upa-admin 28 Mayıs 2014 2.068 Okunma 0

Annexation of Crimea has paved the way for serious changes in the geopolitics as a whole. Analysts evaluate this issue from various aspects. The analysis shows that the situation may change dramatically in the geopolitical landscape. The past and present state of Russia-Turkey relations is interesting in this context. The approaches are different but experts confess that this issue became even more topical. The geopolitical importance of Ukraine has been elevated to a new level in the light of the ongoing developments around it. We may ponder over how this situation affects global geopolitics and cooperation strategy of great powers.

Historic lessons: The present glance at the fight for Crimea

Takeover of Crimea by Russia may pave the way for serious changes in the modern history of the Black Sea basin. By and large, the issue is, in the light of ongoing developments in Ukraine, seen as related to the global geopolitics. Experts believe that this state of affairs might give an impetus to geopolitical processes in not only the Black Sea region but also the Middle East and neighboring regions.

There are approaches to the problem in the aspect of the historical evolution of the Turkey-Russia relationship. The Foreign Affairs magazine published an article on this issue by Akin Unver. The author analyzed the role of Crimea and the Black Sea as a whole in the Ottoman-Russia and Turkey-Russia relations (see: Akin Unver. Ankara to Black Sea. Turkey and Russia’s Age-Old Struggle for Regional Supremacy / “Foreign Affairs”, 12 may 2014)

The article underlines that Russia’s invasion of Crimea fits a 340-year pattern. During the rule of Catherine II, Moscow set itself a goal of accessing the Mediterranean and further territories through the Black sea. The Russo-Turkish wars of 1783 and 1853-1856 virtually decided the fate of the peninsular. At present, it would be wrong to consider developments in Crimea beyond these old events. The dynamics of the geopolitical processes in the region is closely connected with this issue. Thus, it is about the geopolitical tussle currently taking place in the wide area (see: previous source).

Against the backdrop of these theses, it is possible to approach to the Black Sea basin geopolitics from three aspects. First, Russia opted for the policy of expanding its territories when all its neighbors are weak. Second, it seeks hegemony in the Black Sea region. Third, it can raise the issue of reconsidering the status of the Bosporus strait (see: the previous source).

It turns out Turkey believes there are new geopolitical interests behind Russia’s persistence in the Ukraine issue. These changes to span the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Middle East, Africa and Europe may give rise to critical changes at the present stage. In the same vein, formation of the energy security system may step into a completely different phase. The latest aspect is undoubtedly among geopolitical factors Azerbaijan is interested in.

By gaining a military and geopolitical advantage in the Black Sea, Moscow takes control of the regional states. Turkey is the only nation that is capable of competing with Russia in this region. However, analysts believe that Ankara is presently not strong enough to resist Moscow without the West’s assistance. This heightens the importance of the US-Turkey and Turkey-EU relations. The situation in this direction is not satisfactory at all. Turkey thinks that England and France can refuse to defend Turkey as they did in previous periods. America can partly be alongside Turkey till the end.

However, we can disagree with these ideas because if points made by the author in his article exist, it means Black and Mediterranean Seas, Middle East and Africa issues are not only about Turkey. It is the West’s geopolitical problem even ahead of Turkey. It is not a secret that Turkey is not the major player on a global scale. Probably, it has the potential to have this status but today’s historical realities show that both Russia, the West and China oppose Ankara’s aspirations for this status. For this reason, if Kremlin has any plans on the above-mentioned regions, the West will be willing to cooperate with Turkey to frustrate these plans.

Threat to the ”South corridor”: new rule of game in global geopolitics?

There is another interesting aspect of the problem. We mean the energy security issue. The author believes that Moscow poses a threat to realization of the ”South Corridor” by annexing Crimea. The fate of TANAP, TAP and other internationally important projects will be brought into question. Russia took control of the Sevastopol seaport and may secure the right for its ships to access the Mediterranean if it manages to change the status of the Bosporus. If Turkey fails to prevent Russian ships from passing through the strait, the chances for the processes to develop in this direction are high.

The other side of the problem is associated with worsening Turkey-Syria relations. Russia has a military base in Tartus. If Bashar Assad gets an upper hand in the civil war, it looks likely that he will not oppose Moscow’s strengthening this military facility. Damask may not take account of Teheran’s interests on this issue because Tehran’s assistance to Syria was dramatically limited. Tehran claims it experiences difficulties in funding even Hizbullah. At the same time, Tehran’s rapprochement with the West is not ruled out. For this reason, Syria can greenlight the Kremlin`s military plans.

Russia`s rising military power in the Sevastopol-Tartus geopolitical area seem to enable Moscow to virtually take control of the Asia Minor (see previous source). After annexation of Crimea, experts find it dangerous for Exxon, Chevron and Shell to carry out exploration activities on the Ukrainian shore. Things are revolving around the South Corridor on a broader scale. Moscow can isolate this project. This side of the problem is very important in the geopolitical aspect.

The point is that this trend of events shows the changing essence of the energy security system on a global scale. Russia may derail the plans scheduled by the West. Moscow`s possible control of hydrocarbon shipments to Europe from the Caspian Sea may lead to a completely different situation. It will mean better prospects for the Customs Union and Eurasian integration processes.

Whether Russia will be strong or not strong enough to realize these problems is another story because the West is increasingly toughening sanctions against this country. If the processes continue in this way, Moscow`s attempts to increase its geopolitical influence will be dogged by serious obstacles. Experts underline that China-Russia cooperation may develop only to some point because Beijing`s possible demand in exchange for its support, may cost the Kremlin more than Crimea.

Experts claim China shies away for the time being from breakthrough agreements with Russia on the Ukraine issue. Chinese experts Juytsuyun and Enjuan say China is likely to be acting cautiously towards the Ukraine issue. Chief of the Center for Social and Economic Development of China and East Asia of the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrey Ostrovsky states more concretely and underlines that ”the Ukraine issue is a very delicate and complicated issue for China”. At the same time, he claims that Beijing solves its energy problems without Moscow’s support. Thus, although Russia-China gas cooperation talks have continued since 2006, this process has not been over yet. In addition, ”some political issues have Beijing bound hand and foot” (see: Визит Путина в Китай: обсуждение Украины и газового контракта / “Московский Комсомолец”, 16 may 2014 )

All this shows that the Crimea and Black Sea issues have indeed became pressing in the global geopolitics. The fight among great powers is reaching a new level. On the one hand, there is Moscow’s more active interference in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions, on the other hand, China’s going head to head with the West. Afterwards, Beijing faces difficulties, in line with the ”Eastern wisdom”, to implement the strategy of being inside the process rather than interfering into it. Global geopolitics seems to witness new rules of the game. The world energy security issue changes its nature in the light of it.


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