Author: Burcu Gultekin Punsmann
The August 2008 war in Georgia brought sudden instability and unpredictability in the area immediately beyond Turkey’s northeastern border. Turkey has traditionally kept a low profile in the South Caucasus and was concerned with the preservation of the status quo in the region, despite all the divides, blockades and trade restrictions. The Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, announced in the context of increasing polarisation and harsh rhetoric, allowed the channels of communication and dialogue with Russia to remain open. The opening towards Armenia, that triggered a new momentum in the normalisation of Turkish – Armenian relations, has brought important credibility to the Caucasus Platform initiative. For the first time, the good Turkish – Russian understanding is being used to solve problems in the common geographical neighbourhood. The Georgian – Ossetian and the Russian – Georgian wars have been a wake-up call for the countries of the region. Hopefully this will lead to regional accountability as the countries of the region have started to assess the costs of the conflicts.
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