Exploring the Role of Economic Initiatives as Peace Building Tools in the Nagorno-Karabakh Context[Over]
A highly successful roundtable discussion on Exploring the Role of Economic Initiatives as Peace Building Tools in the Nagorno-Karabakh Context took place on the 27th of March, 2014, at the European Parliament. The event was organized by the European Geopolitical Forum and international NGO partners, and was attended by more than 40 experts from the South Caucasus region and Brussels-based think tanks and international organizations who engaged in discussion in a constructive, informal ‘atmosphere of exchange’. The roundtable focused constructive energies on discussing a common future in an economically integrated South Caucasus, as a way to build mutual trust aimed at helping to overcome the current stalemate within the political and security negotiations.
As part of its work, EGF recently published a study entitled “A Pragmatic Review of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Resolution: Could Economic Incentives Help Break the Deadlock?”. While this research was well received by stakeholders monitoring developments on Nagorno-Karabakh, the study concluded that economic incentives, on their own, could not substitute for a political settlement to the conflict itself. We were subsequently invited by Armenian, Azerbaijani and international stakeholders to expand on the above-mentioned research. Consequently, in 2014, EGF has deepened its existing research on ‘economic incentives as peace building tools in the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh’, and has planned to publish a new study towards the end of the year. This research will include extensive outreach activity consisting of consultation rounds with stakeholders and presentation of the research findings.
The roundtable discussion on the 27th of March was the first outreach event, and it comprised three main interactive discussion sessions. Each session was initiated by a few ‘discussion openers’, and followed by fully interactive dialogue under the Chatham House Rule. Participants agreed that this roundtable should not be a one-of event, but it should lead to further dialogue on economic issues among experts and businesses, while opening a new section of Track 2 efforts for conflict resolution. For the programme, pictures of the event, and biographies of speakers and participants from the region, please click here. A more detailed follow-up report is forthcoming.
EGF Middle East Briefing - Egypt’s New Political Landscape: between Democratization and Old Legacies[Over]
EGF Researcher, Global Security
Egypt’s Islamic state on the horizon
Egypt is once again in the headlines. The results of the first, allegedly, free elections after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak as the Egyptian president are causing widespread concern, especially in the West, about the country’s process towards democratization. Many fear that the legacy of the former political establishment will haunt the country for many years to come. Egyptians have been denied any aspect of a wealthy social and political life and are now concerned about the fruits of their courageous actions and the new seeds last year’s events have implanted. What will Egypt look like a year from now? Will it end up embracing a hardline Islamist direction in the administration of political power? READ MORE
Turkey and Russia in the Black Sea Region: Dynamics of Cooperation and Conflict[Over]
by Dr. Oktay Tanrisever
This policy brief examines the sources and limitations of Turkey’s relations with Russia since 2000 as well as the implications of Turkey’s lack of a clear vision for the Black Sea region for the future of its bilateral relations with Russia and the other international, regional and local actors in the Black Sea region. READ MORE
A chance to get serious about EU-Russia relations[Over]
by Marat Terterov,
Although 2011 is still far from over, it is already likely to go down in history as the year of the so called ‘Arab Spring’. 2011 will be remembered as the year when Arab populations threw down the gauntlet to their stagnating regimes, revising their traditional authoritarian power model and at long last commencing the transition to democracy. So too it is time to consider revising the European Union’s relationship with Russia, which has stagnated rather badly in recent years. Since the “big bang” enlargement of the EU in 2004, Moscow’s relations with Brussels have been increasingly characterised by tension (if not crisis) in their energy ties and failure to reach agreement in many areas of common strategic interest. In June of this year, the bi-annual EU-Russia Summit, held in Nizhny Novgorod, was dubbed as the ‘Vegetable Summit’ in the international press as Moscow and Brussels exchanged blows over the Russian ban on vegetable imports from the EU following the E.coli health scare in Germany. READ MORE
Turkey’s European Path: A Fact Finding Tool Box[Over]
By Deniz Altinbas,
Assistant Professor, Ahi Evran University, Turkey,
EGF Affiliated Expert
A History of Turkey’s European Aspirations in Brief
Contrary to conventional opinion, Turkey’s interest in being part of the Western world did not start with its application to the European Economic Community (EEC). In fact, Turkey’s European orientation, diminishing as it is at present, began with the Rescript of Gulhane of 1839 (Tanzimat Fermani) and the Reform Edict of 1856 (Islahat Fermani). Among many other reasons, the major aim of the 19th century effort was the building of a Western model of state and society in wake of the declining power of the Ottoman Empire. READ MORE
Ukraine fails again to receive gas discount from Russia[Over]
On 7 June 2011, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov visited Moscow.
During his visit, the Ukrainian prime minister and his Russian counterpart,
Vladimir Putin, participated in a meeting of the Committee on Economic
Cooperation of the Ukrainian-Russian Interstate Commission. READ MORE
EGF Turkey File[Over]
A snapshot of Turkey’s domestic and regional politics during May 2011
- Uprisings in the Middle East continue to make diplomacy a difficult game to master for leaders in Turkey, with Syria’s potential implosion being a matter of great concern for those in power in Ankara.
- With Parliamentary elections scheduled for June 12, and the AKP seeing stronger challenges across the political spectrum, tensions are on the rise in the country. It is unlikely, however, that the AKP will face electoral defeat.
- The Nabucco pipeline continues to be mired in uncertainty as Brussels has not been able to persuade suppliers to sign on to the project. READ MORE
Victory Day festivities in Lviv turn into clashes between nationalist groups, representatives of left- wing, pro-Russian organizations, veterans, police[Over]
The celebration of the victory in the 1941-45 Great Patriotic War in Lviv turned into disturbances and clashes. On 9 May 2011, in Lviv representatives of nationalist groups clashed with
individuals who were celebrating Victory Day – members of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), the pro-Russian Motherland and Russian Unity parties and veterans. In particular, members of nationalist parties attempted to prevent veterans and civilians from laying flowers at the tomb of soldiers who died in the war. For their part, the supporters of the Motherland and Russian Unity parties unfolded a 30-meter Soviet red flag, which they handed over to local veterans. Nearly 20 people were injured as a result of the clashes. A member of the Freedom nationwide organization was even shot in the leg. READ MORE
Ukraine counting on Russia to change gas price formula[Over]
Ukraine believes that the negotiations with Russia on revising the gas price formula will be successful, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said. “We have started normal talks with Russia. We put very serious arguments on the negotiating table. Russia considered them and that is why the negotiations were really good,” he explained. At the same time, Azarov noted that Ukraine did not ask Russia for any preferential treatment or discounts. “We ask for a general European approach to price formation,” he explained. According to the prime minister, the
very fact that the negotiations have been launched signals “clear success.” Meanwhile, Gazprom's official representative, Sergey Kupriyanov, stated once again that the Russian gas monopolist was satisfied with the contract with Ukraine. READ MORE
EGF Turkey File[Over]
• In the Ergenekon case, arrests by the government on vague charges reappear, this time targeting journalists and authors. Recently two journalists were detained based on secret evidence that security officials say cannot be revealed at this time.
• Ankara continues to practice ‘Strategic Depth’ foreign policy but has largely been left behind in the Western intervention in Libya. As Syria is rocked by protests and consequent crackdowns, Turkey is largely silent, preaching stability as the top priority for the region.
• Turkey rebuffs Russian demands on a South Stream guarantee while the EU’s head of Energy, Günther Oettinger, warns Russia against intimidating Central Asian suppliers of Nabucco. READ MORE
Ukraine, EU continue talks on free trade area[Over]
Another round of the talks on setting up a free trade area (FTA) between Ukraine and the EU has been held in Brussels. During the negotiations, the parties continued their discussion of institutional, general and concluding articles of an agreement. They also exchanged opinions regarding the prospects for reaching a deal on unresolved issues. Additionally, both parties reaffirmed their intention to complete the talks on signing an EU-Ukraine association agreement in 2011 and agreed to conduct the next round of negotiations in June 2011. READ MORE
EGF Turkey File[Over]
• Former Turkish Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, passed away Sunday 27 February. He was 84. Erbakan, the first Islamist prime minister of the Turkish Republic, was forced to resign after only a year into his reign by the military, in what is called the first ‘post-modern coup’.
• Under the guidance of current Prime Minister Erdogan, Turkey has stayed on the sidelines throughout much of the past weeks while protests raged throughout the Middle East. Ankara is finding its new position as a dominant regional actor as having less impact than previously thought, but has been forced to act pragmatically due to the proximity of its own citizens and financial interests in the affected nations.
• Prime Minister Erdogan recently spoke in Dusseldorf, Germany, telling Turks there that while they should learn the (German) language and participate in wider culture of their new homeland; assimilation would be an affront to their human rights. The prime minister also spoke positively about Turkey’s accession to the EU, surprising some for the positive manner in which the AKP leader addressed the issue after years of European rejection.
• The Nabucco gas pipeline still appears to be up in the air as none of the participating companies have yet signed any construction agreements, while a Russian delegation has put pressure on the Brussels-EU whilst addressing its own energy security concerns. READ MORE
Former Minister of Economy Bohdan Danylyshun has been granted a political asylum in the Czech Republic[Over]
On January 13-th, 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affaires of the Czech republic has decided to grant political asylum to Bogdan Danylyshyn. As a reminder, the former Minister of Economy is accused of embezzlement in Ukraine. On October 2010, he was detained on the territory of the Czech Republic upon Interpol request. Later, Kiev demanded his extradition and the accused has asked for a political asylum in the Czech Republic.