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  • Author: Aysegul Sever
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: While the Iraqi crisis has served to help define America's position on the world's stage, especially pertaining to trans-Atlantic relations and the West-Islam axis, Turkey's position on Iraq will similarly have a lasting effect on that country's relations both with the West and with the Islamic world. The Turkish government's ambivalent stance towards the Iraqi crisis (first siding with the US position, then deciding to remain on the sidelines in accordance with a legislative decision based mainly on domestic concerns) seriously strained Turkish-American relations. This strain must be addressed, as it is now clear that neither side can take the decades-old, deep-seated ties for granted. As the Iraqi crisis proved, Turkey should not overestimate its strategic geographical location as a guarantee that will ensure America's continuing interest in Turkish concerns. On its part, the US should avoid the patronizing position that was evident in the run-up to the Iraq war. Especially, as the leading supporter of Turkey's fight against the PKK, America should be more attentive to its ally's special concerns and engage in consistent consultation with the Turkish government on Iraq while avoiding any “knee-jerk” reactions or unilateral acts. It is also important that Turkey's economic recovery program should continue to be backed by Washington. As a Middle Eastern country and a long time ally of the US, Turkey's views on the rebuilding of Iraq should be taken into account, especially while anti-Americanism in the area remains strong.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past decade the South Caucasus region has faced bloody internal conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and to a lesser extent South Ossetia. It continues to display potential for instability as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia exhibit the combined characteristics of war-torn societies and countries in transition. Given the geostrategic importance of the Caucasus and the strong interests of regional and international powers—particularly in the potential energy output—renewed armed confrontations would have serious economic, political and security implications across national borders. Moreover, spill-over into other volatile zones could bring about the open intervention of powerful neighbors, such as Iran, Iraq, Russia and Turkey, and could threaten larger peace and security arrangements.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Asia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Abkhazia