By Ipek Velioglu
February 8th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Turkish-Russian relations have not recovered after the downing of a Russian jet last November. On the contrary, the tension is spreading into neighboring areas. Russia is pressuring the Central Asian countries, politically and economically, to constrain Turkey’s activities in the region. Although Ankara’s influence in the Central Asian Republics is limited, it developed good ties with almost all them after the collapse of the USSR. Turkey was the first country to recognize the new-born states; it has supported their independence and contributed to their integration into the international system. Under the AKP’s rule, Turkey has also become a major donor for some of them. Central Asian countries now seek risk being dragged into the Turkish-Russian standoff.
By Erik Davtyan
January 18th, the CACI Analyst
On December 18-19, 2015 the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, held a meeting in Bern, Switzerland. The Bern meeting came after an interlude of more than a year. The latest bilateral meeting at the presidential level took place in Paris on October 27, 2014 on the initiative of France’s President François Hollande, following previous meetings on September 4 in New Port, Wales on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s initiative, and in Sochi on August 10, hosted by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
By Dmitry Shlapentokh
November 6, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Moscow has recently undertaken several actions aiming to increase Russia’s influence in the Middle East and Central Asia. On August 23-28, 2015, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes several members from Central Asia, undertook military exercises in Russia. Russian authorities stated that the maneuvers aimed to help CSTO members develop means to effectively move airborne forces and other troops to conflict zones, including in Central Asia. The exercises partly served to address a real concern on the part of Russia as well as other CSTO members over the rise of the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS). However, Russia sees ISIS not only as a threat but also as an opportunity for both increasing Russia’s influence in Central Asia and providing a pretext for its venture in the Middle East.
By Stephen Blank
October 22nd, 2015, The CACI Analyst
On October 13, 2015, the Taliban announced its withdrawal from the major Afghan city of Kunduz that it had captured earlier. A counterattack by the Afghan Army and the ISAF alliance’s air power reversed the Taliban’s earlier victory and forced them out of the city. Nevertheless, this battle cannot be considered a victory for the Afghan government or for ISAF, and its repercussions are wide-ranging. Almost immediately after the Taliban withdrawal, President Obama ended his long review of U.S. strategy and policy in Afghanistan by announcing that 5,500 U.S. forces would stay through 2017, i.e. into the next administration, to ensure the continuing stabilization of Afghanistan.
By Erik Davtyan
September 28th, the CACI Analyst
On September 7, Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan visited Moscow and met his counterpart Vladimir Putin. This meeting, which took place nearly two years after President Sargsyan declared Armenia’s decision to join the Russia-led Customs Union, is the fourth in this year. The first meeting in 2015 took place in April, when Putin attended the events dedicated to the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial. The second and third meetings took place in May and July when Sargsyan attended the events in Moscow dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War and then during the joint summit of BRICS, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and SCO leaders in Ufa.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.