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Ankara is preparing for a complex chess game in the Caucasus
Material posted: Publication date: 17-12-2013

12 December to participate in the next meeting of the Council of foreign Ministers of member States of the black sea economic cooperation (BSEC) in Armenia was visited by the Minister of foreign Affairs of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu. This is the first since 2008, the visit of Armenia's high-ranking Turkish official.

Armenia and Turkey have still not restored diplomatic relations, opened a land border, do not pull together a position on the question of the attitude to the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey. After a long stay of the process of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations in deadlock state visit Davutoglu could not fail to arouse interest.

A month earlier the Russian-Turkish summit meeting (4th meeting of the cooperation Council of higher level in Saint-Petersburg) discussed a wide range of foreign policy issues. The sides exchanged views on the current processes in the South Caucasus. During the summit, and after it felt the aspiration of Ankara to demonstrate its involvement in the region – with the expectation that Russia, as you like to think in Ankara, with the growing understanding of such activity partners (1).


The revival of the topic of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations known statements of Ahmet Davutoglu about Turkey allegedly being conducted preparations for unblocking the border with Armenia, a meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Vienna on November 19, held immediately after the visit of Ilham Aliyev to Turkey, are stacked in line with the attempts of Turkish diplomacy to assert its role in regional politics in the Caucasus. Likely to be affected here and the difficulties that Ankara was experiencing in another region – the middle East. At some point, the German media spoke about it very hard, writing that "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ensured that the middle East was left virtually any government that is willing to talk to him" (Die Tageszeitung, 04.12.13). This is certainly an exaggeration, but ignore the fact that Ankara's policy on the Syrian track meets more and more resistance. This encourages Ankara to some redistribution of regional priorities. One of the regions to which Ankara recently clearly shifts its attention, is the South Caucasus. Recent developments here by the end of the year increased. On the one hand, Armenia is fast approaching the accession to the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, on the other hand, Georgia continues to make advances towards Euro-Atlantic center of power. This Omni directional foreign policy orientations of the two republics increases the chances of Ankara to seek and find their niche influence in the region, which is divided by internal borders and foreign policy priorities.

One such opportunity – try-Turkey the role of mediator between the interests of the EU in the South Caucasus. At the time Brussels, promoting the program "Eastern partnership" in the Caucasus, financed the construction of individual sections of the Armenian-Georgian border, modernization of checkpoints between the two a potential, expected, Caucasian participants in political Association with the EU. Modernization of the checkpoint was funded by the European Union within the programme "integrated border Management". Now, when I outlined the perspective of the establishment on the borders of Armenia the new customs regime, these attachments shall be submitted to the Brussels and if not "money down the drain", at least it is not proven. In the context of the expected occurrence in the South Caucasus two different regimes of border management Brussels and Ankara may come to certain agreements in relation to Armenia. Turkey associated with the EU customs Union and has close trade and economic ties with Georgia - the only South Caucasus Republic, which was initialed at the Vilnius summit of the Eastern partnership the Association Agreement with the European Union. Turkey is the largest trade partner of Georgia, and the strong position of the Turkish capital can be seen by Brussels as a launch pad for Turkish economic expansion in Armenia... Even in the closed land border, with Turkish exports to Armenia expressed quite an impressive figure in $240 - $250 million.

Appears interesting for Turkey scheme, promising her term strengthening of trade and economic positions in the region. With final admission of Georgia to the free trade zone with the EU, which is expected by the end of 2014 or early 2015, Turkey's position in Georgia will be strengthened even more. The penetration of Turkish public and private investment in the Georgian economy strengthens. To the administrative control of the flow of goods from Europe to Armenia, the Turkish side, one way or another, will be involved. Not excluded attempts to connect Turkish representatives to the customs clearance of imports and exports on the Armenian-Georgian border.

Also, we cannot exclude attempts of Ankara to reach a higher level of dialogue with Russia on the South Caucasus, to improve relations with Armenia, translate them only in trade and economic direction before the occurrence of the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide. From "football diplomacy" in previous years, Turkey will most likely try to go to the drawing of the South Caucasus complex chess game.

(1) With the Turkish leadership maintains trusting relationships with Washington. On the eve of departure to Yerevan Davutoglu had a thorough telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry. As passed by the Turkish media, the main topics of conversation were Cyprus, Syria and the situation in the Caucasus.



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