Women Rights In Turkey

In its less visible, more subtle forms, gender-based violence threatens the physical and emotional integrity of millions of women living in Turkey, and billions globally

TURKISH - CHINESE RELATIONS SINCE 1971 AND THE EAST TURKISTAN ISSUE

Turkish and Chinese people have historical relations since the periods of the Hun Empire and Göktürks. These relationships are driven, sometimes friendly and sometimes went to war in the history

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yukio Hatoyama wastes no time in building new Japan government - Times Online



According to the last election results, Yukio Hatoyama became Japan's next Prime Minister. This is a great success, because this politician and his party, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) overturned the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which governed Japan almost without interruption for 54 years. He promised that free education, addition to minimum wage of Japan, reduction to Petrol Taxes, establishing an Asian Union as European Union, creating common monetary unit between Asian countries, etc. All of these helped Hatoyama to win elections. On the other hand, you can ask why LDP lost the elections. The answer is simple, poor governing in the economic crisis, sending Japan soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan, blunders of PM Taro Aso, etc.

İsa Burak GONCA

For more information about this issue, you should visit the TIMESONLINE:

Yukio Hatoyama wastes no time in building new Japan government - Times Online

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Russia accuses Ukraine of allowing its troops to fight alongside Georgia - Times Online


Yes, Russia accused that Ukrainian Soldiers fought against Russian army in the five-day war. Of course, this situation heated the Russia - Ukraine relations. Ukraine revealed her side clearly. Maybe, this is an opportunity for Ukraine to enter NATO and the European Union. However, NATO or the USA needs Russia in the Afghanistan war. Because of this, the West's reaction will not be hardly the Russia in the case of Ukraine, Georgia or Chechnya at this time. On the other side, both Ukraine and Georgia will wait for entering the NATO and the EU.

Russia accuses Ukraine of allowing its troops to fight alongside Georgia - Times Online

Think Again: A Marshall Plan for Africa | Foreign Policy

The Marshall Plan, officially the European Recovery Program was an economic aid for 16 European countries, England, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Netherland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Iceland, Austria, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. The aim of the program was creating a powerful western union against Soviet expansionism in the Europe. Today, Africa needs a strong economic aid. Because, some African governments have big problems, such as Somalia, Liberia, etc. Nowadays, hijacking became the most popular occupation in the Africa. For strong governments and healthy communities, the new kind of the Marshall Plan must form. 
This is a very good article; you should read it for getting more information... Think Again: A Marshall Plan for Africa | Foreign Policy

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Putin's Secret War in the North Caucasus - By Sarah Mendelson | Foreign Policy


I put this news, because something is going wrong in the North Caucasus. At least 10 people die every day in this region. This region is multicultural; there are Ingushes, Dagestanis, Chechens, North Ossetians, and other small societies. But these people are mainly Muslim. Violent incidents include abductions of military personnel and civilians, bombings, assassinations of key civilian and military leaders, rebel attacks, police or military operations against suspected militants, destruction of property by militants, etc. All these incidents are occurring in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, and Dagestan. As a result, someone or something tries to quieten down some people in this region. For more information about this issue, you should read this article. It is really interesting! 
Putin's Secret War in the North Caucasus - By Sarah Mendelson | Foreign Policy

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Georgia officially withdraws from CIS


Georgia officially withdrew from the alliance of former Soviet states on Tuesday, August 18. After the war with Russia on Georgian breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Georgian Parliament voted unanimously to leave the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Georgia was an official member since 1994. Official members of CIS are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan is unofficial associate member and Ukraine is de facto participant state.

In June, Georgian Parliament expressed that the validity of the founding treaty of the CIS Parliamentary Assembly of 27 March 1992 and the Parliament’s decision of 27 May 1995 on the same framework expired.

At the same time, Georgian Foreign Ministry said that the country’s relations with the member countries will still continue and improve.

Nordic military alliance and Russia


Nordic Countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland are trying to establish a joint military alliance that will be form Nordic Military Alliance. Hence, Nanna Hvidt and Hans Hækkerup from Denmark, Ulla Maria Antilla and Tuomas Forsberg from Finland, Gudmundur Alfredsson and Kristrún Heimisdóttir from Iceland, Julie Christiansen and Henrik Thune from Norway and Urban Ahlin and Gøran Lennmarker from Sweden came together in this year. `Some of the main points that emerged from these talks are as follows: • There is a widespread desire in all the Nordic countries to strengthen Nordic cooperation. • There is a widely held perception that because of their geographical proximity, the Nordic countries have many foreign and security policy interests in common, despite their different forms of association with the EU and NATO. • There is a widely held view that the Nordic region is becoming increasingly important in geopolitical and strategic terms. This is a result of the role of the Nordic seas as a production and transit area for gas for European markets and of the changes taking place in the Arctic. • The EU and NATO are showing a growing interest in regional cooperation between member states and non-member states. • All the Nordic countries are willing to cooperate with the UN. There is widespread interest in expanding the Nordic force contribution to UN operations on the basis of current needs and the comparative advantages of the Nordic countries. • The Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish chiefs of defence have recently drawn up a report containing proposals for cooperation to ensure that their defence budgets are used as cost effectively as possible. Modern defence technology is becoming increasingly expensive, making it more difficult for individual countries to fund a modern defence system. This in itself creates a need for Nordic cooperation in the defence sector. I have found the report from the chiefs of defence valuable in my work. • The Nordic countries are responsible for the management of large sea areas. Climate change and melting of the sea ice will open the way for considerable activity in these areas, including new shipping routes through Arctic waters to the Pacific Ocean. This means that Nordic cooperation in the northern seas and the Arctic is highly relevant.` After these important points of talks, in the extraordinary meeting of Nordic foreign ministers in Oslo on 9 February 2009, a veteran Norwegian politician Thorvald Stoltenberg said that `I have drawn up 13 specific proposals for strengthening Nordic cooperation. They have been designed with a view to enabling all the Nordic countries to participate. Nevertheless, in several cases it will be most natural for two or more countries to initiate cooperation, and for the rest to join in as and when they wish.` Moreover, Thorvald Stoltenberg presented a report about this allience. You can reach the report from http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/UD/Vedlegg/nordic_report.pdf Nordic countries try to protect their interests on the region and they are right on this issue. However, there is an interesting thing here when you read news from the Russian Media. Russia sees this alliance as a threat herself. Actually, Russia`s suspicions are right on this issue. Because, Nordic countries are very close to Russia as geographically. Also, Russia does not want to lose power on Arctic Sea and Baltic Sea. `For Russia formation of the Nordic Alliance could possibly mean that it will be able to speak directly to the Arctic countries, thus by-passing NATO, for 60 years now wholly controlled by the US, which in turn could mean that purely economic interests would prevail. However, this is only if the US does not enter the new organisation, because, strangely enough, it has Arctic territories too. ` Because of these reasons, Russia is right when she sees the Nordic Military Alliance as a threat herself. You can read the full article about the Nordic Military Alliance by a Russian news center; 
Isa Burak GONCA 
References:
http://www.russiatoday.com/Politics/2009-02-10/Nordic_military_alliance_to_challenge_Russia_in_Arctic.html   http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/UD/Vedlegg/nordic_report.pdf  http://www.russiatoday.com/Politics/2009-02-10/Nordic_military_alliance_to_challenge_Russia_in_Arctic.html

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Last Communist regime in mainland Europe falls in Moldova poll - Times Online


25th December of 1991, they became independent from the USSR and they joined the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). On March 2, 1992, the country gained formal recognition as an independent state at the United Nations. Also, Moldova became a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program and also a member of the Council of Europe on June 29, 1995. However, only 3 of the 31 political parties passed the 6% threshold of the February 25, 2001 early elections and the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova came to power with winning 49.9% of the vote. Moreover, in the March 2005 elections, the Party of the Communists (PCRM) won 46% of the vote. But now, the pro-Europeans won almost 51 per cent of the vote. Hence, eight years of Communist control in Moldova came to end!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6733266.ece

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do you think that Europe is a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War? How and Why?





Introduction

Europe is the most developed and the oldest continent but sometimes Europe’s security is affected by outside or inside dangers. The Cold war affected whole world. Of course, it became effective in Europe. Soviet expansionism was threatening European security. However, on the other hand, today’s Europe can be more insecure than the Europe during the Cold war.

Hence, this article will examine the Europe’s safety in today and at the height of the Cold War into 2 sections. Firstly, it will show that Europe is a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War with definite reasons and examples, such as it will mention about the today’s conditions of Europe; disappearing of the Soviet Union danger and the membership of former Soviet satellites states to the European Union and the NATO. Secondly, this article will show Europe is not a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War, such as I will mention that the powerful Russian Federation of today, Russia’s energy card on European politics, Islamic Terrorism in Europe, and ethnic minority nationalism and its effects on European security. Finally, in the conclusion section of this article, it will ensure overview of the analysis, briefly, and it will mention what it did in this article.

Why is Europe a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War?

After the collapsing of the USSR, many things changed in Europe and it became the safer place to live because, there are some reasons that made Europe a safer place to live when people compared with at the height of the Cold War. These reasons are collapsing of USSR, reunification of Germany, expansion of the European Union into Eastern Europe and we call this as new Europe, and NATO membership of former Soviet Satellite States.

The cold war affected the Europe, especially Eastern Europe. Because, after the Word War II, the USSR occupied many Eastern European states such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, etc. Even Germany divided into 2 states as German Democratic Republic (East Germany as Communist) and Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany as pro-west). Communism had spread into all Eastern European states through Soviet expansionism policy and also it was affecting the rest of the Europe. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and her satellite states in Europe, such as Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, etc. affected European security. Actually, this was the result of the Soviet Expansionism Policy. This situation divided Europe into two blocs; Western Europe mainly NATO countries and Eastern Europe mainly Warsaw Pact Countries that is divided with something calls as iron curtain. Also, there was a possibility of nuclear war between two blocs. This situation continued until the collapsing of the Soviet Union in 1991. Today, there is Russia but she cannot threat European security as did the old Soviet Union.

‘After the Second World War, Germany was divided into the democratic West and the Communist East (German Democratic Republic). The Berlin Wall became the symbol of this division. It fell in 1989 and Germany was reunited a year later’ (Europe, 2009). West Germany is a member of NATO and East Germany is a member of the Warsaw Pact. So, both sides are rivals and both sides can threat security of each side. West Germany was a member of the European Union at the beginning of the European Union. When East Germany reunified with West Germany in 1990, East Germany became a part of the unified Germany that is Federal Republic of Germany. Hence, the security problem was solved between two sides of Germany through reunification of Germany because today, there is one Germany that is a member of the European Union and NATO. 

All these two reasons that I mentioned above show the security problems in Europe during the cold war. Maybe, these problems are solved when the Soviet Union collapsed. However, after the collapsing of Soviet Union, the problem was Soviet satellite states in Europe. Because, nobody knows what would happen the Soviet satellite states and how they would behave toward the Western Europe. Because of this, the democratization process was started for Eastern European countries by NATO and European Union. ‘The Madrid summit in 1997 saw the formal invitation issued to Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to join the alliance. At the top, the alliance ‘recognize[d] and welcome[d] the continuing efforts and progress in both Romania and Slovenia.’ Next, it ‘also recognize[d] and welcome[d] continuing progress in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’ (Croft, 2002: 101). As a result, for guarantying European security and providing stability at Balkans, NATO enlarged into ‘Czech republic, Hungary, Poland in 1999, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009’ (NATO, 2009). These were direct effects of NATO expansionism for European Security but there are indirect effects of NATO expansionism toward Eastern Europe. ‘Certainly, there are factors related to NATO enlargement that could enhance collective security. For instance, Bulgaria and Romania’s entry into NATO strengthens European borders against transnational threats, such as arms smuggling, illicit narcotics, the trafficking of people, terrorism, and international crime’ (Adamski, 2006: 78).

As NATO, the European Union enlarged into Eastern Europe that is mainly former Soviet satellite states. Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia became a member of the European Union in 2004. Also, in 2007, Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union. As a result, both membership of the EU and the NATO of former Soviet Satellite states made Europe as a safer place to live now. Because, there is no security dilemma in Europe, and their policy is all most same, today. Hence, differences on politics and mentality finished in Europe and new Europe was born as a more secure place.

Why is not Europe a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War?

On the other hand, The USSR could be collapsed in 1991 but Europe is still insecure place. One of the reasons is Russia is still powerful and effective as politically. The other reason is that the most of European countries depends on Russian energy such as natural gas. Also, the problem is not only Russia, Islamic terrorism after 9/11; new settlers in Europe and ethnic nationalism within European countries can be danger for Europe’s security.

Firstly, after the collapsing of the Soviet Union, the danger of the Soviet expansionism and the possibility of a nuclear war between two blocs could finish but the continuing state or successor of the USSR that is Russia Federation is still strong as militarily. Also, in 2000s Russian economy started to growing, again. They are not same Russia in 1990s as economically. ‘Russian growth in 1999-2003 averaged slightly above 6.5 per cent per annum. Annual growth rates, partly driven by changes in the terms of trade, fluctuated between 4.7 and 10 per cent’ (World Bank, 2003: 5). Hence, Russia is still powerful and they can affect Europe, especially Eastern Europe. This economic growth is mainly supported by Russian Energy industry. Today, most of European countries depended on Russian natural gas. Moreover, Russia uses the energy card on politics, sometimes. Of course, this situation affects Europe. ‘The Russian gas giant, Gazprom cut supplies to Ukraine on 1 January 2006 because of the failure to reach agreement. Ukraine, and some Western commentators, said Russia was trying to punish it for attempting to withdraw from Moscow's sphere of influence and to strengthen ties with the European Union and Nato’ (BBC News, 2006). Maybe, Russia lost Eastern Europe countries and Baltic countries when they started to join the European Union and NATO but Russia can be effective in Europe through her energy card on politics. ‘The larger or wealthier member states, led by Germany, Austria, France and Italy appear significantly less concerned than the newer EU members to their East about becoming more dependent on Russian energy resources. Still more troublesome, they are increasingly willing to be partners for a Kremlin determined to play a larger role in Europe’s internal decision making. This may stem from an over confidence in the combined strength of the EU and of its ability to ward off any attempt by Moscow to dominate or distort Europe’s financial and economic institutions resulting from growing energy dependence on Russia’ (Keith, 2008: 37).

Secondly, after 9/11 terrorist attack in the USA, the world became less secure. Also, after this event, one term came out that is called as Islamic Terrorism. Of course, this situation affected Europe. This kind of terrorism started to affect mainly Christian Europe. For example, ‘an Algerian terror group which bombed the Paris Metro in 1995, killing eight people and injuring 200’ (Singer, Horward, 2005: 238). Also, in 7th July of 2005, there were some suicide bomb attacks in metro stations of London.

Thirdly, there were ethnic nationalism or minority nationalism in Europe in the Cold War era but nowadays, ethnic nationalism or minority nationalism is more effective in Europe. Because, the European Union policy is mainly on decentralization and this process gives minorities some rights. With these rights minorities within countries became more powerful and in some European countries, they started to violate others rights. Such as in Spain, the Basques and their terrorist organization; Basque Fatherland and Liberty that is called ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna). ‘Soon after 9/11, ETA set off car bombs in Vitoria and Madrid, injuring one hundred people but missing the government official targeted in the attacks. In December 2003, the Spanish police said they foiled an ETA plot to detonate two bombs in a Madrid train station. In March 2004, on the eve of the Spanish national election, bombs planted on commuter trains in the Spanish capital killed two-hundred people and injured hundreds of others. (Council on Foreign Relations, 2008)

As a result, the cold war had been affect Europe’s security but after the collapsing of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the USSR), insecurity of Europe is continuing, maybe today, Europe is more insecure place rather than the Cold War era when we look at the reasons that I mentioned above.

Conclusion

Security issue of Europe is very critical issue. One side can say that Europe is a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War, but on the other hand, other side can say that there is no threat of the Soviet Union but there are other factors, today and they can be more effective and dangerous than the Soviet Union threat in Europe. Hence, Europe is not a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War. Thus, this article tried to show two different opinions about the security issue of Europe with some examples and analysis. Firstly, it tried to explain with some reasons such as collapsing of the U.S.S.R., European Union and NATO membership of former Soviet Union satellite states in Europe. Secondly, it tried to show why Europe is not a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War. It also gave some good examples about insecurity of Europe after the cold war in this section. It did not focus only the Russian effect on the security issue of Europe. Moreover, it tried to explain this insecurity issue of Europe with Islamic terrorism, especially after 9/11 event, ethnic nationalism or minority nationalism in European countries.

As a result, Europe can be a safer place to live in now compared with at the height of the Cold War or not, it depends on people’s insights on this issue.

İsa Burak GONCA



References:

1)Adamski, J. (2006) Old Europe, new security: evolution for a complex world. Ashgate, Aldershot.

2)BBC News (2006) Ukraine gas row, 4 January. Available at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4569846.stm (accessed on 16 May 2009)

3)Council on Foreign Relations (2008) Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) (Spain, separatists, Euskadi ta Askatasuna), 17 November. Available at:
http://www.cfr.org/publication/9271/ (accessed on 16 May 2009)

4)Croft, S. (2002) The Enlargement of Europe, ‘International Affairs’, (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 78, No. 1. pp. 48-132

5)EUROPA (2009) Member States of the EU - Germany, Available at:
http://europa.eu/abc/european_countries/eu_members/germany/index_en.htm (accessed on 16 May 2009)

6)Keith C. S. (2008) EU Soft Security: Myth or Reality? Russian Economic Pressure on EU’s Central European Members, CSIS, Washington.

7)NATO (2009) NATO Enlargement, Available at:
http://www.nato.int/issues/enlargement/index.html

8)Singer, D. & Howard, Z. (2005) Deserter from death: dispatches from western Europe, 1950-2000, Nation Books, New York.

9)World Bank (2003), Russian Economic Report No. 6: August 2003, Washington, DC, August

The Peace Process Between Israel and Syria from 1991 until 2000 : The Golan Heights



Introduction

Syria and Israel has some political problems since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. One of these problems is the Golan Heights. Syria controlled the Golan Heights from 1946 till 1967. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria after 6 Days War in 1967. Moreover, Israel annexes the Golan Heights via its laws to the territory in 1981. When Hafiz al-Asad came to power in Syria in 1970, Syrian foreign policy changed and it mainly focused on taking back the Golan Heights from Israel because, Syria lost the Golan Heights during the ministry of defense of Hafiz al-Asad.

On the other hand, the most important thing here is the peace process between Israel and Syria. It started with Madrid Peace Conference and still continues. This article will take the peace process between Israel and Syria from 1991 until 2000. It will also show what issues were discussed, what progress was made in this peace process. Of course, the problem analysis will be in this article. Moreover, this article will explain why the talks ultimately failed. In the conclusion, it will ensure overview of the analysis, briefly and it will try to mention about current status of the Golan Heights.

WHY IS THE GOLAN HEIGHTS FOR ISRAEL AND SYRIA?

The Golan Heights is between Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan as geographically so It has strategically and geographical importance in the Middle East. Geopolitics is very important, because, it has influences on a state’s foreign policy behavior. Why the Golan Heights is important explained below;

Wh is Golan Heights important for Israel?

The Golan Heights is important for Israel, because; it is very strategic place, and it has very rich water resources.

As mentioned before, it has geopolitical importance because it has borders with Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. This means that if Israel has the Golan Heights, this area can become a buffer zone for Israel and it will be very important for Israel’s security. Israel can prevent terrorist attacks before these terrorist attacks reached the Israeli cities Haifa and Acre because; ‘from the western Golan, it is only about 60 miles -- without major terrain obstacles -- to Haifa and Acre, Israel's industrial heartland. The Golan -- rising from 400 to 1700 feet in the western section bordering on pre¬1967 Israel -- overlooks the Huleh Valley, Israel's richest agricultural area. In the hands of a friendly neighbor, the escarpment has little military importance. If controlled by a hostile country, however, the Golan has the potential to again become a strategic nightmare for Israel’ (Jewish Virtual Library, 2009). Moreover, it has very rich, clean (drinkable) water resources and known that the Middle East has very big deserts so the regions need water resources. For example, there are important streams such as ‘Jilabun, Daliyot, Yehudia, Zavitan, Meitzar, Samakh, Orvim, Hamdal, El Al, Nov, and Yarmouk River’ (Golan 67, 2009). It is also near the Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee).

Why is Golan Heights important for Syria?

The Golan Heights is also important for Syria. Firstly, it has very reach water resource and Syria needs these water resources. ‘Turkey, with the completion of the GAP project, plans to fully utilize its share of the Euphrates River, which is the only reliable source of running water for Syria. Syria needs the waters of the Euphrates river to continue its irrigation programs and to keep the water levels high in the Assad Lake in order to sustain the hydroelectric production’ (ICE, 1997). Because of this, the water resources’ importance increased on the Golan Heights.

Also, the Golan Heights is very close the Syrian capital city, Damascus. It is approximately 25km from the Golan Heights. Because of this, the Golan Heights is very strategic place for Syria.

PEACE PROCESS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND SYRIA ON THE GOLAN HEIGHTS FROM 1991 TO 2000

In 1960s, under Ba’ath party, the peace seemed to be impossible between Syria and Israel. However, when Hafiz al-Assad’s Syria accepted the United Nations Security Council resolution 242, the doors of the peace process have opened. Actually, Hafiz al-Assad opposed the peace talks with Israel until Israel does full withdraw from the Golan Heights. ‘Instead, Syria accepted direct unconditional bilateral negotiations with Israel. The best Asad could get was U.S. assurances that the United States considered UN resolution 242 to apply on all fronts and the Israeli annexation of the Golan to be illegitimate’ (Freedman, 1998: 143).

The peace process starts with the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991. Actually this conference was organized by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The aim of this conference is starting the peace process between Israel and some Arab countries such as Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Madrid Peace Conference is very important for the relations between Israel and Syria, because, this conference bring together Syria and Israel. Also, it started the peace process between Syria and Israel. ‘Syria’s acceptance of this invitation was a significant event, marking the first time in the history of Hafiz al-Asad’s regime that Syria expressed its readiness to participate in a regional peace process that would include direct negotiations with Israel’ (Inbar, 1995: 151). Actually, at the end of the Madrid Conference, Arabs and Syrians did not sign any peace agreement. However, this was important conference because of starting the direct negotiations between Arabs and Israelis. ‘This peace conference was expected to discuss a final settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of UN Resolutions 242 and 338, which would also entail Israel’s withdrawal in, or from, the Golan. According to UN Resolution 242; Israel would continue to establish Jewish settlements in ‘Judaea and Samaria’ and in Golan’ (Quandt, 2001: 312).

After this conference, peace talks continued with Oslo process in 1993 but talks in Oslo was generally about the Israeli Palestinian problems. The issue of the Golan Heights was not talked in Oslo, generally.

However, in January 1994, there was a meeting between President Clinton and Syrian President Hafiz al- Assad in Geneva. However, it failed because there was no positive progress in the Syrian Israeli peace talks.
Actually, the relations between Syria and Israel could go well in Rabin’s time. Even, ‘the diplomatic record shows that a pledge of full withdrawal was given by Rabin, through Secretary of State Warren Christopher’ (Seale, 2000: 235). But this full withdrawal meant withdrawal to the 1967 line. However, the leadership changed in Israel because, Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in 1995. The relations between Israel and Syria slipped to a new low, after Likud Party’s candidate Binyamin Netanyahu’s victory in Israeli elections in 1996 because, Netanyahu did not want to compensate on the Golan Heights. On the other hand, before Netanyahu, Shimon Peres had become Prime Minister of Israel and in February of 1996 Shimon Peres broke off talks with Syria because off Palestinian suicide bomb attacks in Israel by Hamas and Asad had failed to prevent this suicide bomb attacks in that time.

‘May-June 1999 — Ehud Barak, a former negotiator in Israel-Syria talks, is elected Israeli prime minister, and President Assad praises him as a “strong and honest” leader who wants peace with Syria. July 1999 — Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discloses that he had indirect contacts with Assad during his three years in office. He says no agreement was reached because Israel refused to accede to Syria’s demand for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan’ (JTA, 2008). United States try to be a mediator between Israel and Syria for peace talks but there was no result of this mediating because there was no agreement between Israel and Syria after these peace talks. Even Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister of Syria, Farouk al-Sharaa was meeting for this peace process in 1999.

Although, there is no certain result of the peace talks between Tel-Aviv and Damascus in 1999, the last chance appeared in 2000 through the Geneva summit for reaching a peace agreement. However, they missed this chance because of ‘Assad's unwillingness to compromise with the Israelis, this is nothing new. No one in the Clinton administration seriously believed that peace between Israel and Syria could be brought about with anything less than a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights’ (Gambill, 2000: 5).


What issues were discussed and were not discussed in the peace process?

Although, the main issue was the Golan Heights, there were important issues that discussed in this peace process between Israel and Syria. For example, the main issues in Madrid Peace Talks were borders and water rights. Furthermore, ‘Syria argued that access to Lake Tiberias; Israel insisted on the borders of the Palestine Mandate (1922-48), which would put all lake access in Israel. A settlement in southern Lebanon, presumably exchanging Israeli withdrawal for security guarantees on the Israeli-Lebanese border, would also have to be part of any Israeli-Syrian agreement’ (Freedman, 1998: 145).

On the other hand, generally, Syria and Israel did not discuss Palestinian refugees and the establishing the state of Palestine. In addition they did not discuss decreasing the military capabilities such as number of soldiers in army or destroying or reducing the nuclear weapons. Also they did not talk about Syrian sponsored organization and their futures such as Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.

What progress was made? 
Actually, there was no certain progress in this peace process but there are small movements to try to find a way for peace. Firstly, both sides tried to talk with each other. Before Madrid Peace Talks, Syrian and Israeli officials did not meet face to face but after this process, they met face to face, many times. Also another important thing is Asad agreed the Mount Hermon is belong Israelis. This is important because this mountain was a part of Golan Heights according to Israeli annexation in 1981.


Why did the talks ultimately fail?
The peace talks ultimately failed because of some reasons. Actually, these reasons base on historical background of the relationship between Israel and Syria. The first reason is Syrian perspective on Israel. Syria always sees itself as the hearth of Arabism. Hence, the establishment of Israel on Palestine lands in 1948 formed the roots of problems between these two states. Syria opposed the idea of Zionism. Because of this Hafiz al-Asad was opposing every movement of Israel. The second reason for failure of peace talks is both sides did not trust each other so there was mistrust between them. They were rivals and enemies of each other so enemies do not trust each other. Thus, there was no certain progress in the peace process. Third reason is that unwillingness and disbelieving the peace process. Maybe Assad never believes to reach a peace agreement with Israel. Also, Netanyahu’s unwillingness to talk about the Golan Heights when he became the Prime Minister of Israel in 1996 because he had not wanted to compensate on the Golan Heights.

As a result, the peace talks ultimately failed because there was no peace agreement between Israel and Syria at the end of the talks.

Conclusion

Maybe, Syria and Israel did not reach a peace agreement on the Golan Heights between 1991 and 2000 but they are still trying to reach a peace agreement if it is difficult. For instance when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in February of 2007, these two leaders agreed on Turkish mediating for negotiations between Syria and Israel. Negotiations are still continuing between these two countries.

However, this article bases on the peace process between Israel and Syria from 1991 until 2000. Firstly, this article tried to show what the Golan Heights problem is between Israel and Syria, why the Golan Heights is important for both sides. Secondly, how the peace process started and what progress were made from 1991 until 2000. There were also details of the peace process between Israel and Syria that is made in years between 1991 and 2000 in this term paper. Finally, it showed why the talks ultimately failed.


İsa Burak GONCA



References:

1)Freedman, R. O. (1998) The Middle East and the peace process: the impact of the Oslo Accords. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

2)Gambill, G. C. (2000) Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, Implications of the Geneva Summit, the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon and the Middle East Forum, Vol.2, No. 4.

3)Golan 67 (2009) A piece of the Heart, Available at: http://www.golan67.net/golan/heart.htm. (accessed on 07 May 2009)

4)Jewish Virtual Library (2009) The Golan Heights, 17 February. Available at: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/golan_hts.html. (accessed on 18 May 2009)

5)JTA (2008) Time line of Israel-Syria relations, 22 May. Available at:
http://jta.org/news/article/2008/05/22/108710/IsraelSyria05222008. (accessed on 23 May 2009)

6)Inbar, E. (1995) Regional Security Regimes: Israel and Its Neighbors. State University of New York Press, New York.

7)Quandt, W. B. (2001) Peace process: American diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1967. Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
Seale, P. (2000) The Syria-Israel Negotiations: Who Is Telling the Truth. Journal of
Palestine Studies. Vol. 29, No. 2.

Special Report: Russia-Georgia Conflict of 2008


Introduction

One of the biggest political crises of 2008 is the conflict between Russia and Georgia. This is the newest political crisis and this crisis is not effective in only Caucasus. This situation affected Georgia as politically, economically and physiologically but Russia-Georgia Conflict affected the rest of the world too. For instance, one year ago, Kosovo is recognized by some European Countries and the USA as independent country. After Russia-Georgia Conflict, Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries. Thus, this can be an answer of recognizing of the independence of Kosovo by the USA. Also, today, many countries in the world have minority problem so the conflict between Russia and Georgia can affect other states such as Spain, Turkey, China, etc. Maybe, Russia just wanted to help Abkhazia and South Ossetia. There can be many reasons of Russia-Georgia Conflict. It depends on people’s perspectives.Because of this, I will explain the causes of the war between Russia and Georgia, according to some political perspectives of the international relations (IR),Neo-Realism and Liberalism.

Background on Russia-Georgia Conflict

In 1989, the USSR started to collapse and some nations wanted to be independent such as Georgia and South Ossetia. However, Georgians did not want to see South Ossetia as independent states. ‘When in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and Georgian independence (within the borders of the Georgian Soviet Republic, and therefore including South Ossetia and Abkhazia) was recognized by the international community, South Ossetia rejected this and continued to assert its independence. Georgia declared the South Ossetia autonomous republic abolished.’ Many years later after this event, in 2008, South Ossetia wanted to be independent from Georgia again. After that, Georgia attacked South Ossetia` s capital, Tskhinvali. Following day, Russian military came to South Ossetia and engaged Georgian forces around Tskhinvali. Georgia and Russia fought heavily in 5 days. After 5 days, Georgian military forces are repulsed and Georgian cities; Poti and Gori are occupied by Russian military forces. After that, the USA and the EU showed reaction for this situation. The USA`s hospital ship and NATO`s two battleships crossed from the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. Actually, this is banned with Montreux Straits Treaty of 1936. ‘It severely restricts the passage of non-Turkish military vessels and prohibits some types of warships, such as aircraft carriers, from passing through the Straits.’ After that Nicholas Sarkozy went to Russia for mediation. Hence, Georgia and Russia reached a cease-fire agreement. However, Russia formed buffer zones against Georgia around Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After that Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared their independence from Georgia and Russia Federation recognize independence of these states although rest of the world` s reactions.

This conflict occurred between Russia, Georgia but there were other inside actors and outside actors such as separatist self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as inside actors and the USA, the EU as outside actors. Moreover, there were some important players on this event, such as Mikhael Saakashvili as Prime Minister of Georgia, Dimitry Medvedev as President of Russia Federation, Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister of Russia Federation, Vasiliy Lunev as Minister of Defense of South Ossetia, Anatoliy Zaitsev as military spokesman of Abkhazia. They fought all together against Georgia. Nicolas Sarkozy as the EU chairman tried to play mediator role in this conflict. Also as an INGO, NATO interested with Russia-Georgia conflict and it sent war ships to Georgian costs.

Analysis

The conflict between Russia and Georgia is a big problem. As I said before, it affected whole world. Even NATO sent two battle ships to Georgian costs. This conflict could spread all over the world. Abkhazia and South Ossetia wanted to be independent from Georgian like in end of the 1980s but Georgia did not want this situation. ‘Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin had said that if Georgia attacked South Ossetia, Russia would fight. Georgian advocates in the West claimed that Moscow was only bluffing. It wasn’t.’ Georgia attacked and Russia answered as they said. However, who is the right side or wrong side? We don’t know this. International Relations Theories can explain this situation and they can give the answer of the question of who is the right or wrong side?

According to Neo-realism perspective, there are four main reason of the conflict between Russia and Georgia in fact. These are anarchy, Georgian weakness, balance of power, security dilemma.

The most important cause of the conflict is anarchy, according to neo-realism, because ‘there is no world government to prevent states from using force, states may pursue policies of war in their efforts to survive and pursue any other goals they may have.’ Anarchy can be internally or externally. External anarchy means that international anarchy. In case of the conflict between Russia and Georgia, Russia attacked Georgia and this is a good example of international anarchy because Russia attacked another independent state. Georgia attacked Abkhazia and South Ossetia but they were provinces of Georgia and this was domestic matter of Georgia but Russia interested with this issue and Russia started to fight against Georgia. Internal anarchy causes civil war, Abkhazia and South Ossetia wanted to be independent countries and they revolted against Georgia so it wanted to control their territories and attacked. ‘There is no international sovereign to protect states from domestic dissent or make them threat their inhabitants fairly.’ Moreover, Georgia was a week state politically, economically, etc. Of course when a state or government is week, it can lose some of its territory. Hence, Georgia lost Abkhazia and South Ossetia, although it doesn’t recognize their independence, because, Russia established buffer zone around Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Second reason is that Georgian weakness according to neo realism. Georgia is a weak state politically, economically, etc. as a state. Because of this, ethnic groups in Georgia rebelled against Georgia. They wanted to gain independence from Georgia so Georgia attacked South Ossetia for overcome revolt. However, Weak states generally become targets of great powers. Hence, Russia helped Abkhazia and South Ossetia as militarily and later politically. Thus, Russia and Georgia started to fight.

Another factor of this conflict is balance of power. In the case of Kosovo, the USA recognized Kosovo as an independent state and this situation decreased Russia. Because, Russia supported Serbia and she did not recognize independence of Kosovo from Serbia. Hence, in the case of Russia-Georgia conflict, Russia support Abkhazia and South Ossetia and she recognized them as independent countries but the USA did not recognize their independence from Georgia. This can be seen as revenge but actually, this is not revenge. This is balance of power in the international relations.

Last factor is security dilemma. The U.S-Russian security dilemma is shaping the world. Actually, this caused by NATO` s expansion without Russia. Georgia wants to join NATO and Russia did not want this. This situation creates big security dilemma. Because of this, Russia tried to prevent Georgia with this conflict.

However, some media institutions said like Russian Imperialism and Russian Aggression but this is not true because according to liberal perspective, it emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Thus, Abkhazia and South Ossetia wanted to be independent from Georgia but Georgia attacked Abkhazia and South Ossetia and it killed many people including Russian citizens in South Ossetia because of this, Russia Federation attacked Georgia for protecting her citizens` s individual rights. Another thing is Georgia prohibited freedom of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by this attack.

Moreover, attacking of Georgia to South Ossetia and Abkhazia creates some prohibitions for economy and free trade. If Georgia did not start this conflict, the ports of Georgia would not close so this conflict prohibit right of free trade of people. Also, it affect Caucasian States` s economy.

After Rose Revolution in Georgia, Mikhael Saakashvili` s government applied aggressive policy toward ethnic society in Georgia like in the case of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. His government did not give equal rights them. Hence, this was not democratic governing. Because of this, always, ethnic groups in Georgia revolt against Georgia such as revolt of Autonomous Republic of Adjara, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, etc. Liberalism support self-determination for national minorities so independence is right of Abkhazia and South Ossetia but Mikhael Saakashvili wanted to prevent this situation so he attacked them. This situation created lack of liberty and injustice. In addition, communication is very important for liberalism because conflicts can solve with communication but Georgia did not communicate with South Ossetia, Abkhazia or Russia. They preferred military action. Mikhael Saakashvili` s Georgia should respect basic human rights of people such as security, liberty, property, etc. However, Georgian army killed minorities, prevented liberty of them, and destroys their private properties.

Conclusion

The conflict between Russia and Georgia is very critical issue. One side can say that Russia is right on this issue but on the other hand, other side can say that Georgia is right side. However, as a result, this conflict affected both sides as politically, economically, etc. I tried to find a solution for this rightfulness debate with two of international relations theories. These theories were neo realism (structural) and liberalism. Neo realism as an international relations theory shows us anarchy is the biggest problem on this conflict. It explains the biggest factor of the conflict with anarchy. Also, Neo realism shows other factors of the conflict, such as Georgian weakness, balance of power, and security dilemma. Georgian weakness shows us weak states can be target of other big states. Balance of power explained that there is a balance of power between Russia Federation and the USA. This situation shows us Georgia was used like a pawn in chess by Russia and the USA. Also, Georgia wanted to join NATO but Russia perceived this situation as a danger so this created a security dilemma. On the other hand, Liberalism shows us importance of freedom, protecting rights of minority groups, equality, etc. However, Georgia (Saakashvili` s Government) applied wrong method for finishing revolt against his governance. He applied military action and this creates big conflict between Russia and Georgia. There are many Russian citizens in the region of South Ossetia and Abkhazia so attacking of Georgia to this region made angry Russia Federation. These theories are opposite, because cooperating can overcome anarchy according to liberalism but according to neo realism anarchy is inevitable cause of the conflicts. This situation shows us liberalism is more optimistic than neo realism. Actually, liberalism cannot explain everything in the conflict but it is right in some points such as every state can respect basic human rights. Neo realism is very strict so it is based on term of anarchy but it can be better than other kinds of realism because structural realism rejects human nature as a source of conflicts. As a result, international relations theories help to see political events from different perspectives as in this term paper. Liberalism and neo realism provides to see Russia-Georgia Conflict with different ways and logic.

ISA BURAK GONCA








References:


1)http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2008/roots_conflict_between_georgia_south_ossetia_and_russia_7728

2)http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/yazarDetay.do?haberno=150871

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