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Exchange in Turkish style or North Cyprus syndrome25.09.2009 | 13:40
Some media have reported on Turkey's alleged desire to recognize Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence. There is a "but" though: in exchange for Russia's recognition of North Cyprus. How possible is this turn of events that would completely change alignment of forces in Caucasus?
Recently Milliyet newspaper (Turkey) disseminated information that Ankara might recognize Abkhazia's independence in exchange for Russia's recognition of Turkish Cyprus. As the newspaper asserts there are active talks on the issue behind the political scenes of Turkey. Jenk Baslamsh, the author of the article remarks that in his view the incredible scenario is not more unfeasible than settlement of Yerevan-Ankara relations.
Georgian-Turkish relations deteriorated after the detention of Turkish ships. Over 20 thousand dollars were paid for the Buket tanker captain arrested by the Georgian border guards. Otherwise he would have been sentenced to 24 years' imprisonment. As Free Press correspondent in Ankara suggests the article in Milliyet was meant to see Russia's and Georgia's possible reaction.
As the newspaper believes the warming-up between Russia and Turkey, now partners in extension of influence in Caucasus, is indirect evidence of the presented version. Moscow refrains from official comments on the information in Turkish media. It was made clear in Athens that international recognition of North Cyprus would be prevented by all means.
Commenting on the information Abkhaz FM Sergey Shamba doubted the possibility of such developments because of NATO member states' negative stand on Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's recognition, Caucasian Knot reports. Georgian experts also consider it impossible that Turkey will say yes to Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence.
Georgian expert Mamuka Areshidze thinks in case Georgia's breakaway territories are acknowledged Turkey will lose all its partners in the West as well as all chances of EU accession, GHN reports. "This is an attempt to gauge public opinion. If Russia recognizes Cyprus it will lose Greece as an economic partner. In no way will Greece put up with this recognition. And as for further outlook, this action will only mean that EU doors will be closed for Turkey", - Areshidze told GHN.
Besides, the expert indicates, in case North Cyprus is recognized it will cause a chain reaction throughout the region as Armenia will immediately raise the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh's recognition. "Most probably this will arouse Baku's irritation since for so many years Turkey has made no steps for a real resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue", - the expert noted.
Areshidze also points out that Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's recognition would put a full stop on any economic and political ties between Georgia and Turkey. "Given all this I don't think Turkey would do that. This will arouse serious resentment of the States, the European Union and Turkey's partners in the West", - the expert stated.
Politologist Andro Barnov considers the information on Turkey's possible recognition of Abkhazia as "provocation oriented". "Turkey's recognition of Georgia's territories is impossible due to many reasons Turkey has. In particular, it will be a hostile, anti-US step. Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia can only be recognized by minor players while serious states won't do that", - Barnov stated.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked a Russian expert for his opinion. Mikhail Alexandrov, head of Caucasus Department with the CIS Institute said:
No doubt Turkey wants recognition of North Cyprus. Russia is not ready for that. Moscow has no point in quarrelling with the Republic of Cyprus and Greece. All the more so because of Ankara's mythic promise. Besides Russia is little interested to have Abkhazia recognized by the whole world. It is clear why: Russia wants Abkhazia to be Russia-oriented. As for Turkey Russia is on competitive-friendly terms with it. There is advance on mutual interests like Armenia-Turkey border opening. Russia is ok with that. As for recognition of Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence Russia's position is this: Moscow will not put pressure on Ankara, neither will it put any obstacles. Let them recognize if they want to and it's no problem if they don't. Moscow will not bargain about that. It's not the case.