ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
As the final leg of his diplomatic push to promote a Caucasian Union, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to visit Azerbaijan Wednesday, it was reported yesterday.
After the outbreak of war in the Caucasus, Turkey stepped in to resolve the conflict with Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan visiting both Moscow and Tbilisi. At the same time, Erdoğan proposed the establishment of a Caucasian Union in the region aimed at resolving conflicts before they occur.
The union, proposed by Turkey as �The Caucasus Stability and Partnership Platform,� is envisaged to bring together Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia under the same roof. Sources from the Foreign Ministry told local media last week that the union plans to have common security and executive bodies, and would be similar to that of the neighboring countries of Iraq but with a more complex structure, daily Hürriyet reported. It has been suggested that the union will be initiated as an association on the basis of economic partnership.
Meanwhile, experts pointed out that Turkey needed to develop long-term policies for the region, instead of relying on short-term crisis management policies.
Hasan Kanbolat from the Eurasia Strategic Research Center, or ASAM, told the Anatolia news agency that �even during the war Turkey's agenda was not the Caucasus but instead Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Turkey.� Pointing out that it was also remarkable how the opposition parties in Turkey issued no statement about the crisis in the Caucasus, Kanbolat claimed that Parliament also ignored the crisis using the annual recess as an excuse.
Hasan Selim Özertem from the International Strategic Research Center, or USAK, claimed that Turkey followed a �consistent and beneficial policy supporting Georgia's territorial integrity.� He also said Turkey, through the Caucasian Union initiative and the efforts to bring together the leaders of Georgia and Russia, was trying to bring about by itself what the West should have been doing in the region.