Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia cement strategic partnership

Mar 21, 2007 01:00 AM

The Turkish, Azerbaijani and Georgian relationship has transformed into "a strategic partnership of perspective", said a report and it noted that Armenia has been left out of this axis due to issues with the region of Nagorno Karabakh -- hotly disputed between Azerbaijan and Armenia -- and unfavourable diplomatic relations.
In an opinion column it was reported that despite pessimistic forecasts "new integration initiatives" are becoming effective, referring to the business alliance of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, adding, "This integration has started to advance since the mid-1990s because of the incredible petroleum and natural gas reserves in the region of the Caspian Sea."

The article went on to say that Azerbaijan's capital of Baku is a "new and determined player" in the field of energy and that Russia, along with many other countries, viewed the Baku-Supsa petroleum line, which transports Azeri petroleum to the Black Sea, as a political project rather than a financial initiative.
"Despite all eyes being on Azerbaijan, the oil pipeline was established and big companies decided on the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, as well as a Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline," the columnist wrote.

Turkey took advantage of resources Russia ignored. Following the realization of the BTC project, the joint decision of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to construct a Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway is indicative of a regional axis, according to the article. The article goes on to say that Russia has chosen to remain outside of the axis due to a difference political opinions and maintains that a BTC project will not be lucrative while exerting efforts to prevent the realization of this project.
The article notes that "Turkey, like any county that has economic strength, took advantage of the opportunity [to partake in such a project]."

The article praised Turkey for being helpful in resolving a problem between Azerbaijan and Georgia in the early 1990s surrounding food items, adding: "Of our course Turkey benefited from its involvement as well.”
“Unfortunately, Armenia, the third country of the Southern Caucus region, is becoming exceedingly excluded from the strengthening axis of integration between these nations because of its lack of diplomatic relations with Turkey and the lack of a resolution in the matter of Nagorno Karabakh.”

"However, if Armenia's relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan were to improve, the integration could gain speed. Moreover, Armenia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Vardan Oskanyan has stated that Yerevan -- Armenia's capital -- must work towards involvement in such projects.”
“Armenia, which is under blockade by Azerbaijan and Turkey and can only establish relations with the rest of the world through Georgia, must know that it is important for it to become involved in regional integration initiatives," the article noted.

Source / Zaman
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