Caucasus as one of the most important regions on earth, strategically, covers 440.000 km2 from Taman Peninsula to Absheron Peninsula, from Don and Kumar Rivers to Aras River and Kars Plateau. The region is between Don River in north and Aras River in south and Caucasus is home to the Caucasus Mountains, the Greater Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus.
Caucasus is in the crossroads between north and south and east and west. It starts with inner Russia and spreads out towards Anatolia, Middle East; so it has the old trade roots. The old Silk Road which ties China to Europe is on Caucasus. Caucasus is also an intersection point of energy transportation which is highly important for today’s world.
The main determinant of the region is its multicultural structure. Caucasus is the homeland of different ethnicities. It is one of the rare regions on earth because of the diversity of language and religion.
Because of the geostrategic importance, Caucasus seemed attractive to Huns, Arabs, Mongolians, Ottomans, Persians and Russians. Power struggles over Caucasus in the history affected and shaped the region politically and culturally. Diversity of ethnicities is also affected from these power struggles.
Caucasus can be separated into two regions: North and South Caucasus. North Caucasus includes Adygea, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya which are territories of Russia. South Caucasus covers Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.
Caucasus faced newly independent states and new balance of power emerging from the collapse of Soviet Union. This affected both the countries of the region and the ones which have interests regarding the region. In today’s world Caucasus have a privilege on international affairs because of its rich resources, geopolitical position, geostrategic importance, multicultural structure and ethnic conflicts. The region is also important on the grounds of global security.
“The Silk Road Project”, “Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan Pipeline”, “Baku–Tbilisi–Erzurum gas line”, “Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railroad”, “TRACECA”, “INOGATE” etc. increases the role and the importance of the Caucasus. Because the region is close to the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, this makes it priceless.
After the collapse of Soviet Union, a vacuum of power emerged in the region. This vacuum makes regional and global powers to follow foreign policies to control the region.
Turkey, as a principle of mutual respect and independency in domestic affairs, aims to diversify and improve the relations with the regions’ countries. Therefore, Turkey hopes to contribute on construction of peace, security and stability in the region by increasing cooperation.
Turkey’s foreign policy approach on Caucasus gives much attention to the consolidation of the region states’ independences, protecting territorial integrity and increasing economical potential. Turkey also support them in membership to the Euro-Atlantic organizations.
Unresolved and ongoing conflicts in the region continue to be a major threat to both to the region itself and to the Eurasia. Turkey believes that to the conflicts of the Caucasus can be found peaceful solutions. So economic prosperity and political stability can be achieved and further developments in the region can be possible.
Because of all these reasons, with the purposes of achieving and maintaining peace, security and stability in the Caucasus we found that it will be a great experience and opportunity to organize International Caucasia Congress, Kocaeli University as a host and with the partnerships of Eurasian National University and Bilgesam.
The Congress which will be held in 26 – 27th of April, Kocaeli University Umuttepe Campus will contribute to our relations on state level and university level. We look forward to your papers.
Umuttepe Yerleºkesi Kocaeli/TURKEY
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