’s relations with Armenia have always been a delicate issue because of their common historical legacy and long inherited distrust. Although Turkey recognized Armenian independence on December 16, 1991, without any preconditions, their common border immediately became a source of controversy as Armenia has consistently refused to recognize the border line. Originally drawn by the Gumru Treaty signed on December 2, 1920, between Turkey and the short-lived independent Armenian Republic, it was later confirmed by the Kars Treaty of 1921 between the Soviet Union and Turkey. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, the border between Armenia and Turkey came to be questioned in Armenia by some parliamentarians, who called for the non-recognition of the borders established by the Kars Treaty.8 Moreover, the preamble of the Armenian Constitution implicitly laid claims on Turkish territories by referring to Armenian Independence Declaration that called for the restitution of the’unjustly lost [territories] during and after the First World War’. Thus, in the spring of 1992, Turkey stipulated that it would not formalize diplomatic relations with Armenia until it provided a formal written recognition of the existing borders.

14Apart from the border issue, references in the Armenian Independence Declaration to the ‘killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turkey in 1915’, and Armenian efforts to obtain international recognition for the ‘genocide’ exacerbated tensions. Although former Armenian President Ter-Petrosyan, recognized the need to enhance his country’s relations with Turkey on a realistic basis, he refrained from bringing up the issue on the agenda. Soon after, the Karabakh problem prevented further rapprochement. Although early in the independence process both sides seemed to agree on the need to overcome psychological barriers between both nations, moves by the Armenians over the Karabakh caused Turkish public opinion to press Ankara to speak out firmly against Armenian actions, and thus halted any process of reconciliation. With the advent of nationalist Kocharian into power in Armenia in March 1997, rapprochement opportunities were shelved for some time, to be revived tentatively only in late 2003.

15Furthermore, the signature of a Friendship and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and Armenia in 1997, allowing Russian forces to be stationed in the country, has put Armenia and Turkey on the opposite sides of the emerging loosely defined political axis in the Caucasus: the Russian Federation, Armenia and Iran on the one side; the US, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey on the other.

  • 9 Among others, former president Turgut Özal argued that Turkey “had the right to intervene”». See Fi (...)
  • 10 See Milliyet, 25 February 1995, p. 17; and 8 May 1995, p. 13.

16The Karabakh problem has been an important constraint on the Turkish policy towards the Caucasus in general, presenting unacceptable options with dangerous ramifications. A longstanding sympathy for the Azeris exists in the Turkish public opinion, which has strongly encouraged the government to side with Azerbaijan, supporting even military intervention.9 The government, however, being conscious that the intervention might result in a deterioration of relations with both Russia and the US, has refrained from acting on these pressures and chose to mobilize an international response to Armenian attacks in Karabakh. Turkey showed awareness of the importance of the ʻRussian factorʼ to solve the conflict by seeking Russian cooperation within the OSCE. However, when the matter of peace-keeping was discussed, following the cease-fire between the warring parties on 12 May 1994, Turkey advocated for the deployment of a multinational force under the OSCE supervision, and against Russian peacekeepers as suggested by Moscow. Turkey saw in the Russian proposal another attempt to reaffirm their leadership in the region and to exclude the rest of the world from the Caucasus.10

17Although Turkey has so far been able to remain clear of any military involvement in the conflict, the Karabakh issue firmly underscores the dilemmas that Turkey may face in its future efforts to maintain neutrality regarding ethnic conflicts in the former Soviet republics. Turkish policy during the conflict aimed at ensuring political measures to prevent the conflict from escalating to a level that seriously threatens Turkish security, and thus compels military intervention. However, the conflict has also prevented both sides from putting an end to historic animosities.

  • 11 For an evaluation of the views of Turkish and Armenian participants about the activities of the Com (...)

18Since then, the Turkish-Armenian relations have been unfortunately conditioned by the developments in the Karabakh issue and by Armenians’lobbying to have the 1915 “genocide” recognized as such by the international community. Although these attempts, both open and covert, to bring about a modus operandi between Turkey and Armenia were numerous, all failed. One of the most ambitious initiatives, the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission, established in July 2001 with the blessing of both ministries of foreign affairs, failed and disbanded in late December the same year after only three meetings.11 The pressuring of Turkey by Europe to open its border with Armenia, in the context of the Turkish EU candidacy, was not well received in Turkey and raised expectations and hardened the position of Armenia, who from the beginning stands on a non-compromising non-negotiating position.

Relations with Azerbaijan

19As anticipated by experts, Azerbaijan is the Caucasian country with which Turkey made the most significant progress in its post-Cold War relations. The expectation proved correct and Turkish-Azerbaijani relations started off with a great leap forward thanks to cultural, linguistic, and historic bonds as well as common economic, political and strategic interests. In time, Turkey has become the only country that consistently supported Azerbaijan in its struggle over the Karabakh, risking its relations with Armenia and Russia along the way.

20Although these harmonious relationships established under president Elchibey were somewhat cooled down with the advent in Azerbaijan of Heydar Aliyev, the cooperation continued and even expanded into various domains. Apart from strategic cooperation against Russian attempts to reestablish its hegemony over the Caucasus, both countries have been cooperating on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project (BTC, providing an export pipeline to Azerbaijani oil and gas through Turkey), on various cultural programs and thriving trade, as well as on the training of the national army of Azerbaijan by Turkish military experts. Moreover, Aliyev’s policy of avoiding Russian or Iranian alienation in the region while firmly cooperating with the West facilitated Turkey to move away from its earlier confrontational line with Russia, Iran and Armenia.

21After Ilham Aliyev replaced his father Heydar at the head of Azerbaijan, Turkey’s position, together with the United States, was to lean towards stability and support Ilham Aliyev’s rise to power. In the recent Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, Turkish observers were even accused by the opposition of hastily endorsing election results as’fair’without raising questions about irregularities. Nevertheless, after 15 years of intense cooperation on wide ranging issues, Turkish-Azerbaijani relations currently appear to be experiencing a certain fatigue.

Relations with Georgia

22After the collapse of the USSR, Georgia has rapidly become one of Turkey’s most important foreign policy challenges. The relations have thrived on the basis of Georgian opposition to Russian leadership in the Caucasus, on its support to the realization of the BTC project, and on its willingness to cooperate with Turkey on a wide variety of issues, from tourism to security. Turkey, in return, has been more than willing to extend its economic, political and military support to Georgiain exchange of a foothold in the Caucasus and a gateway to Central Asia.

  • 12 According to 2000 figures, Turkey accounted for 17,7 percent of Georgia’s total trade, followed by (...)
  • 13 Personal discussions with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkish Armed Forces.

23In contrast to Russian meddling with ethnic issues in Georgia, Turkey’s balanced approach to Abhazian and Ossetian problems and its continuing reaffirmation of Georgian territorial integrity greatly helped to enhance the relationship and overcome their common historical problems to build a successful strategic partnership in the region, so that Turkey became the biggest trade partner of Georgia shortly after independence.12 Georgia, whose independence should be protected at all cost, is « the most important country » for Turkish security13. In addition, starting with cooperation in military education, Turkey, under the Partnership for Peace Program of NATO (PfP), provided advice and support in establishing the Georgian national army. Then both countries moved on to cooperate in the restoration of Marnauli airfield and Vaziyani military base in Georgia after the withdrawal of the Russian forces.

  • 14 Personal interviews with high level Turkish decision makers.

24Recently, when Georgia was again put under pressure by Russia in the aftermath of September 11th events, with accusations that it was harbouring Chechen gunmen in the Pankisi valley, Turkey, with the American backing, offered its support. However, after the rise of Mikheil Saakashvili to power in Georgia, Turkish-Georgian relations have somewhat cooled down as the level of Turkish-Russian cooperation deepened. Although Turkey was again helpful to the Georgian government during the 2003 crisis with Adjaria and intervened on behalf of the central government to facilitate the withdrawal of Aslan Abashidze from Adjaria without bloodshed, Saakashvili’s unpredictable style of governing raised concerns among Turkish decision makers very early.14 Moreover, his increasing use of ethnic rhetoric in his statements, following the example of the first Georgian president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, created uneasiness in Turkey, where more ethnic Abkhaz than in Abkhazia itself leave.

Turkey’s Interest in the Caspian resources

  • 15 On this subject, see Mustafa AYDIN, New Geopolitics of Central Asia and the Caucasus;Causes of Inst (...)

25Beyond regional conflicts, the peculiarities of the competition over the Caspian energy resources have forced Turkey, in its desire to become a regional hub, to pay a closer attention to the Caucasian developments. For years, Russia has been keenly interested in retaining, or recovering, its political influence in the Caspian Basin. To regain it, Russians supported the northern route to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk as the best transit route for Caspian oil. Had Russia succeeded in its effort, this would have ensured Moscow’s exclusive strategic control over the region’s energy resources. Turkey, on the other hand, supported by the United States and Georgia and Azerbaijan, proposed a western route through Georgia and Turkey to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. What was at stake was not only oil and gas transit revenues that both countries could extract from pipelines passing through their respective territories. The pipeline network was clearly seen as one of the key factors in securing and maintaining influence throughout Eurasia.15

26Although the shortest route for a pipeline from Azerbaijan to the Mediterranean crosses Armenia, the unresolved Karabakh conflict made this route unrealizable. Americans being opposed to any southern route through Iran, the western line through Georgia was left as the only possible exporting route. However, Georgia, too, has been struggling with a number of internal conflicts – a situation that has obviously been in Russia’s interest. The arrival of American advisers in Georgia after the September 11th attacks, among other things, has given a boost to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) project, which the US have supported politically from the beginning.

  • 16 Michael LELYVELD, “Caspian: Western Oil Companies Approve Construction of BTC Oil Pipeline,” RFE/RL(...)

27The establishment of the BTC Consortium and BTC Investment companies on August 1, 2002 and the approval of credit agreements to build the pipeline by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in early November 2003 cleared the way for the pipeline construction.16 Eventually, the line fill phase of the BTC pipeline began at the Saganchal oil terminal in Azerbaijan on May 10, 2005, and arrived at the second pumping station in Kars, Turkey, on January, 4, 2006. The first drop of oil to be exported from the Ceyhan marine terminal is due to arrive in the second half of the year.

28In parallel to the BTC project, the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) Project to bring natural gas from ShahDeniz (Azerbaijan) through Georgia to Turkey has also moved ahead. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey signed Intergovernmental Agreements in 2001 and Turkey agreed to buy 6.6 bcm of Azeri natural gas over 15 years. The development of the ShahDeniz area started on June 2001 and the construction of the pipeline in February 2003, running parallel to the BTC, is to be completed in 2006.17 The intergovernmental agreement to extend this line to Greece was signed between Turkey and Greece on February 23, 2003 and negotiations continue to extend it to other EU countries.18


29The collapse of the Soviet power and the disintegration of the Soviet Union have been a mixed blessing for Turkey. While the century-old Russian-Soviet threat to Turkey’s security has disappeared, the vacuum left in Central Asia and the Caucasus rapidly became a breeding ground for potential risks and threats for regional security. At the same time, Turkey, since 1991, has been repeatedly portrayed as an important stabilizing actor in the emerging Caucasian geopolitical disorder. The positive role Turkey may play in the region has been extensively discussed not only within Turkey but also in the West.

30While Turkey has traditionally avoided involvement in regional politics, it has been unavoidably drawn into the volatile new politics of the Caucasus, where Armenia and Azerbaijan are locked in a potentially expandable conflict; where Georgian politics are highly unstable. For its part, Turkey, mindful of the disruptive impacts of sub-nationalism and ultra-nationalism, has been eager to promote the positive aspects of national formation in the region, making clear that transitional concepts based on Islam or pan-Turkism are not part of its Caucasian or Central Asian policy.

31Indeed, Turkey is currently undergoing a dramatic shift in its traditional foreign policy, increasingly focusing on the Caucasus, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Although Turkey has disavowed any intention of intervening militarily in inter-republican clashes within former Soviet territory, it is still conceivable that Turkish forces might be invited to play the role of peace-keepers. In this context, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict gave Turkey a good idea of what kind of difficulties it might encounter if it were to get involved in such ethnic conflicts.

32The emergence of independent republics in the Caucasus represented a turning point in Turkey’s regional role and policies. Turkey has become one of the important players in a region where it previously had only a marginal influence and no active involvement. Although economic and political conditions in the region are unlikely to stabilize for some years, it is without doubt that Turkish policymakers will continue with their efforts to create new networks of interdependency between Ankara and the regional capitals. Also, it is without doubt that other regional players, especially Russia and Iran, will continue to view these policies with suspicion and challenge them.

33Even if Turkey’s initial vision towards Eurasia proved somewhat unrealistic, the effects it generated did set the tone for Turkish policy for the rest of the 1990s and early 2000s. While Turkey has not necessarily become the model to which the new States of Eurasia aspire, its thriving private sector, its secular approach toward Islam and its usually functioning democracy continue to have their appeal in the region. Meanwhile Turkey had learned two important lessons vis-a-vis its relationship with Russia; it is an important economic partner for Turkey, and an overly aggressive foreign policy in Eurasia is not advisable, given the risk of escalation into direct confrontation with Russia, who remains the regional superpower.

  • 19 Mevlut Katik, “Turkish Party Leader Seeks Favour in Central Asia,” EurasiaNet Business and Economic (...)

34Eventually, although the advent of Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP) to power in Turkey after the November 2002 elections with its conservative rhetoric and Islamic credentials briefly raised doubts about Turkey’s commitments towards the region, it soon became clear that it resulted from a crowded international agenda (the US intervention in Iraq, the ups and downs of Turkish-EU relations and the Cyprus-related discussions within the country). The government since late 2003 presses for closer relations with the regional countries, especially in the economic sphere.19 After almost a year of inaction, a number of visits by Prime Minister Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül to the region showed Turkey’s continuing interest, despite its preoccupation with EU membership, which would also clearly increase Turkey’s attraction in the eyes of the regional countries in the long run.


1 The so-called “Turkish Model” has been discussed extensively in the literature. For example see, İdris BAL, Turkey’s Relations with the West and the Turkic Republics: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Model, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2000; and Andrew MANGO, “The Turkish Model,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 29, No. 4, October 1993, pp. 726-757. DOI: 10.1080/00263209308700977.

2 Velayeti’s speech in a conference cited in Korkmaz HAKTANIR, “Developments in Central Asia and Turkish-Iranian Relations,” Middle East Business and Banking, June 1992, p. 11.

3 Statement was made by the Russian Frontier Forces Commander in August 1994, see Carol MIGDALOWITZ, “Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict,” CRS Issue Brief, updated 12 April 1995, The Library of Congress, Foreign Affairs and National Defence Division, Washington, D.C., p. 13.

4 For example see “Turkish PM Demirel Visits Moscow: Useful, Constructive Talks Expected,” FBIS-SOV, 27 May 1992, pp. 15-16.

5 Briefing, No 1023, 9 January 1995, pp. 7-8; and No 1024, 16 January 1995, p. 10.

6 For public accusation from the Head of Russian Federal Counterintelligence Service on December 20, 1995, that volunteer fighters from Turkey were discovered in the Northern Caucasus, mainly in Chechnya, see FBIS-SOV, 3 February 1995, p. 71.

7 Briefing, 1 May 1995, No 1039, p. 13; 19 June 1995, No 1045, p. 13.

8 See Briefing, March 19, 1991, p. 3.

9 Among others, former president Turgut Özal argued that Turkey “had the right to intervene”». See Financial Times Report on Turkey, 7 May 1993, p. 5.

10 See Milliyet, 25 February 1995, p. 17; and 8 May 1995, p. 13.

11 For an evaluation of the views of Turkish and Armenian participants about the activities of the Commission and the reactions it gathered from both countries and interested parties see, Kamer KASIM, “Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission; Missed Opportunity,” Journal of Turkish Weekly, 13 November 2004. URL:

12 According to 2000 figures, Turkey accounted for 17,7 percent of Georgia’s total trade, followed by Russia (15.4), Germany (8,4), Azerbaijan (7,6), and the USA (7,5). The Georgian Times, February 7, 2001.

13 Personal discussions with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkish Armed Forces.

14 Personal interviews with high level Turkish decision makers.

15 On this subject, see Mustafa AYDIN, New Geopolitics of Central Asia and the Caucasus;Causes of Instability and Predicament, Ankara, Center for Strategic Research, 2000, pp. 56-71. URL:

16 Michael LELYVELD, “Caspian: Western Oil Companies Approve Construction of BTC Oil Pipeline,” RFE/RL, August 5, 2002. URL:, and Mevlut KATIK, “Amid Risks, Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline Edges Forward,” EurasiaNet Businessand Economics, December 1, 2003. URL:

17 See Turkish Petroleum Co., International Projects,

18 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Turkey’s Energy Policy,”, December 2003, p. 3.

19 Mevlut Katik, “Turkish Party Leader Seeks Favour in Central Asia,” EurasiaNet Business and Economic,January 14, 2003,


Professor, Ankara University

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