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Trip Reports



27-28 NOVEMBER 1997


This Secretariat Report is presented for information only and does not necessarily represent the official view of the NAA.

December 1997


1. The third "Mediterranean Dialogue" seminar was held in Istanbul on 27 and 28 November 1997. It gathered some 60 participants, including 15 members of the Mediterranean Special Group (GSM) and 10 representatives of Mediterranean partner countries.1 The seminar was opened by Mr. Cavit Kavak, a faithful member of the GSM, who has now been elevated to the rank of Minister of State in Turkey, and it was deftly steered by the Chairman of the GSM, Mr. Mateman (Netherlands).2 Being hosted by the Turkish delegation to the NAA, the seminar naturally gave priority to Turkey's external security concerns. It was thus divided into three geographically-oriented sessions devoted respectively to Central Asia, the Middle East and the Caucasus. Similarly, the importance of Turkey as the only Alliance member at the confines of the European, Russian, and Muslim worlds justified giving Turkish speakers a prominent place on the agenda. Each topic was therefore addressed both from a Turkish perspective and from the perspective of outsiders.

2. For most members of the GSM, and indeed many other participants, this seminar was the first exposure to the intricate interaction between strategic, economic (oil and gas-related), religious, and cultural interests in the region stretching from the Bosphorus to the borders of China. Members were thus brought to reflect on a large array of questions, including: What kind of influence is Moscow still able and intending to play in Caucacus and Central Asian countries? Is political and military control still important to the Russians, or have economic interests (related to oil and gas) now won the day? Could Islam take politically militant forms in Central Asia, and where would such a risk come from? Do developments in the region confirm the theory of a "clash of civilizations", or are emerging political alignments more subtle? Will the new economic scramble for the control of Caspian oil and gas resources fuel political and ethnic conflicts, or rather work as an incentive to resolve those conflicts? What kind of role will China play in Central Asia in the future? Will the development of its economic interests in the region lead to politcal realignments? Is our concept of "Central Asia", mainly inherited from the demise of the Soviet Union, still adequate, or does it have to be rethought in view of the emergence or re-emergence of deeper cultural, ethnic, political, and economic ties? Similarly, does it still make sense to speak of the "Middle East" as a region separate from the Caucasus and Central Asia, in view of the growing inter-action between developments between Iran, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, the Caucasus countries, Central Asia, and Russia? Or should we work on a new concept of the "Eastern Mediterranean", stretching all the way to the Gulf and the borders of China? Finally, what would be the implications for Turkey, which is at the crossroads of these new developments, of a rethinking of the zone? And what would be the implications for NATO, which is striving to develop a new quality of relations with Russia, as it extends its co-operation to Central Asian and Caucasus countries, and tries at the same time to redefine its role in the Mediterranean?

3. Obviously, the seminar could not answer in detail such a list of complex and burning questions. Nevertheless, thanks to an excellent set of expert/speakers, members were able to identify core issues that would enable them, in the coming years, to pursue those lines of inquiry. The present report only purports to relate the newest and most informative elements of the experts' contributions. It is neither an exhaustive account of their presentations nor of the debate. Rather, it is meant to provide "food for thought" for future work, in particular by the Sub-Committee on NATO Enlargement and the New Democracies, and by the GSM.


4. Political developments in Central Asia were introduced by Mr. Halil Akinci, Deputy Director General in the Foreign Ministry of Turkey, and Dr. Witold Racza, Associate Professor at the University of Strasbourg. Mr. Akinci stressed the geo-strategic importance of Central Asia, as a region of 60 million inhabitants, covering 4,000,000 sq. km., and a major source of energy supplies to Europe. He reminded participants of the large degree of uncertainty that characterized political, economic and strategic developments in those countries as a result of the void created by the demise of the Soviet Union. Turkey had tried to address this new situation at an early stage, lobbying for the acceptance of central Asian states into the OSCE, providing substantial economic assistance (US$ 1 billion in a few years), developing communication and transportation links to connect them to the ouside world (all of the countries of Central Asia are landlocked), assisting the development of education (either by opening schools in the region or accepting Central Asian students in Turkish universities), influencing alphabet reform (from the Cyrillic to the Latin script), etc. Mr. Akinci did not directly address the question, often raised in this context, of whether Turkey did not originally overestimate its ability to influence political developments in the Central Asian countries, most of which share variants of a common Turkic culture and language. Rather, he made the point that Turkey had not used all its potential in developing links with those countries, suggesting that co-operation in the domain of infrastructures (in particular through the creation of road, telephone, and air communication links, as well as pipelines) was the best way of contributing to their economic development and establishing good relations with them. Turkey's current approach was based on the encouragement of intra-regional co-operation as the best way of ensuring a rational use of different endowments in natural resources among countries (in particular, oil, gas, and water), of fostering economic growth based on the complementarity of their economies, and of promoting peaceful political relations among them.

5. Dr. Racza gave a broad overview of domestic developments in the Central Asian countries and the interplay of outside influences in the region.3 Describing domestic developments, he pictured Central Asian regimes as mostly authoritarian, centralized, and strong. This ensured stability in the short run. However, long-term prospects were more uncertain as, on the one hand, the lack of democracy could encourage dissenting forces (including militant Islamic groups) to use violence against the current rulers, and, on the other, democratization could bear seeds of instability if political pluralism were to be associated with the rise of ethnic-based parties and governments were unable to rein in the criminality which is endemic in the transition economies of the post-Soviet states. Assessing the importance of those countries in the geo-politics and geo-economics of the region, he singled out Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan as actors to reckon with in the future, Uzbekistan because of its size and balanced economic endowment, and Azerbaijan as a key route of access to the sea for resources from Central Asia.

6. Discussing outside influences, Dr. Racza listed the parameters working for and against the continued ability of Russia to steer developments in the region. On the one hand, decades of Soviet domination left a strong political and cultural impact; the economies were still predominantly oriented towards the satisfaction of the Russian market and the satisfaction of local demand through that market; business and technical elites were still predominantly Russian; finally, Moscow kept the ability to influence those countries militarily (in particular through the sending of peacekeeping forces or heavily armed "borderguards"). On the other, trade patterns were gradually changing; Russia had relatively little capital to invest in Central Asia; and the political and cultural affinity with Russia was getting thinner as democracy was growing deeper roots in Russia while Central Asian regimes remained mainly authoritarian; besides, many Russian speakers had already left the region. A sign of Russia's weakening influence but continued interest in the region was the fact that Moscow had now moved from trying to re-create a modern version of the Soviet Union through the CIS (partly because its attempts were rebuked by smaller partners) to the signing of bilateral agreements for economic, communication, and military co-operation. Thus, concluded Dr. Racza, Russia was "too large to be ignored, but too weak to exercise a determining influence" in Central Asia. Dr. Akinci concurred that Russia's approach to its relations with Central Asia, the Caucasus, as well as with Turkey itself was becoming more and more pragmatic, stressing economic over political links, not least under the pressure of oil interests (Gasprom, Lukoil).

7. The United States, on the other hand, was "too far away to have a dominant position, but too strong to be ignored", according to Dr. Racza. The US approach to post-Cold War Central Asia had originally been mostly reactive, aiming to prevent Iran from gaining a predominant influence in the region, and supporting the expansion of Turkish influence as a counterweight. It was now becoming more nuanced and broad-based, including programmes to foster democracy, assistance to facilitate economic transition, and military agreements to help these countries sustain their national independence on the basis of a friendly position towards the West.

8. Europe itself was only mentioned in the context of several participants noticing the absence of a coherent policy on its part towards the Caucasus and Central Asia, although the European Union is involved in programmes to facilitate economic and political transition, and the development of regional infra-structure and communication links (in particular through TACIS), and various European countries have demonstrated interest in closer co-operation with the region (primarily Germany, France, and Italy).

9. The question of political Islam, and the forces likely to foster it in the region was discussed in the form of comments on Dr. Racza's and Mr. Akinci's presentations. Several speakers stressed that Islam was part of the identity of people in the region. However, the predominant tradition was moderate, both in its religious and political expressions. Iran had recognized at an early stage that it could not export its own variety of Shii Islam in a region that professed in majority Sunni versions of Islam. Therefore, it had a very pragmatic attitude in its relations with Central Asia. Some speakers voiced the opinion that this pragmatism would most likely be confirmed and reinforced by the government of President Khatami, but one participant expressed his concern that some in Central Asia may be tempted by the Iranian theocratic model, even without direct Iranian influence. On the other hand, several participants expressed their concern before the spread of Wahabism, an orthodox form of Islam foreign to the region, fostered by Saudi Arabia (notably through lavish donations for the opening of schools and mosques). Wahabism, they said, could easily develop into forms of militant Islam. Others were not so concerned with the spread of Wahabism, which remains mainly politically quiescent, despite its religious radicalism, and saw a greater danger in contamination by Muslim extremists coming from Afghanistan. The responsibility of Saudi sources in supporting Taliban-like radical Islamist groups was hinted at, but not directly addressed.

10. The second part of the Thursday morning session was devoted to a discussion of NATO military co-operation programmes with the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Brigadier General Arena, Assistant Logistics Chief-of-Staff at AFSOUTH, and Major General Köksal Karabay, Chief of the Operations Department in the Turkish General Staff, described ongoing programmes, emphasizing that Caucasus and Central Asian countries were more involved in Partnership for Peace (PfP) than was generally assumed, but that there were still many barriers of a political, financial, and linguistic nature to be overcome. Not all countries in the region demonstrated a similar interest in developing co-operation with NATO 4; however, an evolution of their positions was to be expected as they gradually realized that the training and technical assistance they obtained from NATO could reinforce their domestic and external security. Russia's more cooperative attitude vis-à-vis NATO since the signing of the Founding Act could have a demonstrative effect. General Karabay stressed that Turkey could play a key role in the military rapprochement between those countries and NATO, Turkey having already trained more than 2,500 troops from Central Asia and the Caucasus and being in the process of establishing a PfP training center.5


11. NATO's dialogue with Mediterranean partners was introduced by Mrs. Jette Nordam, Head of the Multilateral and Regional Affairs Section in the Political Affairs Division of NATO. Mrs. Nordam reminded participants of the philosophy of the dialogue and of its modest ambitions: at this stage, the dialogue was essentially a political exercise, meant to dispel the misunderstandings existing between NATO and some Southern Mediterranean countries; it should be seen as complementary to initiatives taken in other fora.6 Among the questions raised in the discussion were whether NATO's new "Mediterranean Co-operation Group" would propel a new dynamic to NATO's relations with its Southern neighbours, and whether a gradual evolution of the dialogue toward a "Partnership for the Mediterranean" (PfM) was possible. To the first question, Mrs. Nordam answered that it was too early to tell, but that the first consultations held in that context in November 1997 bode well for the future. At any rate, Mediterranean security issues were now securely anchored in the regular NATO agenda. On whether the dialogue could evolve into a PfM, she suggested that, although a dynamic for closer military co-operation was building up, both NATO and the Mediterranean partners were wary of going too far, too fast. One of the reasons for NATO countries was the decision that the priority in the years to come, both in political and financial terms, should go towards the new members and partners in the East, including Russia. Among other reasons, which Mrs Nordam did not identify, there exists presumably on both sides a fear that multilateral military co-operation might expose and upset well-oil bilateral military co-operation agreement existing between some NATO and some Mediterranean countries. There is also a fear among Arab governments that open co-operation with NATO might not be well understood by their public opinion and by a number of other Arab countries hostile to the Western Alliance. Without excluding that a PfM could take shape in the future, Mrs. Nordam suggested that the road to hard security co-operation may pass first through "soft security" measures, as advocated by a Rand study released in Rome in November 1997. 7

12. Mrs. Nordam's presentation was followed by a detailed exposé of Professor Kalaycioglu, of Bogazici University, on Turkey's relations with its Southern neighbours. Casting his argument in a historical perspective, Professor Kalaycioglu reminded participants of how, from the 1920s, political developments in Turkey and surrounding Arab countries had led to a clash between two conflicting nationalisms, and how the enmity between them had been made worse by their alignment with opposite superpowers during the Cold War. It was not until the 1960s that a thaw began to appear in Turkey's relationship with its Arab neighbours, as tensions were felt in its relations with Western countries (on the Cuban missile crisis, Cyprus, Turkish guest workers in Germany, etc.). Turkey's attempts to diversify its foreign policy outreach and economic relations resulted in political rapprochement with several Arab neighbours; the adoption of a more balanced attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ; and the development of substantial mutual economic interests with many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries, Libya, and Iraq. Important trade links also developed with Iran. Meanwhile, Turkey always cautiously avoided getting involved in intra-Arab conflicts.

13. Turkey's carefully-crafted balance between its Arab, Persian, and Israeli neighbours was put in jeopardy by the Gulf War and subsequent regional developments. As Mr. Kavak had already reminded the participants in his introduction, the UN sanctions against Iraq weighed heavily on Turkey (the Turkish Government assesses the aggregate loss for Turkey at US$ 35 billion). Furthermore, Turkey was forced to abandon its policy of "non intervention in the domestic politics of any Arab country" to stem the flow of Kurdish refugees from Northern Iraq and counter the attempts by the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party) to use the mayhem in Northern Iraq (and the economic disarray in southeastern Turkey created by the disruption of trade flows with Iraq) to increase its terrorist activities. The post-Gulf War and post-Cold War years also saw increased tensions between Turkey, Syria, and Iraq on the distribution of water from the Euphrates river, with Syria retaliating against Turkish water restrictions by increasing its support for the PKK. In turn, the common interest of Turkey and Israel in combating terrorist organizations supported by Syria, Iraq and Iran had led to a rapprochement between the two countries since 1993. Relations with Iran, however, were of a particular nature, according to Professor Kalaycioglu: although Turkey had been wary of Iran's attempts to export its brand of Islamic regime, and, conversely, Iran was concerned with Turkey's support for Azerbaijan (Iran fears the irredentism of a large Azeri population living in its northern part), there was no territorial dispute between the two countries, and the century-long history of relations between Turks and Persians was rather harmonious. In addition, there were clear economic complementarities between the two countries, with Iran possessing the energy resources that Turkey lacked, and Turkey producing the consumer goods, building materials, intermediary goods, and technical expertise that were very much in demand in Iran. The desirabilty for both countries of taking advantage of the newly developing oil fields in Central Asia increased this complementarity. At this stage, it was nevertheless unclear whether mutual economic interest would win over political and ideological antagonisms, or the other way round. Professor Karacioglu's general conclusion was rather pessimistic, predicting the continuation of a "regional cold war" based on a balance of terror that justified the maintaince of a powerful military in the foreseeable future.8

14. Prof. Dr. Mümtaz Soysal, Member of Parliament for the Democratic Left (the minority partner in the coalition government of Mr. Yilmaz) and a well-known journalist and columnist in Turkey, offered a critical presentation of the major risks of tension in Turkey's relations with its Southern neighbours, and of Western attempts at dealing with them. Dr. Soysal identified three areas carrying risks of military confrontation: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; tensions in the Gulf; and Greek-Turkish relations. Regarding the first area, he said that Turkey had failed to adopt a balanced approach between the two partners, as it was hampered by a loaded confrontational past with the Arabs and failed to distance itself from a US policy that placed too much emphasis on the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian peace process and neglected to nurture proper relations with Arab countries. Concerning the Gulf, following many other Turkish speakers, he once again drew listeners' attention to the damage caused to the Turkish economy by the UN policy of sanctions against Iraq, saying that Turkey agreed with the goals of the international community towards Iraq, but not with its methods. He also voiced a certain Turkish resentment at the fact that Western allies consulted more closely with countries such as Russia than with Turkey before defining their policies towards Iraq. On the third issue, he singled out Cyprus as a major bone of contention, stating Turkey's preference for a bilateral (Greek-Turkish) resolution of the problem, rather than going through multilateral channels, as Greece was trying to do. He also said that Turkey's sense of diplomatic isolation on the Cyprus issue led it to search compensation through military superiority. On both counts he was rebuked by participants who said that some multilateral involvement was necessary to find a solution to an intractable bilateral problem, and that Turkey had no reason to feel isolated on the diplomatic scene.

15. Looking at other potential sources of conflict that had not yet taken military form but deserved continued attention, Dr. Soysal identified three: the water issue; oil transportation; and political Islam. On the water issue, he supported Turkey's official position (against the Syrian claims in particular), saying that it fully conformed to the Lausanne Treaty. On oil, he repeated that international policy toward Iraq had been a disaster for Turkey. As a consequence, Turkey faced a dire need to diversify its oil and gas resources, taking advantage of new opportunites in the Caspian basin.9 Addressing Islam, he warned participants of not equating Islam with fundamentalism. He expressed the view that the main threat of Islamic contamination did not come from Iran, since Shii communities in Turkey (the Alevis) were very secular and modern in their world outlook; rather the risk of Saudi kinds of fundamentalism was much more to be feared. He also emphasized that the spread of political Islam had a lot to do with the deteriorating social-economic conditions of part of the population, strongly hinting that the spread of the Western economic model was at the root of much of the new social and economic imbalances. The discussion that ensued bore mainly on political Islam, with a rehearsal of the arguments raised in the discussion on Central Asia,10 and on Cyprus, pitting the Greek view against the Turkish one.


16. Geo-political and geo-economic developments in the Caucasus were addressed first by Mr. Ahmet Erozan, Deputy Director General in the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Mr. Erozan distinguished two intersecting and, to some extent, incompatible axes in the Caucasus: a North-South axis of political-military interests, and an East-West axis of economic interests. The North-South axis was the one Russia had tried to foster, at least until 1995, using the traditional means of military force and military agreements (in Chechnya, Abkhazia, Georgia, Armenia) to ensure its permanent control over the region. The East-West axis was that of the oil and gas pipelines linking the resources of the Caspian Sea (from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in particular) to their outlets on the Black Sea shores and markets in Turkey and the West. Turkey was promoting the East-West axis in view of its own economic benefit and that of the entire region. A change in Russia's attitude, or rather, a diversification of attitudes in Russia was nevertheless perceptible, prompted by the ripple effect of two factors: first, the "contract of the century" for the exploitation of Azerbaijani oil in September 1994, which pushed back power-political interests and demonstrated the economic benefits to be drawn from cooperative relations in the region; and second, the dismal performance of the Russian army in the war in Chechnya, which dealt a blow to the pretence of the hardliners to regain control of Russia's periphery through military means. The Russian energy lobby, which is pragmatic and understands the need to cooperate with the West to fulfil its capital and technological needs now seemed to have the upper hand over the conservative lobby of fomer communists and part of the army. There was, therefore, a good chance that the consolidation of the East-West axis could disable the North-South axis. Turkey's failure to normalize relations with Armenia (the responsibility of which Mr. Erozan attributed to Armenia) was nevertheless a constraint on the realization of the East-West axis's full potential. Until this normalization took place, the risks that the North-South axis, including a potential Iranian ramification, represented for Turkey, could not be lifted.

17. Echoing the previous speaker, Mr. Alexandre Toumarkine, Researcher at the French Institute of Anatolian Studies in Istanbul, distinguished two logics at play in the Caucasus, one of conflict and one of co-operation. To some extent, both logics had been present in the region since the end of the Soviet Union. The logic of confrontation, fuelled by ethnic conflicts, painful processes of assumption of independence and sovereignty, and residual Russian imperial ambitions, had clearly dominated the scene until 1995-96. Since then, the new promises of prosperity brought about by the exploitation of oil and the end of the war in Chechnya had tilted the balance in favour of regional co-operation. If the need for such co-operation (in particular for the development of infrastructures of communication and transportation of goods and oil resources) was now well undestood by everybody, there remained mighty obstacles to its full realization: the failure to definitely solve any of the armed conflicts in the region (although all have been "frozen"); competing claims for gas and oil pipelines11; and the high initial cost of most projects.

18. One area in which Mr. Toumarkine suggested co-operation was sorely needed was that of controlling traffics of all kinds (drugs, nuclear materials, weapons, prostitution, etc) that had flourished on the inability of many governments in the region to fully control their territories. He pointed out that Russian military bases in the Caucasus were frequently at the centre of those traffics and that local and regional officials would rather lift their share of the benefits than rein in the phenomenon. Uncontrolled trade ("commerce des valises") of legal goods between Russia, the Caucasus republics, Ukraine, Turkey, and the Balkans was also a dominant feature of the economic life of the region, netting profits of some US$ 10 to 15 billion every year that escaped state control. There was, however, no agreement between the governments concerned on how to deal with it.

19. Looking to the future, Mr. Toumarkine identified the reduction of the Caucasus countries' dependence on Russia for their sources of energy as a key factor of strategic, economic and political realignment. In any case, the development of economic and military co-operation between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Georgia could not lead to the constitution of a strategic bloc opposed to a Russian-led bloc for reasons of the Caucasus countries' continuing economic and political dependence on Moscow. Moreover, whatever balance was being sought by the smaller actors, the development of cooperative economic and political relations between Russia and Turkey, as the two major players in the region, was essential to the stability and prosperity of the Black Sea and Caucasus.12 In that respect, the growing pragmatism of Turkish-Russian relations was confirmed by several participants.

20. The last speaker, Mr. John Maresca, was perhaps one of the best experts to be able to address Caucasus (and Central Asian) issues in a comprehensive manner, having been the initiator and coordinator of the Minsk Group as US ambassador to the OSCE, and currently combining writing assignments with his responsibility as Vice-President of Unocal, one of the largest international oil companies. Mr. Maresca first addressed change in the region, stressing that the conflicts we had witnessed in the past few years have little to do with a "clash of civilization", as argued by Samuel Huntington; rather they had to be seen as a "post-colonial syndrome", as the newly independent states were trying to assert their sovereignty against the resistance of local irrendentism and residual efforts by the former "colonial" power to maintain its influence,13 while adapting to modernity at the same time. The presence of abundant sources of energy would be a prime mover of change, not only by facilitating economic development, but by promoting the kinds of deeper social transformations that accompany such development. Thinking about strategic change, Mr. Maresca pointed out that we needed to review our way of looking at the division of the zone that stretched from the rims of the Black Sea to the Chinese borders, stating that concepts of the Middle East, Gulf, Caucasus, and Central Asia inherited from the Cold War did not make sense any more (a point already made by Dr. Racza). Mr. Maresca was particularly sensitive to the potential Chinese influence in the region (see below).

21. Addressing conflicts in the area, Mr. Maresca pointed out the similarities between the territorial/ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus (Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkha[N1]zia, Daghestan, Ossetia, etc.) and conflicts pitting states against minorities in the Southern region (in Iran, Iraq and Turkey, among others). After Mr. Toumarkine, he stressed that there had been many resolution attempts (he had been involved personally in seeking a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict) but a final settlement kept eluding mediators in all cases. He suggested that the situation was unlikely to change as long as local leaders had a greater interest in maintaining or achieving power than in looking for legitimate compromises.

22. Turning to the oil and gas issue, he remarked that the State Department's assessment of Caspian oil reserves at 200 billion barrels may be somewhat exaggerated. Proven oil reserves were assessed at some 60 billion barrels at present, future research being necessary to find out how large real reserves were. Reserves were one thing; as important, however, was ensuring the transport of those reserves to the market. Mr. Maresca gave the participants information on existing and planned pipelines,14 stressing that any route would necessitate the co-operation between at least two, and more often three or four countries. Regional co-operation was therefore unavoidable, which should be an incentive for governments in the region to solve their conflicts. Discussing various pipeline routes, he expressed the view that because of its geography, Iran had a place for the transportation of oil and gas in the region (all the more so that it already had a well-developed infrastructure of pipelines and know-how in the oil industry). Many voices in the United States advocated a different policy towards Iran that would allow, among others, for the construction of a pipeline to transport Turkmen gas over Iran to Turkey. However, the anti-Iranian lobby remained strong and blocked any US move in favour of Iran for the time being. Mr. Maresca also warned the participants not to focus exclusively on the exit routes from the Caspian Sea to the West. Indeed, in the coming decades, demand for oil and gas was more likely to grow in China and South-East Asia than in Europe and the United States (although significant growth was expected in Turkey). China was therefore going to become more and more interested in an uninterrupted flow of oil and gas to and through its territory. It had just signed a major contract for oil with Kazakhstan, including the construction of a 5,000 km pipeline from Central Asia to Eastern China. Cost factors as well as immediate rentability were not of such concern to China as they were to the West. It would therefore be short-sighted to look only at where the "early oil" flew, while China was preparing to control the geo-politics of oil in Central Asia in the long term.



Wednesday 26 November 1997
Arrival of participants

Thursday 27 November 1997
09h30Opening of the seminar by Mr. Cavit KAVAK, Minister of State
SESSION I: NATO's relations with Central Asian Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries
10h00 Part I: Political issues

* Presentation by Mr. Halil AKINCI, Deputy Director General, Foreign Ministry of Turkey, on Turkish policy towards Central Asian countries

* Presentation by Dr. Witold RACZKA, Associate Professor, University of Strasbourg, on geo-strategic conflicts of interests and conflict-resolution in Central Asia

10h45 Discussion
11h30 Part II: Military issues

* Presentation by Brigadier General Angelo ARENA, AIRSOUTH on the development of PfP programmes with Central Asian and Caucasus countries

* Presentation by Major General Köksal KARABAY, Chief of the Operations Department, Turkish General Staff

12h15 Discussion
13h00 Break for lunch
SESSION II: NATO's relations with the Southern Region
15h00 Presentation by Mrs. Jette NORDAM, Head of the Multilateral and Regional Affairs Section, Political Affairs Division, NATO, on NATO's Mediterranean policy, followed by discussion
16h15 Presentation by Prof. Ersin KALAYCIOGLU, Bosphorus University, Political Science and International Relations Department, on Turkey's relations with its Southern neighbours

Presentation by Prof. Mümtaz SOYSAL, journalist and Member of Parliament, on security developments and risks in the Middle East region

17h00 Discussion
18h00 End of the afternoon session
20h00 Dinner hosted by Mr. Cavit KAVAK, Minister of State, at Kuruçe(me Divan Restaurant
Friday 28 November 1997
SESSION III: The Caucasus Region: competing stakes, conflicts and co-operation
09h30 Presentation by Mr. Ahmet EROZAN, Deputy Director General, Foreign Ministry of Turkey, on Turkey's perception of geo-political and economic developments in the Caucasus

Presentation by Mr. Alexandre TOUMARKINE, Researcher, French Institute of Anatolian Studies, Istanbul, on geo-political and economic developments in the Caucasus

Presentation by Mr. John MARESCA, Vice-president, International Relations, UNOCAL Corporation, on conflict and conflict resolution in the Caucasus

11h15 Discussion
13h00 Break for lunch
SESSION IV: Discussion of the report "Four Years after Oslo: is there still a Middle East Peace Process?" [AP 246 GSM (97) 10]
14h30 Discussion of the report, with input from parliamentarians of Mediterranean non-member countries
16h30 End of the afternoon session
20h00 Dinner hosted by Mr. Tahir KÖSE, Acting Head of the Turkish Delegation to the NAA, at Hayal Kahvesi, Cubuklu
Saturday 29 November 1997
09h30-11h30 Closed meeting of the Mediterranean Special Group (GSM)


Members of the Mediterranean Special Group

Mr. Wim Antoon MATEMAN (Netherlands) - Chairman
Mr. Pedro MOYA (Spain) - Rapporteur
Mr. Loïc BOUVARD (France)
Mrs. Maria CARRILHO (Portugal)
Mr. Rafael ESTRELLA (Spain)
Mr. Yvon HARMEGNIES (Belgium)
Mr. Kamran INAN (Turkey)
Mr. Tahir KÖSE (Turkey)
Mr. Rocco Vito LORETO (Italy)
Mrs. Alice MAHON (United Kingdom)
Mr. Poul QVIST JORGENSEN (Denmark)
Mr. Christos ROKOFYLLOS (Greece)
Mrs. Brigitte SCHULTE (Germany)
Mr. Spilios SPILIOTOPOULOS (Greece)
Mr. Enzo SAVARESE (Italy)

Other participants

Dr. Ziad ABU AMR - Representative of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Chairman, Political Committee
Mr. Cevdet AKCALI - Representative of the Western European Union, Turkish Grand National Assembly
Mr. Mohammed Khalil ADAM - Representative of the People's Assembly of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Mr. Halil AKINCI* - Deputy General Director, Foreign Ministry of Turkey
Mr. Fethi AKKOC - Former Head of the Turkish Delegation to the NAA
Mr. Kenan ATAKOL - Representative of Turkish Cypriot Political Parties
Brig. Gen. Angelo ARENA* - Assistant Chief-of-Staff for Logistics, AIRSOUTH
Mr. Moncef BALTI - Representative of the Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Tunisia
Mr. Jacques BAUMEL - Representative of the Western European Union, French National Assembly
Ms. Frédérique-Jeanne BESSON - Researcher, French Institute of Anatolian Studies, Istanbul
Ms. Pia CALIFANO - Secretary of the Italian Delegation to the NAA
Mr. Hüseyin CELAL - Representative of Turkish Cypriot Political Parties
Gen. Maurizio COCCIA - Director, Military Center for Strategic Studies, Rome
Ms. Sophie DANIEL - External Relations Manager - Geneva Center for Security Policy
Cap. Marc van DYKE - Chief of Public Information, AFSOUTH
Mr. Mohammed Abd ELLAH - Representative of the People's Assembly of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee
Mr. Nagy Abd EL MONEIM - Representative of the People's Assembly of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Mr. Kadry EL MOSHNEB - Representative of the People's Assembly of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Mr. Ahmet EROZAN* - Deputy General Director, Foreign Ministry of Turkey
Mr. Mahdy FATHALLA - Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Istanbul
Mr. Finn FOSTERVOLL - Ambassador of Norway, Istanbul
Mrs. Christine GEISSLER-KUSS - Consul General of Germany, Istanbul
R. Adm. Giorgio GIORGIERI - Military Center for Strategic Studies, Rome
Mr. Takis HADJIDEMETRIOU - Representative of the House of Representatives of Cyprus, Chairman of the House Standing Committee on Defence
Mr. K. M. Abdel HALIM RADY - Consul of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Istanbul
Prof. Ersin KALAYCIOGLU* - Bosphorus University, Political Science and International Relations Department
Major Gal. Köksal KARABAY* - Grand Chief of the Plans and Operations Department, Ministry of Defence of Turkey
Mr. Cavit KAVAK* - Minister of State,Turkey
Mr. Dionosis KOMBOS - International Relations Officer, House of Representatives of Cyprus
Mr. Marcos KYPRIANOU - Representative of the House of Representatives of Cyprus, Deputy Chairman of the House Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs
Mr. Theocharis LALACOS - Counsellor to the Consul General of Greece, Ankara
Mr. Eric LEBEDEL - Consul General of France, Istanbul
Mr. John MARESCA* - Vice-president, International Relations, UNOCAL Corporation
Mr. Chagay MEIROM - Representative of the Knesset, Israel
Mr. Frans van MELKEBEKE - Secretary of the Belgian Delegation to the NAA
Mrs. Jette NORDAM* - Head of the Multilateral and Regional Affairs Section, NATO
Mr. Ömür ORHUN* - Director General of International Security and Disarmament Affairs, Foreign Ministry of Turkey
Mr. David PABST - Political Advisor to the Commandant-in-Chief, AFSOUTH
Dr. Witold RACZKA* - Associate Professor, University of Strasbourg
Mrs. Rodica RADIAN-GORDON - Second Secretary, Israeli Mission to the European Union, Brussels
Mr. Nabi SENSOY - Deputy Undersercretary, Foreign Ministry of Turkey
Mr. Eli SHAKED - Consul General of Israel, Istanbul
Mr. Farkhi SHAQURA - Representative of the Palestinian Legislative Council
Prof. Mümtaz SOYSAL* - Journalist and Representative of the Turkish Grand National Assembly
Mr. Ahmed Ould TEGUEDI - Chief Officer of the Section of Mauritanian Interests in Israel
Mr. Giulio TONINI - Consul General of Italy, Istanbul
Mr. Alexandre TOUMARKINE* - Researcher, French Institute of Anatolian Studies, Istanbul Prof. Gareth WINROW - Consultant, Istanbul
Mrs. Roxani XEPLATI - Secretary of the Greek Delegation to the NAA
Mr. Fotios-Jean XYDAS - Consul General of Greece, Ankara
Dr. Stéphane YERASIMOS - Director, French Institute of Anatolian Studies, Istanbul

International Secretariat of the NAA

Mr. Simon LUNN - Secretary General
Ms. Catherine GUICHERD - Deputy to the Secretary General for Policy Coordination
Ms. Eva ANTUNANO - Secretary

Department of External Relations and Protocol, Turkish Grand National Assembly

Mr. Kemal DIRIOZ - Director
Mrs. Cazibe YAPICI - Secretary of the Turkish Delegation to the NAA
Mrs. Saren AKSELI - Secretary of the Turkish Delegation to the NAA
Mrs. Guliz BAKIRCI - Protocol Officer
Mrs. Aysegul COBAN - Protocol Officer
Ms. Ece AKINCI - Protocol Officer


Mrs. Nur CAMAT - Turkish Grand National Assembly
Mr. Ruggero CALICH - Consul of Italy
Mr. Jacques COLSON - NATO
Mrs. Suna ERLER - Turkish Grand National Assembly
Mr. Jean-Pierre GROSS - NATO
Mr. Stefano MARRONE - Senate of Italy
Mrs. Martine SCHLEICH - NATO
Mrs. Paola TALEVI - Senate of Italy

* Speakers

Notes and References

1 See list of participants in annex.

2 A copy of Mr. Kavak's introduction is available at the International Secretariat.

3 Dr. Racza's paper, including diagrams and a summary of his argument, as well as other perspectives not raised in his oral presentation, is available at the International Secretariat.

4 For details on the participation of Central Asian countries in PfP, see Central Asia and NATO, Information Document, North Atlantic Assembly, November 1997 [AP 299 GSM (97) 12]

5 Copies of slides provided by the two speakers, detailing the PfP participation of the Central Asian and Caucasus countries, and Turkey's efforts to foster it, are available at the International Secretariat.

6 For more details on NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, see Greta Gunnarsdottir, NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, paper presented at the Second Mediterranean Dialogue seminar, Lisbon, 5-6 December 1996; Pedro Moya, Co-operation for Security in the Mediterranean: NATO and EU Contributions, North Atlantic Assembly, November 1996 [AN 83 CC/MB (96)1]; NATO's Role in the Mediterranean, October 1997 [AP 245 GSM (97) 9].

7 Rand Corporation, NATO's Mediterranean Initiative: Policy Issues and Dilemmas, Draft, September 1997 (Final issue forthcoming).

8 The full text of Professor Kalaycioglu's presentation can be obtained from the International Secretariat.

9 Lack of time prevented Dr. Soysal from going into details.

10 Cf. para. 9.

11 For details on the conflicting oil and gas pipelines projects, see Vicken Cheterian, "Jostling for Oil in Transcaucasia", Le monde diplomatique (English edition), October 1997.

12 For more details, Mr. Toumarkine's paper is available at the International Secretariat.

13 On how current political alignments in the Caucasus and Central Asia refute the "clash of civilization" theory, see Roland Goetz, "Political Spheres of Interest in the Southern Caucasus and in Central Asia", Aussenpolitik, III, 1997.

14 Maps available at the International Secretariat. [N1]

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