Turkey’s Initiative to Create Security Platform May Settle Many Caucasus Conflicts

Politics Materials 10 September 2008 13:36 (UTC +04:00)
Turkey’s Initiative to Create Security Platform May Settle Many Caucasus Conflicts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 10 September / Trend corr. E.Tariverdiyeva/ Should Turkey's initiative to create a Caucasus Stability and Security Platform be adopted, it can settle many conflicts in the region, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"A strong power must dominate in Caucasus to constraint the countries to peace. A Russia-Turkey alliance can become and must become this force," Russian Parliament's MP Sergei Markov, Director of the Institute for Political Studies in Moscow, said to Trend .

Russia and Turkey commenced implementation of the plan to create the Caucasus Stability and Security Platform intended for five countries - Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia, Turkey and Armenia.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul discussed establishment of a new alliance with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has lately touched upon the issue in Moscow.

A personal meeting between Russian and Azerbaijani Presidents Dmitriy Medvedev and Ilham Aliyev may become the next stage of the negotiations on establishment of a new alliance. The two Presidents discussed the issue by phone last week and decided that a ministerial meeting must precede their personal talks.

Observers hope the Turkish initiative will add to settling of the lingered Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and other conflicts in the region - Georgia-Russia, Turkey- Armenia.

According to independent Azerbaijani political scientist Rasim Musabayov, the core of the initiative is to search for an opportunity to settle the conflicts, or at least to decrease the tension.

The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.

According to Markov, Turkey's initiative may become a pass from military confrontation to negotiations. "From the Soviet period with Moscow's domination the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not been ideally solved. Should single force dominate in Caucasus, all countries in the region will be objectively forced to peace," Markov said.

Musabayov sceptically takes implementation of the initiative, but he said should the tension on Armenia-Azerbaijan and Armenia-Turkey conflicts decrease within the initiative, that will be a progress.

"An endeavour to conduct any dialogue in the current situation, even with the assistance of Turkey and Russia, and to involve Armenia and Azerbaijan in it is positive in terms of regional security," Musabayov said to Trend .

Experts noted other positive features of the Platform. "It is very important for Turkey's initiative to entail intensive development of economic cooperation in the region and to provide for freedom of movement to citizens, as well as to minimize United States' influence," Markov said.

Establishment of a union in Caucasus has been many times discussed amongst heads of states. Turkey's ex-President Suleyman Demirel was the first to initiate in mid 90s creation of so-called Caucasus Security Platform. However, Ankara's initiative failed due to strained relations with Yerevan.

R.Agayev ( Moscow), V.Zhavoronkova, M.Ibrahimov contributed to the article.

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