The South Ossetian Crisis and Turkey

October, 2008

Turkey’s reaction towards the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia came as a surprise to many European politicians. It was not only the timing of the visit to Moscow of Turkish president Abdulla Gyul and premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan that took place immediately after the beginning of hostilities in South Ossetia, but also because the visit looked like Ankara’s show of support of Russia as an ally.

A number of experts presume that:

a) as the war in South Ossetia grew out of the US attempts to draw Russia into this local conflict, growing into a regional one and

b) a certain chill began to be felt in the relations between Ankara and Washington following that; thus signs of outlines of a potential “condominium” of Russia and Turkey over the Greater Black Sea region taking shape, and given their intention to build up a system of regional security from the Balkans to Caspian Sea on their own, without assistance from non-resident countries in this region, is not out of the question.

Many in the West grew indignant over these developments as they had long been accustomed to regard Turkey as a satellite of the leading nations of the North Atlantic alliance. However, times are changing, and many in the present-day Turkey stopped viewing the West as their friend. The reasons are many… They include US policies in Iraq, especially with reference to the Kurdish problem; and the situation of Turkmen, Turkish kith and kin, the area of whose residence is almost identical with the territory of the so-called “Free Kurdistan” (a quasi-state of Kurds created “under the US security umbrella”), but with Turkmen living suffering from a genocide on the hands of military Kurdish formations, and Washington trying to close its eyes on this. To add up to this is the US intention to implement its project of “Greater Middle East” with plans to have – among other things – bringing together the Iraqi, Turkish, Syrian and Iranian Kurds with the corresponding re-mapping of national borders in the Middle East. (It must be noted that despite the evident threat to Turkey’s sovereignty, these plans were supported by “Party of Justice and Development”, the ruling party led by R.T.Erdogan). Ankara cannot be unconcerned over issues like the absence of a solution of key issues relating to the Kurds issue, willing to ensure its energy security, its EU entry, the refusal of the rest of the world to recognise the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus and the actual failure to create a Turk-Islamic union, and other issues,

The political crisis in Turkey caused by the standoff of the ruling Islamic party and nationalist forces represented by the People’s Republican Party (Deniz Baikal) that is supported by the pro-US Turkish top military leaders along with US attempts to weaken Ankara’s positions in the Black Sea (frontier) states, in the South Caucasus as well as the Northern Iraq make Turkey face a serious geopolitical choice. The option will determine both the implementation of Turkish ruling elites desire to make their country a leading nation in the Near East and the Greater Black Sea region, as well as the future of Turkey’s statehood. What has made the Turkish political leadership respond to the developments in South Ossetia in a specific way that at first puzzled the West so? Washington and Brussels have come to realize that to expect Turkey act in the Greater Black Sea region as “their own”, a 100% (“North Atlantic”) state is now highly unlikely. The US attempts to secure a foothold in the Trans-Caucasus by way of drawing Georgia into the NATO orbit at any cost cannot leave Ankara unconcerned given its claims to create a “strategic corridor” in-between Black and Caspian seas. For that matter, in turn, the United States keeps a close watch of the movements of Azerbaijan, Turkey’s principal strategic partner in the Caucasus.

Matthew Braiza’s recent statements shed enough light on the US stance on the issue. Stressing that until recently “Georgia acted as a regional hub setting the political rhythm and dictating political fashion to other countries”, Braiza underlined that as “the Georgian knot has been severed, the dialogue between Turkey and Russia over Armenia has become inevitable.” Given that Georgia’s former status of a safe transit state ensuring transport of oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, has been dramatically shaken Turkey and Azerbaijan will need to mend their relations with Armenia, which they now regard as an “extra route for the transport of Caspian hydrocarbons, which can play this role only in the conditions of warming of interstate relations in the “Ankara-Yerevan-Baku” triangle. This can account for both the Turkish activities regarding Armenia in August and September that came as a surprise to many, and Turkish intention to broker the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Given certain frictions with Washington, the latter is the factor coercing the Turkish leaders to begin dialogue with Moscow. It can be recollected that in the early 1990s when preferential routes of the Baku-Tbilisi-Jeihan oil pipeline were discussed, the Turkish side proposed the so-called “two-pronged formula” of a territorial exchange for Azerbaijan and Armenia (this “smart” scheme was suggested to Turks by US intelligence agent Paul Gobble). In line with the formula, Azerbaijan was to depart from the mountainous parts of Nagorno Karabakh with its predominantly Armenian population, which was to become a part of Armenia. In exchange Yerevan was to give away to Baku the strategically important Zangezur corridor.

As for Moscow, it appears it is interested in bringing its view of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh closer to that of Ankara – at least with an eye to prevent further growth of violence in this sub-region. The chances are that Moscow would soon boost activities in consolidating its relations along the axis “Yerevan - Ankara.” Russia is capable of achieving this, given its own and Armenia’s membership in the OTCS and the pending Armenian presidency in this organisation in 2009 as well as taking into account the roles played in Armenian economy by Russian companies Gazprom, Rosatom and Inter RAO UPS, the ongoing restoration by the Russia’s “Rossiyskiye Zhelezniye Dorogi.” of the Armenia-Turkey railroad, and the Russian military base in Gyumri. The current developments have become one of the factors that motivated Ankara to propose dialogue with Moscow on the initiative named “The Platform of Stability in the Caucasus”, which many in Ankara view as a new “venue” for discussion of problems of regional security. The initiative was discussed during the blitz visit to Moscow of R.T.Erdogan and Abdulla Gyul. The discussion continued during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Istanbul September 2, 2008.


In other news:

Oops! McCain Asks Russia's U.N. Envoy For Money

John McCain's U.S. presidential election campaign has solicited a financial contribution from an unlikely source -- Russia's U.N. envoy -- but a McCain spokesman said on Monday it was a mistake. In the letter, McCain urged Russia's U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, to contribute anywhere from $35 to $5,000 to help ensure McCain's victory over Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, currently ahead in voter preference polls. "If I have the honor of continuing to serve you, I make you this promise: We will always put America -- her strength, her ideals, her future -- before every other consideration," McCain assured Churkin. Moscow's mission to the United Nations issued a terse statement on the Republican presidential candidate's letter, saying that the Russian government and its officials "do not finance political activity in foreign countries." A spokesman for McCain, a long-time critic of Russia, had a simple explanation for the fundraising letter's arrival at the Russian mission in New York: "It was an error in the mailing list." The letter was addressed to Churkin and sported a McCain signature near the bottom. Earlier this month, both McCain and Obama harshly criticized Russia for invading Georgia two months ago, but neither was willing to say yes when asked if Russia under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was the "evil empire". It is illegal for U.S. presidential candidates to accept funds from foreign sources. The McCain campaign accused Obama earlier this month of not doing enough to screen for illegal contributors and asked U.S. election officials to investigate. McCain has agreed to public financing for his campaign and therefore cannot accept funds from private donors.


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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what.Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics, Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.