The Adaptation of Turkish Foreign Policy to the shifting balance of power in the Caucasus

Ayla Gol

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Abstract

The analysis of Caucasian politics has generally been based on the classical assumption that the geostrategic importance of the region created the rivalry between the Persian, Ottoman and Russian empires. As a consequence of this understanding, the region has been considered as an arena for the 'Great Game'. In the 19th century, the original Great Game was a projection of the European balance of power system into colonial domains, and was importantly contained by the weakness of regional states. Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it seemed that a power vacuum appeared in the region which encouraged the external powers to assert their economic and political influence on the Southern flank of the former Soviet Union. The ensuing struggle was described by some analysts as a new 'Great Game' or a modern variant of the 'Great Game'. However, this now leads to misperceptions of new developments and the role of new actors in the region. The conditions of the 19th century no longer apply to current affairs due to the following reasons: the key actors are different, it is not an arena of inter-state conflict but of global competition; and the geo-strategic importance of the region is no longer determined by the oil factor alone.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTurkish Review of Eurasian Studies
PublisherThe Isis Press
Pages89-105
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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