BLACK SEA BASIN REGIONAL PROFILE:
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES
(A Background and February-April 1999 Issue in Brief)
Research Study 1
Hard copy: ISBN 954 - 9533 - 11 - 5
SPONSORED QUARTERLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL
II PROFILE BACKGROUND OF THE BLACK SEA BASIN
III CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BLACK-SEA AREA
6. Southern Ossetia
9. Kurdish Resistance in Turkey
10. Greek-Turkish Conflicts
11. The Transdniestra Conflict
12. The Russian-Ukrainian Tensions
IV THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENTS
V THE BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BLACK SEA REGION
VI STATE OFT THE REGIONAL INITIATIVES: THE BSEC
FACTORS (STATES AND INSTRUCTIONS) INFLUENCING IN THE BLACK SEA
VIII THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING OPPRTUNITIES:
The launch of the 'Black Sea Basin Regional Profile' by ISIS with the support of
the ISN stems from the need to monitor, analyse and predict processes and events in
the Black Sea area and the adjacent Balkan, Caucasian and Caspian regions. Many conflicts
burst in the post-Cold War era in these areas. Simultaneously various economic, social and
political factors stimulated the rise of real opportunities for cooperation in the Black
Sea basin, for shaping prerequisites of local countries to join the Eastern enlargement of
the European and the Euroatlantic civic and security zone, and the globalising economy
too. These opportunities do not receive, however, an unanimous acceptance of which follow
new interstate contradictions and tensions.
The patterns of security and foreign-policy behaviours of the regional actors in the
last decade vary strongly - a reflection of the different domestic environments,
conceptual orientations of the respective societies, international affiliations and of the
still immature level of regional cooperation.
The interaction of the various foreign-political interests and behaviours , the
dynamics of the security situation and the accumulation of the substance of a
conflict-settlement potential of the region and the utilisation of the region-building
opportunities are in the focus of the Profile.
In the Spring of 1996 the RAND experts Ronald D. Asmus, F. Stephen Larrabee and Ian O.
Lesser described the formation of two arcs of crises on the European continent, that cross
each other dangerously in the triangle "Middle East-The Balkans-Transcaucasia".
The first arc divides Russia and Germany and starts from Northern Europe and reaches the
Balkans. The second one cuts the Mediterranean Sea, starting from North Africa and through
the Middle East reaches South-Western Asia. The Black Sea basin and the littoral
territories acquire a key strategic meaning and role inside these arcs of crises.
Unlike the RAND experts this 'Profile' does not equate the strategic meaning and
contents of the two arcs of tensions and crises. The situation in Europe, in the
Euroatlantic space and the OSCE zone is incomparable to the conflict potential of the
"Southern" crisis arc. The persistent and purposeful policy of NATO, EU/WEU to
build together with Russia and the OSCE a new and more effective interlocking
institutional security system has dramatically diminished the conflict potential of the
first crisis arc. The formula for that is a difficult compromise of the enlarging NATO and
EU interests, of the Russian security interests and the definite unwillingness of the
Central/Eastern European countries to serve as a "strategic buffer" between the
West and the East and a clear will to participate actively in the eastward expansion of
the civil space and the zone of stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic-Asiatic
components of the OSCE area. A historical responsibility of the Central/Eastern European
countries is to support the complex process of reaching strategic compromises of the
security interests of their own countries, of the EU/WEU, NATO and Russia. This
fundamental difference between the two arcs of crises is a prerequisite the evolving and
inherited from the Cold War Northern arc to dilute and neutralise the harmful effects of
the Southern one.
This is the indispensable analytical framework of treating the Black Sea basin security
issues and their interaction with the conflicts in the Balkans and in the
Transcaucasian-Caspian subregions. Apart from other factors these conflicts are also
influenced by leading world power centres trying to redefine the geopolitical spheres on
the basis of the evolving geoeconomic conditions and interests. This perspective provides
us as well with the ability to assess the role of the Black Sea region in the process of
shaping a manageable system of European security.
The Black Sea basin and the coastal area similarly to the Balkans has been a point of
contact and interaction of different ethnic groups, nations and civilisations since
ancient times. The Caucasus - "the mountain of tongues", and the Caspian basin
comprise an extremely coloured and complicated ethnic "mosaic". Big masses of
Russian population share 300,000 square kilometres with more than 60 other ethnic groups
of local origin. They all live in the Transcaucasian states and in the autonomous
republics of the Northern Caucasus. 60 other ethnic groups whose homeland is outside the
region are also present. At the same time all the Caucasian main ethnic groups consist of
several ethnic sub-groups and smaller sub-groupings that often are considered separate
entities. Adding Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Greek and Kurdish population
completes this rich ethnic picture of the area.
The religious structure of the Black Sea basin and its adjacent territories is
heterogeneous too. Eastern Orthodox Christianity is represented in Russia, Ukraine,
Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia and Armenia (Armenian Monofisite-Gregorian
Church). Part of the Ukrainian and less of all the other Orthodox Christians are
Catholics. An insignificant number of confessors is Protestant. A big part of the people
of the broader region of the Black Sea basin are Muslims (in Turkey, Albania, Azerbaijan -
Shiite Muslims, North Caucasian autonomous regions of the Russian Federation) - mostly
This region bears in it two cultures and value systems - a tempting argument to
classify the local conflicts, especially the ethno-territorial ones between Christian and
Moslem people, in the terms and categories of Samuel Huntington's "clash of
civilisations" paradigm. Our perception is that even when these conflicts erupt along
cultural and denominational dividing lines and boundaries they have a basically economic
and political nature. Chechnya is a vivid example of utilising religious differences for
achieving geopolitical and economic objectives. The war in Chechnya is part of the
competition over the route of the Caspian oil to Western Europe. On the issues of the
ethno-religious differences and tensions our fundamental assumption is that the policy
of particular states shape the direction of their development into a major conflict
and crisis. For example, political and economic projects planning for new transport links
and communications and stable passage of the energy supplies provide a peaceful political
option and better business opportunities for the region. An accent on trans-national
issues in the Black Sea basin area may lead to breaking up of the "ethnic
autism", the fixation on national relics and on religious intolerance - i. e.
important prerequisites for the solution of the ethno-religious conflicts. The
recollection of historic lines of communication, such as "the silk route" could
re-emerge in new forms as the Eurasian transport corridor. And on the contrary, a new
"great game" of a regional and international geoeconomic and geopolitical
rivalry may shift the conflicts to the global level.
Sources of real and potential conflicts in the region are:
a. The birth of new state actors after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the inadequate
state-building stability and the reflection of this on the configuration of the interstate
relations in the adjacent regions of the Caucasus, Caspian Sea basin and the Balkans.
b. The transforming military balance, mainly among the three largest armed forces in
Europe - those of Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. The acquisitions of armaments in the Black
Sea and in the neighbouring regions are huge both in quantities and quality. This is true
also for the armaments industrial capacity of the region. Major issues sprang in the naval
balances of the Black Sea - between Russia and Ukraine, between Russia and Turkey. A
universal issue is the violation by Turkey in 1994 of the 1936 Montreux Convention about
the passage through the Straits. The activity of PfP countries' navies in maritime
exercises may also cause disputes. There is an almost non-existent system of
confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the maritime environment of the Black Sea. The
question of the higher ceilings for force deployments of Russia and Turkey than permitted
by the Vienna CFE negotiations' initial agreements remains controversial and yet
unsettled. Issues linked to the level of the civilian and democratic control over the
armed forces in the littoral states may also lead to escalation of regional tensions.
c. The Black Sea basin is an area of unhomogeneous economic systems and of grave
ecological problems. Pollution is the worst of them. It is caused by the coastal and other
European states through the Danube, Dniestr and Dniepr rivers and may lead to internal
political instabilities and usher disputes over the origins of the pollution.
d. After 16 November 1994 the Convention of the Law of the Sea (1982) came into force
and new geopolitical problems stemmed from it: about the delimitation of the Exclusive
Economic Zones (EEZ), including the continental shelf, of the sea spaces (territorial
waters, geographic centre of the Black Sea, agreements between the neighbouring littoral
states, etc.). Legal clarity is indispensable for the solid legal basis of both the
economic and the military activity in the Black Sea.
e. The imperfect political stability of the transitional countries of the region, the
appearance of highly organised criminality linked with the global structures in this
sphere and the absence of a regional security system is a potential source of local
conflicts. Turkey - the major naval power of the Black Sea and a key strategic country,
faces permanently three grave issues with a potential detonating regional effect - Islamic
fundamentalism, the Mafia and the Kurdish question. Turkish-Greek tensions add to the
depression of the political climate in the area. While Turkey and Greece belong to NATO,
all former Soviet Union states of the region are part of the military umbrella of the CIS.
Bulgaria and Romania are NATO applicants and EU associated countries.
f. The Black Sea and its littoral states have acquired the feature of a potential
battlefield for the oil and natural gas pipelines from Russia and the Caspian Sea basin.
The diversification of the energy supplies may significantly change the European and North
American dependencies from the Middle East and the Persian Gulf oil reservoirs. The
solution of this problem may lead to conflicts of various proportions - as well as to
opportunities for mutual benefits of the actors involved.
Obstacles of a different character to the normal transportation of oil and gas through
and around the Black Sea are the risks of terrorist activities in Chechnya and in the
regions with Kurdish resistance organisation. All countries that are interested in the oil
and gas supplies will profit from the lasting and stable resolution of the Chechen
conflict and the complex Kurdish question.
A broad array of conflict and post-conflict issues exist in the Black Sea basin
The peace agreement of August 1996 provided for a postponement of the future status of
Chechnya until a referendum in 2001 is to be held. The rebellious republic continued its
secessionist policy and insists on an international recognition as a sovereign state. The
political and the economic situation of Chechnya has the potential to destabilise the
entire region of the North Caucasus. A recent tendency of proliferating Wahabbitism - a
fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam, adds strongly to this potential. Poverty,
criminalisation of the state and rampant violence alongside with a clear willingness to
abandon federal control continue to characterise the situation in Chechnya. An internal
struggle between President Aslan Maskhadov of Chechnya, portrayed as too soft with Russia,
and 'Brigadier-General' Shamil Basaev, former acting prime-minister and field-commander
led to the latter's election on 19 February 1999 as chairman of the Shura - a ruling
council of 35 opposition figures set up by the field commanders. This marked a new effort
of relaunching the struggle for independence. Not long after Maskhadov has been alleged to
have met secretly with the Russian interior minister Stepashin and to have bypassed the
Chechen parliament by appointing a cabinet with a decree, the president of the republic
hardly managed to survive an assassination attempt. Kidnapping high-level Russian security
representatives by the opposition has become another instrument of intimidating Maskhadov
and provoking the central authorities of Russia.
Mutual accusations with Moscow on separatism from the Russian Federation and on
disregarding the local traditions by the federal government raised the tensions. However,
a controversial referendum due to be held on 28 February 1999 about subordinating the
prosecutors' and the law-enforcement powers to the Ingush President has been cancelled and
relations with Moscow placed back on a negotiation and conciliation track. Although the
Constitution of Ingushetia declares the republican laws take precedence over the federal
ones, no decisive steps have been undertaken to enforce federal legislature.
3. North Ossetia
North Ossetian leadership is in a process of being persuaded by the federal authorities in
Moscow to agree to sign a 20-year moratorium on territorial disputes and allocation of
finance to restore damaged housing.
The largest ethnic group in Daghestan are the Avars. It is quite probable that Moscow
considers the active maintenance of stability is at too high cost. This is why Russia has
de-concentrated its forces at the Daghestani/Chechen border. The preference of Russia
after experiencing several terrorist attacks on its motor rifle brigade stationed in
Daghestan is for recruiting local interior forces to preserve the order. Another tense
issue is connected with the claims of Chechens to return to places from which they have
been forcefully moved in 1944 on the territory of Daghestan. Islam militants have
terrorised the Laks, the people who inhabit the contested Novolaksky district in
After a lost war of Georgia the reintegration of Abkhazia (as well as of Southern Ossetia
and of Ajaria) into a federal state is on the mind of the leaders in Tbilisi. A divided
Russian political elite has led to the inconsistency of the Russian policy to this
conflict. The OSCE and the UN have also been involved in the issues of Abkhazian-Georgian
6. Southern Ossetia
The arbitrary end of the autonomy of South Ossetia by Georgia led to a struggle for
freedom to join North Ossetia - part of the Russian Federation. The Russian involvement in
the conflicts is developing very much according to the ways the Russian-Georgian relations
are being settled.
The restive population of Ajaria includes also turned into Islam Georgians. For long
Ajaria has been part of the federal structure of Georgia.
After fighting a successful war of Armenia against Azerbaijan about the Karabakh question
the post-conflict developments need to be carefully monitored. The involvement of Russia,
the United States and France as co-chairs of the Minsk Group has proven by now to bring
more conciliation in the troubled area. A skilful diplomatic treatment of the issue by the
President of Azerbaijan, G. Aliev, contributes to the gradual settlement of the
9. Kurdish Resistance in Turkey
The arrest of the Kurdish PKK leader A. Ocelan led to increased tensions in Turkey, mainly
intensification of the terrorist acts. The bilateral Greek-Turkish relations were also
affected - Greece was officially accused of supporting international terrorism. The
eventual trial of Ocelan will be carefully monitored by many human rights organisations
and by the EU authorities.
10. Greek-Turkish Conflicts about the Aegean
Sea, Cyprus and Western Thrace
Greek-Turkish relations consume a great part of the attention and the political energy of
NATO. It effectively keeps the bilateral conflicts under control.
11. The Transdniestria
The Russian position about the conflict is that the withdrawal of the Russian 14th army
will be synchronised with the settlement of the Transdniestr conflict. An ultimate
settlement may deprive Russia of the levers of keeping its military presence in the
region. In 1997 Moldova, the Transdniestria Moldovan Republic (TMR), Russia, Ukraine and
the OSCE signed a Memorandum of Principles of Normalisation of Relations between Moldova
and the TMR. It envisaged some settlement guarantees of the conflict prior to attaching to
the TMR a particular status to Moldova. A Joint Control Commission and peace-making posts
of 500 representatives of Moldova, the TMR and Russia in equal shares oversee the
implementation of the agreement. A new agreement of March 1998 in Odessa improves the
mechanism of conflict settlement. The dividing issue remains the claim of the Tiraspol
authorities of the TMR for sovereignty and statehood while Chisinau is ready only to
provide the TMR with the status of autonomy. A positive mediating role in settling this
conflict is played by Ukraine.
12. The Russian-Ukrainian Tensions about the
Crimea, the Black Sea Navy and Economic Issues
Eleven states were involved in a major regional initiative since 1992 - the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation (BSEC). Monitoring and specific issues in the 11 countries may
effectively help the formation of the regional profile. These 11 countries are:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania,
Russia, Turkey and
Ukraine. Particular attention will be devoted to Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Any
significant internal developments in each of the 11 countries that contribute to the
moulding of the regional profile will be reflected in the periodical.
A special focus of the 'Profile' will be the bilateral, trilateral and multilateral
relations in the monitored period and how they affect the regional situation.
The relations between Russia and Turkey - the most powerful actors in the Black Sea
region particularly matter for the security situation. From the point of view of the
eventual escalation of the conflicting aspects in the bilateral Russian-Turkish relations
it is no problem to be reminded of the traditional mistrust of the two countries, the
record of thirteen wars they have fought against each other in the last five
the negative reactions that may stem from the misperceptions of each others' intentions
and capabilities. It is instructive, however, to be reminded that this record has been
stopped during the greater part of this century due to the pragmatic and temperate policy
of restraint since the 20s when fundamental bilateral agreements have been reached and
The BSEC was launched after a Turkish initiative on 25 June 1992 in Istanbul by the
leaders of 11 countries of the subregion (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia,
Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine). It still remains the major regional
cooperation undertaking in the Black Sea basin. On 5 June 1998 in Yalta the 11 countries
adopted the Charter of the Organisation of the BSEC. The Charter legally upgraded the
forum and defined the BSEC region - the territories of the member-states of the regional
economic organisation. Austria, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Tunisia hold an
observer status. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), FYROM, Uzbekistan, Iran, France
and Germany have also expressed an interest in either joining or observing the activity of
the BSEC. The OBSEC cooperates also with the following international
EU, WTO, UN/ECE, UNIDO, MERCOSUR and with neighbouring subregional groupings as the
SECI, CEI, the EU initiated 'Royaumont Process' of Stability and Good-Neighbourliness in
Southeast Europe and with the locally initiated Process on Stability and Security and
Cooperation in Southeast Europe (the 'Sofia Process'). The objectives of the BSEC are the
promotion of economic cooperation for avoiding conflicts, achieving peaceful settlement of
disputes in accordance with the OSCE principles and for assisting the participant states
in their integration in the European and world economy. The fields of cooperation include
trade and investment, transport, communication and energy, tourism, environment, science
and research. The achievements of the economic cooperation in the region by now are rather
modest. The BSEC is considered a political success because it is bringing together in a
forum the Black Sea states. However, the practical results are limited to that.
a) The BSEC runs into the following problems and
difficulties: this region and the adjacent Southeastern Europe remain 'high risk' for the investors
because of the different conflicts and especially those in ex-Yugoslavia. This leads to
isolation from the dynamic world processes;
difficulties in the macroeconomic stabilisation of the transitional countries - a needed
prerequisite for non-inflation rise and structure reforms;
the Russian financial crisis, its consequences of shrinking the markets of goods and
services, of decreasing the rate of trade in the BSEC countries;
slow and low level of the process of mutual liberalisation of the trade-economic exchange
in the BSEC;
a general depressive state of the economies of the region with a tendency to deepen due to
their separation from the progress of the European integration and to the growing gap with
the economies of the developed countries;
a slow and almost ineffective realisation of: regional projects of common
investment in these projects (local and international) - despite the declarations of a
political will to cooperate;
a continuing mutual reservation and non-engagement in promoting issues and projects of
multilateral and bilateral interest.
b) The enlisted tendencies contribute largely to the limited results of the various
BSEC designs. The specific economic difficulties in each of the countries in the region
does not allow making significant steps of mutual cooperation. A major feature of the BSEC
countries is the lack of an adequately formed mutual interest of deepening the economic
relations and the realisation of joint projects.
c) The need of foreign investments.The low financial capabilities of the BSEC countries to implement regional projects
inevitably require the attraction of international capital and investments. This specific
way of developing regional cooperation through foreign investments runs into problems by
now - because of the high risks of the region and of the general refraining of the
international financial markets to invest in the newly springing markets after the crises
in East Asia and in Russia.
The unhomogeneous economic structures, potential and levels of employment as well as
guaranteed resources do not stimulate the interest of mutual overlapping in promoting
their development. The difficulties of the individual economies highlight the priority of
the internal economic stabilisation as a prerequisite to participate in the BSEC.
d) The role of the institutional structures, including the Black Sea
bank.The existing institutional structure of the BSEC supports the political dialogue and the
search of economic opportunities for developing the cooperation.
The Black Sea Bank may play a substantial role in the realisation of joint projects.
Its objective is to become an investment financial centre for directing cooperation. A
real issue for the Bank is to outline and analyse the financial and the credit problems as
a first step in balancing the interests of the BSEC members. The mobility of the
production factors is another obstacle in balancing the interests of the participating
e) The forecasting assessment.There are unfavourable conditions and prerequisites of developing the BSEC. The slowed
down structure reform of the transitional countries will influence negatively the BSEC.
In the conceptual terms of security studies the Organisation for Black Sea Economic
Cooperation (OBSEC), though a 'purely' economic one, fulfils major security and conflict
prevention functions in an ethnically and politically volatile region. From the point of
view of this broader conceptual perspective about security and conflict settlement the
answer to a traditional question about the BSEC: "Is there a political and security
dimension?" is definitely 'yes'. The organisation was born by a political decision
and the institutional regulation of the economic relations have a political normative
nature. The ratification of the Charter of OBSEC by the member-states will result in the
strengthening of the political character of the institution through the assumption of
legal features of the relationships.
OBSEC definitely has a security dimension too. The BSEC is not exempt from part of the
spectrum of security roles open to other subregional groups in Central/Eastern Europe: the
existential level of security; the soft security contribution to the overall security
situation and explicit security role. There are ideas, originating from Turkey, of
developing a hard security role too, mainly in the navy relations of the six littoral
states - Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria.
There is another aspect of the regional political and security relations - the
establishment of an interface between the OBSEC and the European and Euroatlantic security
institutions: OSCE, EU, WEU, NATO/EAPC/PfP. More is needed to develop the cooperation on
issues of civil-military relations with the objective to upgrade the democratic control
over the security institutions, including the armed forces.
There are various institutional affiliations of the countries from the Black Sea
region, especially to NATO, EU and the WEU.
Turkey and Greece are NATO members. The other 9 OBSEC members are PfP countries.
Bulgaria and Romania are applicants for full membership in the Alliance. In 1997 Russia
concluded a Russia-NATO Founding Act and Ukraine signed the NATO-Ukraine Charter of
Distinctive Partnership. All the 11 OBSEC countries are members of the EAPC.
Greece is an EU member. Bulgaria and Romania are associate members of the EU with
'European Agreements' and Turkey is an associate member since 1963 but is part of the
Customs Union of the EU since December 1995. The EU has signed Partnership and
Co-operation Agreements (PCAs) with Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and
Azerbaijan. Albania is part of various EU programmes. The approach of the WEU in the BSEC
region is strictly bilateral. There is a WEU Member state - Greece; an Associate Member -
Turkey, and two Associate Partners - Bulgaria and Romania. The WEU is carrying a dialogue
with Russia and Ukraine. The WEU has contracted the delivery of Russian satellite images
of specific areas by demand. There are ad hoc consultations of WEU with Moldova and
sporadic links are going on with Georgia and Armenia.
The comparison of the relations of these three major European and Euroatlantic security
institutions in the BSEC region and in the other subregional groups - the Barents
Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Central
European Initiative (CEI) as well as the Southeast European Process for Stability and
Cooperation shows a lower level of involvement in the BSEC region.
The OSCE is the premier organisation for the promotion of human rights and democracy in
Europe. OSCE is the specialised Euro-Atlanto-Asiatic institution for early warning,
conflict-prevention and crisis and post-crisis management and rehabilitation. OSCE has
already experienced missions in BSEC countries - Russia (in Chechnya), Georgia (in South
Ossetia), Azerbaijan (in Nagorno-Karabakh), Moldova (in Transdniestr), Ukraine and
A major challenge of the external factors of influence is the regulation of the balance
of the Russian and the Turkish interests in the Black Sea region. In this respect both the
USA and the EU have important roles to play. The US strategic priorities have strongly
shifted to the Caspian basin with so many American private investors engaged in the
region. The INOGATE projects of the EU have made the Union a major geostrategic and
geoeconomic actor in this region. The New Silk Road or TRACECA - a major plan for
infrastructure improvements of the region, intends to promote the westward transit of
goods and energy resources from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, from the Caspian Sea (under
and across it) to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to Europe and the USA.
Understanding that Russia has a critical role to play - both in the transit of oil and
gas supplies and in the transport corridor construction, is vital for the success of the
projects. The involvement of the USA and the EU in negotiations with both Russia and
Turkey is indispensable to improve the security situation in the region. The USA and the
EU are in the position to neutralise the fuelling up of a Russian-Turkish competition for
leadership in a situation which requires cooperation and coordination. The EU has much
better chances of implementing the TRACECA project - a transport corridor on an East-West
axis from Europe, across the Black Sea, through the Caucasus and Caspian Sea to Central
Asia, in case it succeeds to balance its support for the US economic interests in this
project with other economic and financial incentives in Russian favour. For this project
the Russian perceptions are that Russia is being deprived from transporting through routes
to the north of the same energy supplies. Turkey could not cover neither culturally, nor
linguistically the countries from the Southern tier of the former Soviet Union and the
Russian influence remains strong. The hospitable acceptance of the European project in
this area is contingent on the balancing of the Russian interests.
The US support for the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipe-line that is of main Turkish interest
should be balanced by the American insistence on keeping the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles
open for oil-tankers with Caspian oil according to the rules of the law of the seas.
Generally speaking, the West's BSEC region strategy should give preference to the
'engagement' option of attitude to Russia and leave aside the 'containment' and
'disengagement' ones. This option would mostly correspond to the NATO-Russia relationship
- a significant instrument in influencing the global strategic balances.
EU-Turkish and EU-Russian relationships and their well targeted mutual balance may turn
into the key lever of driving the zones of stability and prosperity eastwards. The job is
not easy but it cannot be postponed for long.
1. The end of the Cold War marked the start of a mutual penetration and interlocking of
traditionally defined strategic zones - the European, the Middle Eastern, the Asia Minor
and even the Central Asian. This trend in the security interrelationships requires a new
vision about the Adriatic Sea-Balkans-Black Sea-Caspian Sea strategic interdependencies.
The call for that stems from the new geoeconomic opportunities for a broad range of
interested actors - states, oil and gas national, international and transnational
companies, EU and NATO. The enlargement of the Union and of the Alliance will remain the
most vibrant tendency in the Euroatlantic space. It can be expected that most of the
nations in Southeastern Europe will join both organisations in the next 5 to 15 years. The
reasons are the coincidence of political and economic interests and the interests of
strengthening stability and security; the need to overcome economic retardedness of the
broader region and avert social catastrophe; the prospects of constructing something more
than infrastructure for energy supplies from the Caspian Sea through the Black Sea and the
Balkans to Western Europe - a prospering economic area, part of which will join the EU and
the rest will be a credible economic partner of the USA and a reliable neighbour of the
EU. Logical follow-ups of these developments will be a decisive shift of NATO's and the
EU's attention to the Southeastern region of Europe and the Black Sea-Mediterranean area.
This will create significant prerequisites to prevent the 'domino effect' in security
relations in a zone stretching from Kosovo through Bosnia and Herzegovina to Cyprus and
further to Kurdistan, Chechnya, Karabakh and even Tadjikistan. The key to solving this
issue on a stable basis is by preserving the ethnic and religious diversity and overcoming
the poverty of the broader region. Bringing Russia and Ukraine 'in' this interplay and
reversing arms race are crucial factors of success in this endeavour.
2. The factors that will stimulate the region-building opportunities are:
- the effective utilisation of the energy sector;
- the involvement of the private sector, of the private industries in general and the
- the growth of the trade relations and the rise in the effectiveness of the BSEC;
- the involvement of the national political element in the regional cooperation:
governmental, parliamentary and of local authorities;
- the evolution of the educational and cultural relations in the Black Sea region;
- the peaceful, friendly and stable bilateral relations of the 11 BSEC countries;
- the evolution of the CBMs in the maritime environment of the Black Sea, the utilisation
of more security roles of the multilateral cooperation parallel to the strengthening of
the links of the regional states and their multilateral arrangements with the European and
the Euroatlantic institutions.
CONTACT AND REFERENCE
Dr. Plamen Pantev, Editor–in–Chief
ISSN 1311 – 3240
Dr. Tatiana Houbenova-Delissivkova
Address: ISIS, 1618 Sofia,
Mr. Valeri Rachev, M. A.
P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria
Dr. Sc. Venelin Tsachevsky
Phone/Fax: ++(359 - 2-) 551 828
Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.
E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Dinko Dinkov
Dr. Todor Tagarev