Pan-Turkism and the Balance of Powers in Our Region

Armenia


Editorial, Acnis.am

If in the 20th century the great powers would gauge their relationships in Europe, today the Greater Middle East has emerged as the fulcrum of geopolitical developments.  The Southern Caucasus is front and center in this regard.

These movements cannot circumvent Armenia or, more specifically, Armenia’s present and future are interrelated with the current processes.

One of the main notions of these geopolitical developments is “balance of powers,” which entered political thought and parlance beginning in 1648, when the struggle for supremacy in Europe ended with the peace treaty of Westphalia.

The concept of “balance of powers” thus put in circulation can frequently be heard during multinational summits as well as in speeches of world leader world leaders, especially when they accuse each other of attempting to violate the political balance.

Now let us return to our region.  The Syrian civil war, in which several countries are taking part, is a breach of the regional balance which has the potential of creating a new geopolitical situation, and around which new provisional coalitions of nations are forming— and also quickly collapsing.

Those are tactical coalitions, as strategic-level ones are not being effected.  Strategic coalitions stabilize world politics, while tactical ones, on the contrary, are indicators of uncertainty.

The visits to Armenia of Russia’s president, defense minister, foreign minister, parliament speaker, and other leaders, their public statements, as well as Turkish president Erdogan’s fluctuations between Russia and United States must be observed and assessed in this context.

The same refers to the adoption by the US House of Representatives of the Armenian Genocide resolution, together with its inclusion in the Senate’s agenda in advance of Erdogan’s trip to Washington, and then during his visit a US Senator’s denialist veto put on even discussion of the Senate bill as part of a realpolitik trade off.

The geopolitical uncertainty that has arisen in connection with the events in Syria has compelled countries to become players in a variety of games and duplicitous ploys.

And what does pan-Turkism have to do with all this?  Among its brethren ideologies of pan-Arabism, pan-Slavonism, pan-Germanism, pan-Islamism, and other similar ideologies of 19th century vintage, it is pan-Turkish which is still viable and vibrant in the 21st century.  What is more, owing to the efforts of Turkey and Azerbaijan the Turkic nations have been newly connected via political structures and working groups.

In general, such ideologies pose a grave danger to neighboring countries.  Pan-Turkism constitutes a security threat to Russia, Iran, Georgia, even China, and an existential one for Armenia.  It also represents an imminent threat to the existing geostrategic equilibrium.

Pan-Turkism furthermore jeopardizes the territorial integrity of the region and its states.  But this coin has two sides.  According to the “balance of powers” and Newton’s law, force breeds counter- force.  A coalition of political actors gathered around a given idea might come to expect an alliance assembled in opposition.

In this way we must be able creatively to observe Armenia’s geopolitical import and the disposition of different nations toward it.  Naturally, there are and will be both risks and opportunities.



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