New GUAM?

By Anna Magda

Turkish diplomacy has intensified contacts with the former Soviet Union countries. February 15 visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu in Kiev, during which he stated that "the formation of an anti-Azerbaijani alliance between Russia and Armenia has become a fait accompli, threatening the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan."

 

The planned visit of Turkish President Erdogan in Baku did not take place because of the terrorist attack in Ankara. But February 19 was held the fifth meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia. It seems that the Turkish diplomacy is trying to revive the likeness of GUAM as a system of cross-interaction between the countries having difficulties with Russia.

 

The idea of establishing GUAM appeared in the mid-1990s as an alternative to the CIS. More on the Vienna Conference in June 1996, Moldova and Georgia have jointly stated that the presence of Russian troops on their territory in breach of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). In October 1997, at a forum in Strasbourg, representatives of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Moldova announced their intention to create a system of GUAM consultations in order to "counteract the Russian hegemony." However, after coming to power of President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan has become separate from participation in this association. Since then, attempts to revive GUAM undertaken by external players. In 2005-2007, Poland undertook such an effort, trying with the help of President Victor Yushchenko to involve GUAM Lithuania and Romania.

 

It seems now to be the informal leader of the GUAM staking a claim not Warsaw and Ankara. The idea of Turkey's leadership in the alternative Russian box itself is not new. Its ideology was the first Prime Minister and then President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel (1991-2000). At a meeting in Ankara on 31 October 1992 in Turkey, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan signed a Declaration of Cooperation (Ankara Declaration). At a meeting in Antalya on 28 March 1993 they signed the Declaration on mutual assistance and unity of the Turkic states and nations (Antalya Declaration). Create a mechanism for real partnership on the basis of the Ankara and Antalya declarations at the time it failed: the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh proved that Turkey does not have the resources for a real impact on the processes in the Caucasus and especially in Central Asia.

 

At this time, the Turkish diplomacy hopes to revive the partnership with a different composition. Ankara is betting not just on the Turkish partners, and countries with claims to Russia (Georgia, Ukraine) or are afraid of Russia's cooperation with their opponents (Azerbaijan). In theory, this format may be interested in Moldova and Romania. The recent visit of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has supported the Turkish position on Syria, spawned in Ankara hopes for a strategic partnership with Germany. The last option is supported in Washington.

 

However, the format "Turkish GUAM" today unrealistic. . "Turkish GUAM" was created in the early 1990s as an updated version of the Pan-Turkism. Non-Turkic countries have a complex relationship with him, and Turkish are not ready to completely shift to Ankara with a weak Turkish military "umbrella."

 

Firstly, in Georgia there are the traditional concerns of possible territorial claims of Turkey. We are primarily talking about Adzharia with its traditional ties with Turkey. In Moscow and Yerevan are increasingly the voices of the possibility of termination of the peace treaty with Turkey in 1921 year. However, in this case, the territorial claims may arise not only from Armenia to Turkey (Ararat), but also from Turkey to Georgia (Adzharia).

 

Second, the leadership of Azerbaijan is concerned about the aggravation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Russian-Turkish partnership that existed prior to November last year, gave rise to Baku hopes for the transformation of Moscow's position in the favorable for themselves side. The interaction between Moscow and Ankara gave rise to uncertainty in Yerevan in the future of Russia's position. Ilham Aliyev's administration understands that a dramatic rapprochement with Turkey Baku may lead to the strengthening of Russian-Armenian alliance and create in Yerevan hopes to repeat in the NKR Abkhazian scenario.

 

Third, there are potential conflicts between Turkey and Ukraine. Today in Kyiv is dominated by anti-Russian logic. But Davutoglu government increasingly assumes the role of defender of the opposition Russian Crimean Tatar organizations. Creating their respective units in the Kherson region raises the question of whether to preserve the future Kyiv control over the territory.

 

 

29.02.2016

 

 

 
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