IEPAS2016 – Abstracts

13:30-15:00 TH01: Thursday | Panel | Theme: Rethinking Central Asia since Independence: Old Actors, New Realities*


Moderator/Discussant: Assoc. Prof. Aigerim Shilibekova (CIRS, ENU, Kazakhstan)

· Professor Farkhad Tolipov – Convergence, Divergence and Correlation of Security Policies in Central Asia

· Dr. Paul Richardson – Sovereignty regimes and the future of the Eurasian Union

· Assoc. Prof. Jahangir Karami – Iran and Central Asia 25 years After Independence: Activities and Results

· Dr. Anar Somuncuoglu – U.S. Aid and Democracy Promotion Policies towards Central Asia

· Dr. Aigul Assenova and Assoc. Prof. Aigerim Shilibekova – International Organizations in Central Asia: Case of the World Bank in Kazakhstan

· Abhishek Srivastava – Reconnecting India and Central Asia: Modi’s ‘Look-North’ Policy


* This special panel is hosted by the Center for International and Regional Studies of Eurasian National University.

Dr. Farkhod Tolipov

Research Institution “Knowledge Caravan”

Normative and informational aspects of modern geopolitics: the case of Central Asia-Turkey relation

Geopolitics, as classically understood, was the business of great powers; it was all about great powers’ struggle with each other for domination in world politics via establishing control over or obtaining certain geographic spaces by means of ‘hard power’. In this sense, it was, so to speak, macro-geopolitics. Modern geopolitics is much different from classical one. One of many distinctions of modern geopolitics is reflected in micro-geopolitics of smaller countries which employ their geographical assets in their dealings with great powers as well as with neighbouring countries. Another distinction is related to its normative and informational dimension – what is today called ‘soft power’. Turkey’s geopolitics is of special interest in this respect for several reasons: first, since the period of Ottoman Empire, it pursued somewhat great power geopolitics. Second, in the 20th century up to now Turkey, as a mid-ranking power, performs modern geopolitics with explicit normative and informational elements of it. Third, Turkey’s geographical location is outstanding at the intersection of pivotal civilizations – Europe, Russia, Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East, and Africa. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Turkey’s the then President Turgut Ozal proclaimed the Union of Turkic Peoples and up to now the Turkic unity has remained an important element of Ankara’s international stance. Central Asian region – the permanent target of great powers’ geopolitical competitions of the 19th and 20th centuries – provides an interesting and quite unique case for revising classical theory and getting new insight of this complicated phenomenon of international relations. In the research the geopolitical transformation of the Central Asian region is examined within the modern school of critical geopolitics as well as the role of Turkey in this comprehensive process is considered with special focus on normative and informational aspects. It is really interesting to explore the foundations of Turkey’s foreign policy and international stance looking at such recent historical events as war in Afghanistan and Iraq, “Arab spring” turmoil, crisis in Ukraine, as well as Turkey’s role in NATO, perspectives of Turkey’s admission to the EU, Turkish vision of post-Soviet realities and its relations with Turkic nations of Central Asia. From theoretical perspective it is interesting how Turkey defines its national interests and what the content of its foreign policy doctrine is. This research also closely follows the on-going discussions among Turkish experts, scholars, media and the public on above mentioned topics. The research objectives imply also getting acquainted with official documents, doctrines, concepts as well as existing theoretical schools of this country.

Keywords: Geopolitics, Central Asia, Eurasia

Dr Paul Richardson

University of Manchester

Sovereignty regimes and the future of the Eurasian Union

Drawing on the theoretical literature on sovereignty regimes, this paper seeks to understand how sovereignty operates in the post-Soviet states and the tensions between competing sovereignty regimes in the region. Events in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea by Russia have heightened debates on borders, sovereignty, and identity in post-Soviet space and beyond. This paper explores how political elites and different sections of society in Kazakhstan have reacted to the redrawing of inter-state borders in post-Soviet space. It will trace how various identity coalitions and interest groups in Kazakh society have interpreted these events, and how opinion at the elite and popular level towards Russia has shifted. The project will also interrogate how these perspectives are mediated by Kazakhstan’s membership of the Eurasian Economic Union.


Keywords: sovereignty regimes, Kazakhstan, Eurasian Union, Russia, geopolitics

13:30-15:00 TH02: Thursday | Panel | Theme: Regional Security, Geopolitics, Conflict


Moderator/Discussant: Professor Murat Cemrek (Necmettin Erbakan University, Turkey)


  • Dr. Aslihan Anlar – Regional Security in the Post-Soviet Region
  • Assoc. Prof. Emre Ersen – SU-24 Fighter Jet Crisis: A Turkish Perspective
  • Dr. Hamid Akin Unver – Power Penetration in RSCT: The Case of Russia’s Involvement in Southern Gas Corridor
  • Oliwia Piskowska – Attitudes of social elites of Bishkek towards the rivalry between Russia, China, and the USA in Central Asia
Dr. Aslıhan Anlar

Kocaeli University

Regional Security in the Post-Soviet Region

While the literature on regional and area studies is covering wide range of issues; studies on regional security are still suffering from the answering the two specific questions “What parameters can be used to define security in any region?” and “What are the main factors that shape the security situation in a region?” To identify these two questions, basing on my field research conducted in 2012 (28 interviews with academicians, journalists and state officials from the USA, the Russian Federation and Turkey); 17 items are determined as basic reasons behind the state-of-affairs of security in a region. In this paper, after a short literature review including Barry Buzan and David Lake’s studies on regional security, the state of affairs of security is attempted to define in the Western part of the post-Soviet countries (Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia) by using three indicators which are the existence of military conflicts, the existence of clear identification of an enemy or a threat by the regional states, a significant increase in the ratio of military expenditures to GDP. Whether or not the items expressed above exist in this sub-region – the Former Soviet Union countries in Europe and which of them are influential in the security situation of the Region are the basic themes of this paper.


Keywords: regional security, regional interest, post-Soviet countries, the Russian Federation

Associate Professor Emre Erşen

Marmara University

Su-24 Fighter Jet Crisis: A Turkish Perspective


On 30 September 2015, Russia started air strikes in order to support the Assad regime in Syria. In a matter of weeks, Turkish-Russian relations deteriorated rapidly due to the strengthened Russian military presence in the region. Eventually, on 24 November 2015, the Turkish armed forces shot down a Russian SU-24 fighter jet on the grounds that it was violating Turkey’s airspace. Ankara also immediately carried the issue to the agenda of NATO and refused to apologize for this action, while Moscow retaliated by declaring a series of economic sanctions and accusing the Turkish government of helping terrorists in Syria. The crisis came as a shock to many people in both Turkey and Russia because of the advanced level of their relationship. Yet, when one takes a closer look at the completely divergent positions of the two countries regarding the Syrian civil war in the last few years, it can be claimed that the fighter jet crisis actually reflected the main dilemma of the Turkish-Russian relations: achieving genuine strategic rapprochement in the face of significant regional disagreements. It should be remembered in this regard that one of the most important dimensions of the rapprochement process between Ankara and Moscow in the 2000s has been the quest to build an “atmosphere of trust” in the bilateral relations. Yet, the fighter jet crisis has clearly showed the leaders of both countries that the “atmosphere of trust” remained only in words. Although significant distance has been covered in the development of relations in the spheres of trade, tourism and energy, Turkey’s membership in NATO has been an important factor that prevented further cooperation in the eyes of Russian policymakers. That is also why Turkish officials’ bold statements about full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were not taken very seriously by the Kremlin. Currently, it is not realistic to expect Russia to step back from its position without retaliating for the Turkish action or receiving an official apology from the Turkish government. This is also because the crisis with Turkey currently allows the Russian leaders to divert the attention of the public away from the worsening economic conditions in the country. It also seems that the historically strong “enemy image” of Turkey in the Russian society can easily be mobilized at times of crisis. However, the Russian leaders should somehow find a way to reassess their perceptions about Turkey in a more realistic way and try to remember that tense relations with such an important regional power will work against Russia’s strategic interests in the longer term.

Keywords: SU-24 crisis, Turkish-Russian relations, Turkish foreign policy

Assistant Professor Hamid Akin Unver

Kadir Has University

Power Penetration in RSCT: The Case of Russia’s Involvement in Southern Gas Corridor


This paper evaluates Russia’s energy policy within the Former Soviet Union (FSU) realm from a Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT) angle. Using RSCT’s great power penetration conceptualization, this study analyses the way that Russia uses its energy privilege either hard or soft power, leading to its involvement into the Southern Gas Corridor. After picturing the Russian oil and gas reserves, pipelines, main companies and strategy documents, in order to research the Russian foreign energy policy actions, the two directions East and West of Russian energy connections have been analysed concerning the period of last decade. Furthermore, it was observed that Russia may use energy weapon anytime it feels a threat against its national interest or regional strategy. Russian firms have tried to purchase a controlling stake in pipelines, ports, storage facilities, and other key energy assets of the countries of central and eastern Europe. They need these assets to transport energy supplies to lucrative western European markets, as well as to secure greater control over the domestic markets of the countries of the region. In several cases where assets were sold to non-Russian firms, Russian firms cut off energy supplies to the facilities. Russia has also tried to build new pipelines to circumvent infrastructure that it does not control. Another objective Russia has pursued has been to eliminate the energy subsidies former Soviet republics have received since the fall of the Soviet Union, including by raising the price these countries pay for natural gas to world market prices. This paper assesses Russia’s energy policy with regard to the Southern Gas Corridor, using RSCT’s Great power penetration, dissecting it into its objective, subjective and intersubjective elements: unipolar, multipolar-cooperative and multipolar-competitive, bounded by hegemony and disengagement. After the specification of a methodology incorporating both objective macro- and interpretive micro-perspectives, two working hypotheses are specified. Firstly, that state incoherence engenders high levels of regional enmity, and, secondly, that patterns of great power penetration primarily affect transitions of regional amity/enmity between conflict formations and security regimes.


Keywords: Energy, RSCT, Russia, FSU

Oliwia Piskowska

University of Warsaw

Attitudes of social elites of Bishkek towards the rivalry between Russia, China, and the USA in Central Asia


The speech will elaborate on the way the social elites of Bishkek (intellectuals and businessmen) perceive the policy conducted by the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation and the United States of America towards Kyrgyzstan, including the rivalry between the superpowers. Despite an active policy of the aforementioned states in the region of Central Asia, Russia still remains the main partner of Kyrgyzstan in the political, economic, and socio-cultural sphere. China is seen as an alien and still unknown subject whereas the USA (or generally “the West” which means the USA and Europe) is perceived in the worse way. Rivalry between those three powers is rarely seen as a chance for the realization of Kyrgyzstan’s multifaceted international policy and in many cases it is perceived as a factor which destabilizes the political and economic situation of this country. The speech will be based on my own research, conducted in September 2014 in Bishkek.


Keywords: Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Russia, China, USA

13:30-15:00 TH03: Thursday | Panel | Theme: Contemporary Turkey and Globalization


Moderator/Discussant: Professor Alpaslan Ozerdem (CESRAN Int., UK)


  • Merve Ozkorkmaz – Exile from Exile: Mapping the Remigration (TOKI)
  • Semra Akay – A postsecular approach to the Gezi Park conflict
  • Ahmet Vedat Kocal – Political Change in Turkey during the Era of Globalization
  • Fahad Alhammadi – Globalization of The Pedestrian Street: The Case of Istiklal Caddesi
  • Dr. Alessia Chiriatti – Turkish (Governmental) Humanitarian Response during the Syrian Crisis
  • Dr. Husrev Tabak – Methodological Nationalism, Analytical Performativity, and the Study of IR in/on Turkey
Merve Özkorkmaz

Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University

Exile from Exile: Mapping the Remigration


In Istanbul, a very aggressive urban regeneration process began with a new law passed in 2005. Under this law, municipalities and TOKI (Housing Development Administration of Turkey) are authorized to carry out urban transformation (UTP) and urban renewal projects in illegal housing areas, besides historical and ecological areas. Kuyucu and Unsal (2008 p.1) raises a contentious issue in the discipline debate with the belief that ‘the analysis shows that the UTPs predominantly aim at physical and demographic upgrading of their respective areas rather than improving the living conditions of existing inhabitants, thus instigating a process of property transfer and displacement’. This study examines the role of neighbourhood dynamics in the transformation of housing by gecekondu clearance programs in Turkey, with a special focus on remigration cases from TOKI buildings. The study found that development based urban transformation projects resulted with forced evictions in gecekondu areas could indeed trigger remigration from TOKI buildings by breaking the livelihood and community network, inappropriate payment schedule and culturally and socially isolated location. Therefore, the process is resulted with some inhabitants moved back to their origins, where they migrated from many decades ago, since there is no affordable housing in the places where they built the gecekondus or squatters and created the livelihood networks any more (Image 1). This research, eventually, aims at confronting the lessons drawn from empirical analyses in Istanbul with lessons drawn from Cairo, Sao Paulo Beijing and Mexico City. This study is also generating the following sub-question for the future research: “Is there a specific Istanbul story which is telling us why Kurdish and Roma people reacted differently?”


Keywords: Remigration, Relocation, Dispossession, Forced eviction, Urban Segregation

Semra Akay

Durham University

A postsecular approach to the Gezi Park conflict


It has been argued that the paths that the twenty first century is following are considerably different from that of the twentieth century; primarily because the public and cultural importance of religion has become more visible. In this new century, with regard to public policy and governance, the importance of religion and faith communities has come into the centre of public life. This trend is also creating new alliances on the one hand and a dichotomy with secular groups on the other hand in public sphere. This refers to ‘postsecularism’ that means the process of de-privatisation of religion in the public sphere (Habermas, 2005 and 2008; Connoly 1999 and Assad, 2003). In this process, both secular and religious citizens from their own worldview accept an interpretation of the relation between faith and knowledge that enables them to live together in a self-reflective manner. This paper examines how the Gezi protest can be understood from a postsecular approach. It argues that Turkey has been transforming from a rigid secular to a postsecular one because of globalisation and localisation. The work also shows that the interaction between secular and religious classes in Gezi Park has become more complex than it used to be. In order to do that it applies in-depth interviews that were made with the protesters, media reviews and participant observation.


Keywords: secularism, postsecularism, religion, neoliberalism, Kemalism

Ahmet Vedat KOÇAL

University of Dicle

Political Change in Turkey during the Era of Globalization: The Re-Building Of Turkish Political System during Globalization in the Context of Social Structure and Actors


The process of globalization is producing structural changes and transformations in Turkey as well as all over the world. It replicates and diversifies the economical and therefore the political centres by the local-regional-capitalization processes and socio-economic development dynamics, so it solves the nation-state specific centrality by imposing a new structure which articulates to global system and is based on localization and social differentiation. The specific variations of civil society, which were under the repression of the repressive apparatus and also besieged by the ideological apparatus of the state during the nation-state, gain public visibility. Thus individual identity variations take place of social integration based on affinity. As a result, the specific social and political centrality of the nation-state gradually dissolves. This dissolution process is observed particularly on the transformation of conservatism and Kurdish identity, according to their effects on the nation-state structure based on the unitary and secularism. The rising trends of the politicization of Conservatism along with cultural and political demands of Kurdish identity, which turned into a seconder constitutional citizenship, host the most effective dynamics of the transformation of Turkey’s political structure during the globalization process. Cross-border trade and migration and urbanization processes in this context, which were developed due to Northern Iraqi market after the Gulf Wars, created the new socio-economic infrastructure of Kurdish identity. On the other hand, capital accumulation and circulation the source of which was the rising trend of local entrepreneurship of the liberalization process of imports and exports as well as Arab petro-dollar’s entry into Turkey’s financial markets, play a sub-structural role on the politicization of conservatism by having an impact on the formation and growth of ‘Anatolian capital’ corresponding to the commercializing of community-based local social capital. Thus, new economic centres formed on the global networks and relationships make the economic centrality of nation-state irrelevant by duplicating and diversifying the politic centres. This study intends to examine the apparent rise of the political participation of civil society as the main factor transforming the political system of Turkey during the Globalization process, and in this context, it is resulted in a transition from nation-state-specific homogeneous community to the global community, in the light of the regional, national and local scale socio-economic bases.


Keywords: Globalization, Turkey, Political Change, Social Structure, Conservatism, Kurdish Identity.

Fahad Alhammadi

Durham Univeristy

Globalization of the Pedestrian Street: The Case of Istiklal Caddesi


As many public spaces evolved to tourist destinations and global arenas for both locals and tourists, the pedestrian streets started to follow the same path in many global cities. The pedestrian street/mall has changed to fit with squares, plazas and other forms of publics spaces in their commercial, social and political activities, thus it’s becoming an important venue to witness globalization. While globalization has strong ties with tourism: opening the economy to the world, immigration, free market and foreign investments, all influence the nature of the pedestrian street. The pedestrian street has become a tourist destination in many cities; the shopping alleys in medieval cities in Europe, to closing traffic of some shopping streets in larger cities to create what’s known for a pedestrian precinct or mall. This change resulted in reducing the authentic and local feeling of the street to more of a global appearance, which can attract more foreign chains, tourists and different people of different cultures that eventually create a multicultural global place that has to offer something for everyone. While this seen as successful change, it generates other social, cultural and security issues that are associated primarily with globalization and freedom. Opening the street, market, to the world brings products as well as cultures, behaviours, music, arts, ideas and even sexual and illegal activities. In this paper I discuss the effects of globalization on Istiklal Caddesi in Istanbul, which is one of the top destinations visited by more than a million of people a day. Considering that it’s the focal point for political, social events and protests, besides being a touristic and entertainment hub for both locals and tourists. This tasteful mix of people and events gives a unique atmosphere to the public space, which can please the tourists, marginalize the local businesses or even distract the Istanbulites. I show how the locals and the tourists look at this attractive avenue; its identity, activities, visitors, nightlife, music, arts …etc. emphasizing on the primary data I gathered recently on the street. Using mainly empirical methodology, ethnography was the primary tool to collect data, mixing both interviews and observations of different users of this busy street, besides interviews with the public sector. In this paper I will focus on how globalization can affect different layers of the pedestrian streets, starting with the foreign businesses and local shops, through security, regulations and politics, and lastly the activities that generate specifically on the pedestrian street including entertainment, political, social and hidden activities.


Keywords: Pedestrian, Street, Public, Space, Globalization

Dr. Alessia Chiriatti

University for Foreigners of Perugia

Turkish (Governmental) Humanitarian Response during the Syrian Crisis


The on-going conflict in Syria has created one of the most pressing humanitarian crises in the world. Humanitarian needs continue to rise, population displacements are increasing and an entire generation of children is being exposed to war and violence, increasingly deprived of basic services, education and protection. The European Union and its Member States collectively are leading the international response. More than €5 billion have been mobilized for relief and recovery assistance to Syrians in their country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. Turkey above all is currently hosting more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees, the largest number of Syrian refugees in one country in the world, even during the last summer The paper has the aim to provide a general overview of the Syrian crisis exploded after the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, particularly from a humanitarian point of view. After this step, the paper will be focused on the Turkish humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis itself, including the initiatives that the EU has created to approach the problem.


Keywords: Turkey, Syria, European Union, refugees, Humanitarian response

Dr. Husrev Tabak

Recep Tayyip Erdogan University


CESRAN International

Methodological Nationalism, Analytical Performativity, and the Study of IR in/on Turkey


Methodological nationalism, while defined as imagining and studying the humanity consisting of nations which organize themselves as nation-states, is an academic writing problem with consequences for the entire social sciences. It has long been discussed and debated in the fields of sociology, anthropology or history and people have often sought to ulfold the reasons and constitutive consequences of such a research misconduct. Methodological nationalism has also been debated in International Relations, yet debates remained limited to the relevance of such conduct for the IR. In the study of foreign policy, however, almost no studies have been conducted problematizing methodological nationalism. This study, at this point, is an attempt to unfold the common practices of methodological nationalism and their constitutive influences in foreign policy research, in the case of the study of foreign policy in Turkey.


Keywords: Methodological nationalism, foreign policy research, transnationalism, Methodological cosmopolitanism, Turkish foreign policy

15:30-17:00 TH04: Thursday | Panel | Theme: Crisis and Regional Relations


Moderator/Discussant: Dr. Shane Brennan (Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey)


  • Dr. Maxim A. Suchkov – Implications of the Syria Campaign for the Russian Foreign Policy in Eurasia
  • Dr. Ali Onur Ozcelik and Anzhela Pataraya – Diplomacy for ‘States with Limited Recognition’: the Case of Abkhazia
  • Dr. Amal Hudhud – Sustainable Energy Action Plan: The case of Nablus City, Palestine
  • Sinem Celik – The Role of Public Diplomacy in Strengthening of Turkey- Georgia Relations
  • Dragos Ionut Onescu – Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union and the role of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in its development
Dr. Maxim A, Suchkov

Russian international Affairs Council; Al-Monitor

Implications of the Syria Campaign for the Russian Foreign Policy in Eurasia                   


As Russia and the West continue to go through a period of mutual resentment and distrust, Eurasia remains the most volatile issue in their relationship. The crisis in Ukraine transformed the rivalry from the competition to the confrontation while the war in Syria added supplemental animosity into the relationship between Moscow and Ankara. Russia’s involvement clearly altered the trajectory of the Syrian civil war, but only as far as it served Russia’s own interests. As Moscow now holds a front-row seat in the shaping of a political transition in Syria the Kremlin perceives the results of its involvement in Syria as generally victorious and seeks to capitalize on them in Eurasia. There are currently at least three major problems where the capital accumulated in Syria can be projected in the short-run. First, is the defrosted conflict in the Nagorno Karabakh where Russia will use the authority of its diplomacy and demonstrated ability for non-trivial diplomatic moves to settle the hostilities. Besides, its military might exposed in Syria may be packaged as a deterrent for potential hawks in Baku. At the same time, the way it deals with Assad is a message for hot heads in Yerevan: ally commitments are not to be manipulated for their own interests. The second track Russians will focus on has to do with securing their “soft underbelly: – namely the Caucasus and Central Asia. This involves – first and foremost – continuing struggle against groups Moscow perceives as “radical: and “extremist” and enhancing cooperation with partners across post-Soviet space republics within Russia-led political, economic and security institutions (Eurasian Economic Union and OCST). Finally, degree to which external regional powers will influence Eurasia will be on Moscow’s radar screen. In this regards, deteriorating relations with Turkey will be a problem for both nations. The presentation will focus on all of the aspects in greater details as well as will provide a vision for future of Russian foreign policy in Eurasia as well as conditions for an improvement of relations between Moscow and Ankara.


Keywords: Russia; Eurasia: Foreign Policy; Turkey

Assistant Professor Ali Onur Özçelik &

Anzhela Pataraya


Eskişehir Osmangazi University

Diplomacy for ‘States with Limited Recognition’: the Case of Abkhazia


The post Soviet Union era has witnessed the establishment of several independent Republics for the last 25 years. Many more entities, either called as ‘de-facto states’, ‘partially recognized states’ or ‘states with limited recognition’, have been hitherto trying to gain their independence. Although from the international law perspective these entities do not exist for the international community and they have the lack of international recognition, their existences and external relations have been poorly researched and usually neglected in the literature. In addressing this lacuna in the literature, this paper chooses Abkhazia as an empirical case and seeks to examine how it carries out its foreign policies after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The paper also analyses the extent to which the pursuit of international recognition plays a key role in shaping certain foreign policy agendas. In so doing, the paper not only demonstrates the dynamics shaping the foreign policies of Abkhazia but also fills the gap in the extant literature regarding diplomacy for states with limited recognition.


Keywords: States with limited recognition, Diplomacy, Abkhazia

Dr Amal Hudhud

Nablus Municipality

Sustainable Energy Action Plan: The case of Nablus City, Palestine


Nablus City and the Municipality Council want to seriously address climate change, which became a global issue in recent years. Nablus aims to lead the way of design and apply new models in energy generation and consumption. Nablus Municipality vision will be achieved by working towards five strategic objectives: 1) Improving and promoting energy efficiency, 2) Increasing the amount of energy produced from sustainable and renewable sources, 3) Promoting sustainable construction and projects, 4) Engaging and inspiring the community to meet the challenges of climate change; 5) and managing and adapting to the effects of climate change; 6) Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) mainly CO2. After signing the “Covenant of Mayor” in May 2015, Energy Strategic Action plan was prepared by Nablus Municipality with the support of European Union. Nablus Municipality plans to work on two different scopes: Municipality buildings and services directly controlled by the Municipality Council. All activities in Nablus area, engaging will all stakeholders to support them in their efforts to reduce energy consumption and renewable energy production. The city conduct an inventory to understand which actors and sectors consume energy and contribute to GHG emissions, in order to describe precisely themes the municipality can act on and where can the municipality efficiently reduce emissions. The result of this inventory shows that 40% of co2 emissions is coming from transportation sectors. While 34% coming from residential building. The first priority of the Municipality Council should be to act on its direct perimeter of responsibility: municipal buildings and services (street light, water distribution & sanitation, waste management). It is only while being exemplary on its own perimeter that the Municipality Council will be able to promote the mobilisation of all stakeholders, inviting them to reduce their energy consumption and contribute to the development of renewable energy capacities. The short term, medium and long actions will be emphasis more in detail together with the priorities actions in this paper. It is worth to mention that some of these short term actions are currently under implementation.


Keywords: climate change, actions plan, GHG emissions, energy saving, energy consumption

Sinem Çelik

Karadeniz Technical University

The Role of Public Diplomacy in Strengthening of Turkey- Georgia Relations


The aim of this article is to analyse the impact power of Turkish public diplomacy performed towards Georgia to empower the relation between both countries. Within the scope of this article, after public diplomacy term was discussed in many aspects, some of the important activities of the actors of Turkish public diplomacy have also been mentioned. When these activities are examined, it has been observed that non-governmental organizations failed to show the desired level of asset compared to government agencies in Georgia. Besides, when Turkish public diplomacy activities are examined as a whole, it has been remarked that these activities play an effective role to gain the sympathy of the Georgian. However, it has been concluded that the impacts of these activities on Turkey- Georgia relations are limited especially due to the Russian influence on relations with each of these two countries.


Keywords: Turkish public diplomacy, Georgia, Russia, Interstate relations.

Dragos Ionut Onescu

Babes Bolyai University

Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union and the role of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in its development


Emergence is a complex process that highlights the emergence of new power centres geopolitical and geostrategic. BRICS emerging countries can be a model for other states, a model of development and progress on the international scene. BRICS is a group of states informal group of countries, a platform for exchanges wishing changing financial and economic architecture globally. Member emerging BRICS countries in the European Union saw a pillar of stability and development. Reasons for choosing such topics of study is more imperative if we consider the magnitude of changes with a rapidity unprecedented in history in the geopolitical security, on the basis of new challenges, risks, threats and vulnerabilities are sketched new processes of change continuous deep affecting traditional concepts of security. Emerging countries are developing under the impetus of foreign direct investment and economic and social reforms. When we talk about development we consider the qualitative growth of economy, diversification of economic sectors. Real progress means increasing living standards, eradicate poverty, illiteracy. BRICS suffers from chronic underdevelopment. The origins of this underdevelopment are the country’s past, the failure to reform the political system and maintaining a backward mentality. The European Union has been hit by the crisis but resisted because of lofty ideals. EU unity lies in its belief that Europe is the cradle of civilization of mankind. Development cooperation is the impetus that helps the EU to go further. The European Union will cooperate with the BRICS collaborating because you can only develop by helping others to develop. The second world is about to become the first world if you take the necessary steps. Continuous reform and development orientation are necessities that the BRICS should not ignore. To grow you must implement programs and projects starting with the company and then continues with the state. Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union’s mission is to promote belief, values, norms and ideas of Europe. The geographical position of the EU is bound to be a centre for peace and security. By promoting a policy of cooperation, the latter must generate peace, stability and development. By cooperating with the BRICS and the European Union must develop paradigm of development cooperation.


Keywords: PESC, BRICS, European Union, Common Security

15:30-17:00 TH05: Thursday | Panel | Theme: Identity and Politics in the Post-Soviet Space


Moderator/Discussant: Professor Oktay F. Tanrisever (METU, Turkey)


  • Mehmet Zeki Gunay – Russia’s Crimea Policy in the United Nations Security Council
  • Hasan Selcuk Turkmen – Refugee Crisis and Divergences in Europe: The Russian Connection
  • Ercan Durdular – Turkic Council: The Turkish Connection In Eurasia
  • Gulsah Gures – Identity Crisis In Moldova: Revisiting Ethnic Conflicts
Mehmet Zeki Günay

Middle East Technical University

Russia’s Crimea Policy in the United Nations Security Council


This paper discusses Russia’s Crimea policy in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) since March 2014. The paper examines Russia’s official position and arguments put forward in the UNSC for substantiating Russian policies in Crimea, by analysing official speeches of the Russian representatives to the United Nations. In defending Russian position on Crimea, Russian representatives in the UNSC mainly referred to normative and legal rules, particularly to issues related to identity and international law, such as self-defence, protection of co-ethnics abroad, human rights, humanitarianism, and self-determination. Contrary to the Russian official claims that Russia’s references to issues concerning identity and international law during the debates on Crimea in the UNSC reflect its commitment to the principles of international law and its support to the selected identities in Crimea, this paper argues that Russia’s positions on identity issues and international law are driven mainly by its pragmatic concerns in order to enhance its regional power and influence. This argument is supported by underlining Russia’s inconsistencies in its approach to international law and identity matters.


Keywords: Russia, Crimea, Ukraine, United Nations Security Council

Hasan Selçuk Türkmen

Middle East Technical University (METU)

Refugee Crisis and Divergences in Europe: The Russian Connection


This paper aims to provide an analysis of anti-refugee policies in Europe with a focus on Russian connection in this regard. Since the summer of 2015, refugees from Syria began to flow in very large numbers towards Europe. Concurrently, Russia began to develop a strictly anti-European discourse with reference to the refugee crisis. Hardline policies against refugees in Europe are prominently defended by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who in his recent visit to Moscow reassured his support to the Russian discourse. Either with or without an ostensible motif of supporting the Russian discourse, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło have been occasionally making remarks that harshly criticize refugee policies of the European Union. Divergent attitudes in Europe with regard to the refugee crisis necessarily coincides with the issues in Russian-European relations. Russian involvement, all in all, adds a new aspect to the refugee crisis, making its implications larger and more intricate. This paper focuses on this problematique and elaborates on it through discourse analysis of the statements of both Russian and European policymakers.


Keywords: Russian foreign policy, refugee crisis, russia-eu relations

Ercan Durdular


Turkic Council: The Turkish Connection in Eurasia


This article provides an overview of the process of establishment of Turkic Council and its importance for the Eurasian region. Since the dissolution of Soviet Union, Turkish Foreign Policy experienced many ups and downs in Eurasia, particularly in Central Asia. The only exception in this period is the Summits of Heads of States of Turkic-Speaking Countries that held constantly which at the end led to the establishment of Turkic Council. “Turkic Council – The Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States” was established by the Nakhichevan Treaty signed at the Turkic Summit of the Heads of States in 2009 by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey with the aim of promoting comprehensive cooperation among the Turkic Speaking States. By bringing together, Turkic Council promotes deeper relations and solidarity among Turkic Speaking Countries aims to serve as a new regional instrument for advancing international cooperation in Eurasian continent, particularly in Central Asia and Caucasus. Council was constructed on three main pillars as common history, common language and common culture. Meanwhile, Turkic Council tries to broaden existing bilateral cooperation on economy, science, education, transportation, customs, tourism and other fields among the member states into multilateral cooperation for the benefit of the region. From this point of view; this article claims and tries to prove that a constructivist approach towards the Central Asian Turkic Speaking Countries in Turkish Foreign Policy would in practice prove to be very pragmatic and realist foreign policies in essence.


Keywords: Turkic Council, Turkish Foreign Policy, Central Asia

Gulsah Gures

Middle East Technical University

Identity Crisis in Moldova: Revisiting Ethnic Conflicts


This paper examines the reemerging identity crisis in Moldova after the conflict in Ukraine by reviewing the ethno-political conflicts in Transnistria and Gagauzia within the framework of mainstream theories of ethnicity from a historical perspective. Indeed, this is kind of déjà vu for Moldova with some changes, since the contested history of national identity that had been suppressed by the Soviet-imposed Moldovan identity led to two conflicts in this multi-ethnic state after the breakup of the Soviet Union and this tiny country experienced civil war, which resulted in pro-Russian breakaway Transnistria region and autonomous Gagauz region with strong pro-Russian stance. Currently, the polarization of the Moldovan people is still continuing over the existing cracks caused by these conflicts. Although Russian factor is significant and should not be disregarded, especially considering the fact that Moldova was created as a result of Soviet geopolitical concerns in the aftermath of Second World War, it does not represent the whole picture. This paper argues that addressing this very complex issue only as a power game of ‘Russia-versus-EU’ is misleading and simplistic, instead, drawing a multi-dimensional conceptual framework employing primordialism (emotions and culture), circumstantialism (interest-based concerns of both individuals and ethnic groups- be it political power, economic gains or losses, jobs, etc.) and constructionism (social interaction among the all relevant (f)actors in a historical process) is essential to have a better understanding of recent developments in Moldova.


Keywords: Moldova, ethnic conflicts, Transnistria, Gagauzia, identity

15:30-17:00 TH06: Thursday | Panel | Theme: Ethnicity, Conflict, Cooperation in the Middle East


Moderator/Discussant: Assoc. Prof. Aigerim Shilibekova (CIRS, ENU, Kazakhstan)


  • Dr. Rahman Dag – Kurds in the New Middle East: Transformation from Separate Nation-state to Federalism and Democratic Nation
  • Baris Oktem – An Analysis of Radical Democracy and Kurdish Political Movements in Contemporary Turkey
  • Dr. Halil Bilecen – Ethnic Conflict in Turkey: Greed vs. Grievance Theories
  • Dr. Murat Ulgul – Israel-Azerbaijan Partnership after the Mavi Marmara Incident

Assistant Professor

Rahman Dag

Adiyaman University



Kurds in the New Middle East: Transformation from Separate Nation-state to Federalism” and Democratic Nation


There has been a broad academic discussion on the problems of nation-state building and structure in the Middle East created in the post-Ottoman period. Recent approaches reveal that such a religiously and ethnically pluralist geography cannot be accommodated within the western-style nation state. In these sense, to tackle down the issues caused by strict nationalist understanding, the concepts of multiculturalism and pluralism have developed and practiced in Europe and naturally alternated the socio-political systems. These historical experiences are also taken as model by the Middle Eastern countries as had taken in the early 20th century with nation-state structure. While the West witnessing this transformation, most of the Middle Eastern countries have not been able to even discuss these concepts among themselves and rather than these discussion and transformation, they are employing violence to tackle with the problems of nation-state structure.

As most of them and one of the people living in the region for centuries,  Kurds constitute the most populated nation in the heart of the Middle East without ethnic-based nation-state and remained minority groups in the four adjacent nation-states; Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Kurds in Turkey, under the leading position of pro-Kurdish legal and illegal organisations are using the concept of democratic nation and calling for federalism and regional confederation. Kurds in Syria, taking advantage of Syrian crisis, search for legitimacy for their cantons. Kurds in Iraq, under the political leadership of KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) seek for an independent nation-state replacing current Iraqi federal administrative structure.

The Kurdish groups are actually quite new dynamic socio-political actor, which are inevitably and undeniably will be a significant determinant of the new Middle East. Yet, the way they place themselves in the new Middle East is going to be profoundly determinative for the region. Based on the idea that administrative structure cannot be free from historical experiences as the case of Europe, this paper will analyse Kurdish groups’ demands on administrative structure in Turkey and Syria and Iraq. The context of analysis is going to be the historical progress of the West from the strictly centralized and ethnic-based nation-states to multi-cultural socio-political understanding and then compare this with Kurdish groups’ political demands.

Key Words: Nation-state, Multi-culturalism, Pluralism, Federalism, Democratic nation 

Barıs Oktem     

University of Essex

An Analysis of Radical Democracy and Kurdish Political Movements in Contemporary Turkey  

General Overview: In the late 1960s, the left movements and ideologies were divided by new and different forms of left social movements such as the ecological movement, the gender movement, the labour movement, anti-war movements and so on. Until that time, the basic main left ideology was based on the socialist labour ideology formed from the Marxist and Leninist perspective. From then to the present time, most of the new social movements have fought for equal rights and a shared balance of power to support the main power dynamic and the governmental ideologies. Several of the Leftist ideologies did not satisfy these diversities and Laclau and Mouffe (1985) defined radicalization and democracy together: a minority of society always needs to express itself in radical ways, as democracy provides the best way for political representation of minorities. Radical democracy is an initiative and political project used by Halklarin Demokratik Partisi (People’s Democracy Party) (HDP) as an answer to different demands being brought by the new social and political movements in Turkey. HDP is an umbrella party which covers different kinds of social movements’ demands, specifically: gender, ecological and labour. It is an extension of the Kurdish Political Movement known as the Partiya Karkèren Kurdistani (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) (PKK). The main perspective and ideology of HDP is based on ‘Democratic Confederalism’ and Democratic Autonomy’ which is related to ‘Radical Democracy’ (Jongerden, 2015). The PKK and HDP in Turkey are political pioneers in the Middle East by operating the ideas behind democratic confederalism and democratic autonomy. This paper focuses on the varied political perspectives and intersections with the current discussion about the Kurdish question and the demands of new social movements in modern Turkey via a historical and comparative standpoint of radical democracy, specifically focusing on the political ideology of the HDP, and hermeneutics about them.

Keywords: Radical Democracy, Democratic Confederalism, Kurdish Movements, HDP

Dr. Halil Bilecen

Harran University

Ethnic Conflict in Turkey: Greed vs. Grievance Theories

This paper examines the factors that determine the ethnic conflict in Turkey by using a nationwide survey conducted in 2010, in 59 provisions. Previous research on conflict theory has been divided regarding relative importance of greed theory (rebellion with the interest of the rebel group), and of grievance theory (sociopolitical inequality and human rights violations). This study focuses on the relationship between socio-economic and political factors, and ethnic conflict in Turkey. We argue that political grievances, as well as socioeconomic factors such as unemployment and household income influence the degree of ethnic conflict. We also find that the people that are directly affected by the ethnic conflict; that would be willing to live outside Turkey; and that give importance to their ethnic identity tend to be sensitive on the conflict.

Keywords: Ethnic conflict, Kurdish question, Turkey, political grievance

Dr. Murat Ülgül

Karadeniz Technical University

Israel-Azerbaycan Partnership after the Mavi Marmara Incident

Turkish-Israeli relations went through its most problematic period in the years between 2009 and 2015. In spite of several regional crises and the necessity for a shared strategy – especially on the war against terrorism, neither Ankara nor Tel Aviv was willing to solve their bilateral problems. This “status quo of a lack of relations” will be explained through an examination of the strategic cooperation that evolved between Israel and Azerbaijan during the same period. In short, following the Mavi Marmara incident, through its cooperation with Azerbaijan, Israel sought to derive some benefits like it had had previously with Turkey. On the other hand, Turkey did not oppose the cooperation between Azerbaijan, its brother-country, and Israel, with whom it has unfriendly relations, because Ankara received some direct and indirect benefits through this cooperation. Although this situation, which reflects the pragmatic tendency in Turkish foreign policy, postponed the solving of the problems between Israel and Turkey for a long time, pursuing the status quo of a lack of relations seems no longer possible.

Keywords: Foreign policy, pragmatism, Turkey, Israel, Azerbaijan

09:00-10:30 FR01: Friday | Panel | Theme:  Central Asia: Society, Culture, Politics

Moderator/Discussant: Professor Mitat Celikpala (Kadir Has University, Turkey)

  • Dr. Mirkomil Sadikov – The Impacts of the Political Clan-System on the Socio-Historical Transformations of the Central Asian Society
  • Assoc. Prof. Yasar Sari – Locating International Norms and Institutions in Central Asia
  • Ajar Chekirova – Voting machines and the illusion of democratic elections in Kyrgyzstan
  • Dr. Vakur Sumer – Hydropolitics in the Post-Soviet Central Asia: The Good, the Bad, and the Dangerous
  • Dr. Nazim Jafarov and Araz Aslanli – Caucasus 1815-2015: Comparative Geopolitical Analysis


Dr. Nazim JAFAROV & Araz Aslanli

Azerbaijan State Economic University (UNEG)

Caucasus 1815-2015: Comparative Geopolitical Analysis

The abstract is consisting of three chapters. In the first chapter, we will analyse the geopolitical situation in Caucasus region until 19 century. In this framework, the Caucasus region of that time will be analysed in the context of international system, regional balances and domestic dynamics. In the second chapter, we will evaluate about geopolitical factors affecting power balances in the Caucasus region during 1815-2015. In this context, we can talk about five important period based on significant geopolitical changes in the region. The first period that covers 1801-1828, highlights the raise of Russia in regional balances of Caucasus, which will influence the next 200 years. The second period that covers 1914-1922, when World Word I and October Revolution have had significant impact over the regional balances in Caucasus. The third periods of 1939-1946, deserve an attention in terms of the impact of World War II and Iran issues over Caucasus. The fourth period of 1991-2008, highlights the structural changes in regional balances in Caucasus following the end of Cold War and the collapse of USSR. The fifth period of 2008-2015, brought some similarities to the regional balances of Caucasus geopolitics and light up to the future of region. In the third chapter, we will analyse the geopolitical future of Caucasus in the context of world order, regional powers and interregional powers. In this chapter, the place and new role of Caucasus in the process of formation of ‘new world order’ will be analysed. Moreover, the certain assumptions regarding role of traditional regional actors, such Russia, Turkey and Iran, in the future of region, will be separately included in this chapter. According to the thesis of this abstract, in the early years of 21st century, the orientation of major powers, outside of Russia, to different priorities or facing severe problems will seriously increase Russian influence in the South Caucasus or even may lead the region significantly to fall under Russia’s control, like in the beginning of the 19th and 20th century. Furthermore, we will analyse the strategic choice of interregional actors, such Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, current situation in North Caucasus, as well as impact of all those factors for geopolitical future of Caucasus.

Keywords: Caucasus, geopolitics, Russia, Turkey, Iran

Dr Mirkomil Sadikov

Kadir Has University

The Impacts of the Political Clan-System on the Socio-Historical Transformations of the Central Asian Society

This paper aims to consider the historical effects of the institutional clan-system on the transformation of the Central Asian society, particularly Uzbekistan up to the present time. Why I am considering Uzbekistan’s clan system? because of the Uzbek ethnicity is the most numerous Central Asian nationality and with a rich history but, also, I will compare with the other Central Asian neighbouring state’s clan system. Introduction The Clan-tribal system is dominating in the Central Asian society. Belonging to a clan or tribe can count on getting a promotion of any goods, the improvement of the material conditions, and the solution of personal problems. Uzbek ruling class is divided into seven major clan groups operating at the republic level and with a clear regional character In Tajikistan, the clans, as well as in Uzbekistan, formed on the territorial principles. Representatives of other nationalities, as a rule, can be a member of the Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz clan as well as in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan tribes. Object: The phenomenon of the clan in Uzbekistan reflects the specifics of a long phase of the national identity of Uzbeks – Uzbek nation formation – a process that has accelerated since independence in 1991, but is still far from complete, actually that the tribal-clan way of life has deep roots in the history of Central Asia . Clan-trable system was and will be heavy obstacle for build development as a native mechanism for political economy of the Central Asian society. It seems that long lasting tribalism rule over Central Asia exercised heavy and deep impacts on the Central Asian socio-economic and cultural relations. However, after establishing Soviet Republics in 1924 that the some nomads become sedentary style of life but with the situation of the clan-tribal system had not been changed. In addition to the economic and political consequences of the tribal states during the Central Asian history that the cultural outcomes of clan relationship, lack of historical dynamism, and no need for the urban institutions, technology, and scientific thought.

Keywords: Uzbekistan, clan, tribe, Temurids, Altai-Turks, Dashti-Kipcha

Assoc. Prof. YAŞAR SARI

Abant Izzet Baysal University

Locating International Norms and Institutions in Central Asia

Norms and institutions in International Relations discipline have always been at the spotlight and have served as a solid base for explaining the reasons of conflicts and other fundamental disagreements among the states. Moreover they can also be utilized for explaining and understanding of economic cooperation or competition among states. Therefore norms and institutions can be reliable sources to understand and explain to the security and economic policies of states. The so-called research programs – series of theories related to each other by sharing some assumptions based on norms and institutions– have emerged. As none of the set of theories is able to embrace and explain all the diversity of world politics, they formed a symbiosis to simplify the reality and give objective reasons for particular events. Thus, in some cases, the core norms and institutions in International Relations theories have common features that explain the logic of events in the same manner. It is worth to attempt to conceptualize norms and institutions that states follow in cooperation or having conflict to apply cases in Central Asia. In this paper the Central Asian states will be taken as case studies and it will try to apply the three major theories (liberalism, realism, and constructivism) on norms and institutions to the security and economic issues of the Central Asian region.

Keywords: Norms, Institutions, Security, Economy, Identity, Central Asia

Ajar Chekirova

University of Illinois in Chicago

Voting machines and the illusion of democratic elections in Kyrgyzstan

This paper critically examines the experiment with new voting technologies in parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan in 2015. Using quantitative data from elections monitoring, as well as interviews with participants and experts, I compare the issues that were widespread before the implementation of new voting technologies and after. It turns out that voter fraud, such as “carousel voting” and busing were the most common violations of electoral law. New voting technologies prevent these from happening. However, clandestine vote buying outside of polling stations via informal “brokers” is pervasive, though it cannot be traced or documented by monitoring agencies since it is outside of their jurisdiction. Furthermore, mandatory submission of biometric data as pre-requisite to voter registration, as well as Soviet-style population control institutions, such as “propiska” (i.e. residence registration), which is still used in Kyrgyzstan, results in serious voter suppression. Thousands of people across country were not able to exercise their basic citizenship rights because of these de facto voter suppression policies.

Keywords: voting machines, elections, , voter fraud, voter suppression, Kyrgyzstan

Assist. Prof. Dr. Vakur Sumer

Selcuk University

Hydropolitics in the Post-Soviet Central Asia: The Good, the Bad, and the Dangerous

In recent hydropolitical history of Central Asia, a series of developments are of utmost significance. This paper presents a critical overview of these fundamental changes in Post-Soviet Hydropolitics in Central Asia. First is related with the extensive use of water by Soviets throughout transboundary basins of Amu Darya and Syr Darya. Second is related with disappearance of the Soviet Union as a regulator of state of affairs in the region and birth of nation-states with renown diversified interests. Third is the increased population growth, and the fourth is the climate change. The demise of Soviet Union in late 1991 was applauded by the democratic world as this meant the end of a period of oppression for more than a dozen of nations. For many, former republics of Soviets have now become independent states which would be able to determine their own future, possibly a better future. This was “the good”. At the beginning, on 12 October 1991, the water ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan agreed to maintain the Soviet allocations of water and they signed the Almaty Agreement next year, which had as a primary goal of cooperation in the field of water management. However, the initial wave of optimism proved wrong for the case of Central Asian countries with respect to management of water resources that now become “transboundary”. Sudden disappearance of the Soviet “glue” as a neutralizer and balancer left the group of new-born nation-states without a guiding principle. New era of nation-states in Central Asia did not trigger a cooperative atmosphere as one would have expected. The “brotherly” states of the region found themselves in a new “Cold War” where zero-sum logic prevailed. This appeared to be “the bad”. Apart from these two broad-ranging events of the recent past (with continuing ramifications), there are at least two additional and more actual factors contributing to on-going conflicts. One is the population growth which increases the water stress in the region at large. In less than four decades, between early 1950s and 1989, the population of Central Asia tripled and reached 35 million. The annual rate of population increase was nearly three times of the Soviet average figure during the last of the Soviet Union. According to the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC, climate change poses serious threats to Central Asia’s environment, ecological and socio-economic systems, mainly because of the arid nature of the region. Temperature and evaporation rates tend to rise in general, and the glacial melt in the mountainous areas due to temperature increase is also projected to increase, which likely lead to increased flows in the river and lake systems, at first. However, in the longer term, flow of Amu Darya and partly some tributaries of Syr Darya and Zarafshan rivers are expected to be reduced by up to 30%. Changes in such great size can pose the biggest-to-date risk to transboundary water resources in the region. These makes up “the dangerous”.

Keywords: Central Asia, post-Soviet, water, hydropolitics

09:00-10:30 FR02: Friday | Panel | Theme: Energy

Moderator/Discussant: Dr. Shane Brennan (Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey)

  • Assoc. Prof. Cengiz Dinc – Ibrahim Aytug Tabaru – Putin’s View on Russian Energy Policy: A Way to Powerful State through National Champions?
  • Dr. Ismail Kose – Efforts Addressing Eurasian Alternated Energy Supplies and Tanap
  • Ali Ihsan Kahraman – Changes in Global Energy Transportation and Impacts on Turkey’s Geopolitical Position: How to Rise to Challenges
  • Emel Ilter and Hulya Kinik – Turkish-Russian Relations in the Context of Eurasian Energy Security


Assoc. Prof. Dr.                  Cengiz Dinç – İbrahim Aytuğ Tabaru

Eskişehir Osmangazi University

Putin’s View On Russian Energy Policy: A Way To Powerful State Through National Champions?

In 2000, Vladimir Putin took over the leadership of the Russian Federation which were struggling with serious problems in domestic and foreign policy. While he was continuing his PhD programme at St Petersburg University, Putin published an article in 1999 about development of Russia through using energy resources. He claimed that Russia could realise its economic development via utilising enormous mineral and especially hydrocarbon resources by regulating and developing those resources with the hand of the state. For this, it was vital to create a sort of state capitalism by establishing huge energy firms which would be capable of competing with global scale firms both in Russia and in the world. While these firms were to operate according to the market mechanisms, they would also protect the national interests of the Russian people and the state. Putin calls these gigantic firms as ”National Champions”. Yet, Oligarchs who took possession of extremely rich energy sector immediately after the dissolution of the USSR were a serious stumbling block for him to overcome. Moreover, these oligarchs had strong voices on administration of the country by virtue of their influence stemming from the power which they gained from those energy companies. After coming into the power, he gathered these energy companies such as Yukos, the biggest one, under the roof of “National Champions” such as Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil. Then, he took advantages of high oil prices to boost the Russian economy and to strengthen Russia and his political leadership. As a result, Russia’s GDP soared from about only 260 billion USD in 2000 to a staggering 1.860 trillion USD in 2014 despite the 2008 global financial crisis which hit also Russia hard. Thus, Russia has become the 6th biggest economy in the world with around 3 % of the world economy in terms of purchasing power (3.6 trillion USD). However, this evolution and progress has not been limited to the economic sphere. In foreign policy too, Putin tried to exercise influence over countries which were once parts of the ‘Soviet Empire’ with his ‘the Near Abroad’ doctrine’ by heavily relying on these ‘National Champions’ by practicing a carrot-and-stick energy policy. The Ukrainian Crisis has been one of the important example how Russia used this energy policy. Energy has also become the leading policy tool for Putin in his challenge to the unipolar world order. This paper tries to analyse both Putin’s views on Russian energy policy and how these views shaped Russia; and the impact of the policy “National Champions” on foreign policy arena, especially in the regions that he wants to penetrate and establish some sort of control. In conclusion, the paper argues that Putin’s energy policy has been successful and influential in the short run, but the Russian economy has become over-dependent on trade of natural resources, and the coercive use of energy in foreign policy led to some unintended consequences for Russia; and in the long run may prove to be counterproductive. Both statements and speeches of Putin and other state officials, relevant secondary resources will be utilised in analysing and reaching to conclusions within this framework.

Keywords: Russian Energy Policy, Putin, National Champions, the Near Abroad

Assist. Prof. Ismail Köse

Karadeniz Technical University

Efforts Addressing Eurasian Alternated Energy Supplies And TANAP

Turkish-Azerbaijan Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Project (TANAP) is the latest initiative for Central Asian energy security and multi-alternative energy supply. The project aims to provide a new route for Caspian Sea energy sources mitigating almost unparalleled Russian monopoly over Turkish and European energy demand. European Countries also supporting TANAP and affording financial contribution for the realization of the project. TANAP should be analysed under the shed of Russian desires addressing to re-seize its hegemonic role in the Balkans. Because Russia especially during the last decade put in use a new irredentist policy trying to annex new lands throughout its western borders, and enlarge its soils to the Balkans as possible as Tsarist Russia had done. Soon after Industrial Revolution humankind has an insatiable and unsatisfied need for energy. As it is known to run gears of industrial plants fossil sources still were/are the basic source of energy. Efforts for renewable energy supply and self-sufficiency still far from covering the huge demand for fossil sources. Middle East and Central Asia are the main parts of world having rich underground fossil sources. As use of oil increasing greenhouse gas emissions more than natural gas use, polluting atmosphere and harming environment developed countries had a vital need for natural gas. While Middle Eastern countries mostly oil rich areas, Central Asia has rich natural gas reserves and when compared with the rest of underground sources transport of natural gas from one country to other requires a much more sensitive process. Despite its high expense transporting oil by tankers on sea or land is possible. Same thing cannot be said for natural gas which it is not worth to transport it in the same way. Therefore especially natural gas transportation depends on trans-national pipelines which politically and geographically difficult to build. Moreover, countries which natural gas pipelines passing achieve political, strategic and economical way levels over the stream of pipeline. Russia geographically between natural gas reserving Central Asia and industrialized Europe having a huge demand for it. Meanwhile Russia is a natural gas seller; also have geographical opportunity to control alternative lines addressing Europe. In addition Russian dominance on enriched uranium supply needed by nuclear power plants. All this facts, including its irredentist desires, makes Russia a key game builder in international relations of the region. The last victim of Russian expansive movements is Ukraine as with a fake referendum discrediting customary and codified international law rules, Russia annexed Crimean peninsula. This proactive offensive policy inevitably alarmed Western Europe and Balkan Countries. Demand on natural gas is an unrivalled fact at least for a foreseeable future. The aim of this paper is to analyse natural gas transportation via TANAP and Russian policies to play energy card as a mean of its offensive policies. The methodology of the paper will be to unearth realities regarding alternative pipelines before TANAP and bring out a solution for future projects. Related articles, newspapers, columns, official papers and books will be used during the study.

Keywords: TANAP, Russia, Natural Gas, Irredentism

Ali Ihsan Kahraman

Recep Tayyip Erdogan University

Changes in Global Energy Transportation and Impacts on Turkey’s Geopolitical Position: How to Rise to Challenges

This article asks what geopolitics of energy will look like for Turkey in a global scale and provides an answer. The literature mainly focuses on the effects of Turkey’s current investments to establish East-West Energy Corridor. Many studies, though, view the East-West Energy Corridor as a corridor from East to West. From this point of view, they conclude that Turkey will become geopolitically more important in the global energy arena in near future. However, this study argues that there are some mistakes in this conclusion because of two stylized facts: 1. Turkey is increasingly dependent on energy imports and this trend is accelerating 2. The direction of energy transportation is globally changing from East-West to West-East. The literature gives mainly its focus to the first stylized fact and tries to decrease energy dependency of Turkey. However, the second stylized fact hasn’t been sufficiently discussed. Therefore, this study firstly puts forth that the second stylized fact will have a bigger importance for the place of Turkey in global geopolitics of energy. Secondly, it advances a theoretical framework on how to improve a solution to possible problems that can stem from the second stylized fact. Then, it applies the theory to Turkey’s energy policies and determines how the theory relates to the current state of energy policies in Turkey. Finally, it suggests three possible scenarios and discusses those in terms of the theoretical framework advanced. This study may also contribute to the literature by stratifying strategic mentality in decision-making mechanism. This stratification helps us understand the path of Turkey in energy policies.

Keywords: Energy geopolitics, Turkey, transportation,

Emel İlter & Hülya Kınık

Karadeniz Technical University

Turkish-Russian Relations in the Context of Eurasian Energy Security

The dissolution of the Soviet Union has transformed world geopolitics and energy map as well as international system at the turn of the 1990s. Eurasian region has been of particular interest to the great powers and former Soviet Republics due to its vast energy resources and strategic location. The changes in the geopolitical meaning of Eurasia have been also very important for Turkey for a number of reasons. In addition to Turkey’s strategic location at the meeting point of Europe and Asia, its growing economy at an impressive rate throughout the 2000s has turned it into a rising Eurasian power. Turkey’s recent multi-dimensional foreign policy approach has also enabled it to develop closer relations with the Eurasian states especially in terms of Eurasian energy and security affairs. Recently, Turkish-Russian bilateral relations have focused on the concepts of cooperation and strategic partnerships. After the Cold War, these new strategic concepts that emerged in Russian and Turkey’s foreign policy have strengthened the importance of the cooperation process between the two countries. In this context, Eurasia has been the target area where both cooperation and competition policies of two countries in many areas -especially in energy sector- have been shaped. From the Russian perspective, energy factor has a strategic importance in terms of financing its economic transformation and implementing its geopolitical interests. On the other hand, the increasing economic needs of Turkey and its “new strategic mission” in the post-Cold War put emphasis on the energy factor. This article aims to discuss and analyse the Turkish-Russian relations in the context of Eurasian energy security. The relations between Turkey and Russia developed under “win-win strategy” since 1990s has been recently shaped by Ukraine crisis, shooting down of Russian aircraft by Turkish air forces after violating the Turkish airspace and following sanctions. Within this framework, after defining the energy security concept, the importance of Eurasia both in terms of geopolitics and energy security will be emphasized in the second section. The third section will be based on Turkey’s role in the Eurasian region and Eurasian energy security. In this sense, attention will be drawn on Turkey’s energy policy in Eurasia and Turkish policymakers’ desire to turn the country into an energy hub through new oil and natural gas pipeline projects. In the final section of the paper, Turkish-Russian relations in Eurasian energy security will be explained and several suggestions will be given about the future of the relations between the two states in the context of some major events above-mentioned. The suggestions of the study will have a number of important implications for future practices.

Keywords: Eurasia, Energy Security, Russia, Turkey, Pipeline Politics

FR03: Friday | Panel | Theme: Kazakhstan: Domestic Politics, Education and Environment
Moderator/Discussant: Professor Murat Cemrek (Necmettin Erbakan University, Turkey)

  • Dr. Christopher Whitsel – Educational Markets in Central Asia: Parents’ Schooling Decisions in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan
  • Dr. Serdar Yilmaz – Kazakhstan’s Turkey Policy in the Context of Kazakh Domestic Structure
  • Togzhan Sultan – An applied general equilibrium model to identify best policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transition to green growth – Kazakstan
  • Gulnara Kurmangozhina – The Impact of the Agricultural Sector on Socio-Economic Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan


Dr. Christopher Whitsel

North Dakota State university

Educational Markets in Central Asia: Parents’ Schooling Decisions in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan

In the past 25 years there has been tremendous growth in the diversity of public and private schools in Central Asia, increasing social inequality. Some of the diversity within the educational system is a direct result of reductions in state support causing a need for greater private support, especially in Tajikistan. The variety of program offerings and varying costs resemble a market in many ways, but the diversity within the system, how parents choose schools, and the variety of ways that parents access schools is little researched. In 2013 I conducted fieldwork in Dushanbe to analyse which factors parents weigh when making decisions and to learn about how parents access various types of schools. In 2014 I began a project in Kazakhstan that involved interviews with parents and culminated in a survey of over 300 parents in 6 different cities of Kazakhstan about factors they weigh and how they view the educational market in January of 2015. Results from Dushanbe demonstrate that many parents are active in placing their children in schools outside of their neighbourhood schools if they have the means, perhaps because of the low level of public education. When choosing, parents mostly consider curriculum differences, location of schools, and teachers in making their decisions. The study also demonstrates another layer of gender inequality as parents are sending boys higher numbers to better quality schools. Parents in Tajikistan mostly access schools through direct payment through a variety of means (class funds, school funds, parents’ committees, extracurricular class fees, etc.) The data in Kazakhstan show a different pattern in that the majority of parents send their children to neighbourhood public schools. Parents who choose schooling outside of the neighbourhood considered the same factors as parents in Tajikistan, valuing location, curriculum, and teachers. Parents in Kazakhstan benefit from a system of rankings from the United National Exam in which to weigh differences between schools that parents in Tajikistan cannot consider. There are little gender differences in parents’ choices in Kazakhstan. The ways that parents access schools in Kazakhstan is more through social networks (registration of child with family members), but there is some evidence of access through funds through the mechanism of “sponsorship.”

Keywords: Market, Education, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Schooling

Assistant Professor Serdar YILMAZ

İstanbul Arel University

Kazakhstan’s Turkey Policy in the Context of Kazakh Domestic Structure

This study explores Kazakhstan’s domestic structural factors (political parties, the structure of the presidency and the regime, the leader bureaucratic institutions, non-governmental organizations, interest groups and the media) that determine Kazakhstan’s policy on Turkey. The study does not claim that the common understandings of language, race, religion and history are the sole determining factors about Kazakhstan’s Turkey policy; it instead asserts that the concept of domestic structure is as much significant as aforementioned factors. The objective of this study is neither to analyse thoroughly Kazakhstan’s Turkey policy and to evaluate its success nor to identify whether there has been a rupture in the abovementioned policy; the goal is to develop a detailed analysis on what level the idea of domestic structure is effective in determining Kazakhstan’s Turkey policy.

Keywords: Kazakhstan, Turkey, Domestic Structure

Togzhan Sultan

Nazarbayev University

An applied general equilibrium model to identify best policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transition to green growth

Kazakhstan’s is one of the most oil dependent countries in the world and as a result one of the consequences it has high amount of emissions. Thus, this paper is trying to address this problem by developing computable general equilibrium model that will allow simulating effects of different policies on the level of emissions and economy of Kazakhstan. At the current stage of research we are computing levelized cost of electricity in Kazakhstan of different renewable energy resources, such wind power, solar power and others.

Keywords: General equilibrium, energy, sustainable economy, computable

Ms Gulnara Kurmangozhina

Szent Istvan University

The Impact of the Agricultural Sector on Socio-Economic Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan

This paper discusses the role of the agriculture in Kazakhstan and its impact on social and economic development of regions and the country as a whole. The study highlights the latest trends in the progress of Kazakhstan’s agriculture, significant problems related to it and its effect on socio-economic indices. The paper was carried out an analysis of the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and assess the prospects for the development of the agricultural system in Kazakhstan. The paper identifies the main problems of formation of effective structure of industrial production in the Republic, and identifies possible ways to enhance innovation processes in Kazakhstan. Based on the analysis, proposed a model of innovation cycle, which takes into account the formation and introduction of new technologies in the region. For centuries the five Central Asian Republics (CARs) Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have shared a common history and geography. During the 70 years of the USSR membership, the CARs were closely integrated into the Soviet planning system, producing and processing raw materials for export. Although each had separate republic status, the planners in Moscow treated the region as a whole, determining the location of economic activities, transportation networks and water policy. Since independence of the former USSR in 1991, Kazakhstan has shared two common challenges: the transition to a more market-oriented economy and the need for economic development. Kazakhstan is facing problems similar to those of other countries in transition to a market-based economic system. These include how to establish macroeconomic stability with an appropriate incentive and property rights structure, how to stabilize the aggregate price level and how to allow economic agents to claim financial returns based on their efforts. However, agriculture is playing an especially important role in Kazakhstan because of the sector’s past contributions and its present fragile state. World economic processes change the role of regions in the national economy under the influence of globalization. Increased competition, the free market, the availability of resources, especially information, allow regions to get big opportunities for development, access to world markets. However, on the other hand, regions have become more vulnerable to the global economic crisis, the economic expansion of more powerful competitors.

Keywords: Kazakhstan, socio-economic development, competitiveness, agricultural sector, perspectives of development

11:00-12:30 FR04: Friday | Panel | Theme: Geopolitics, Security, Migration in EUrasia

Moderator/Discussant: Professor Mark Bassin (Södertörn University, Sweden)

  • Dr. Sila Turac Baykara – The Future of Russian- EU Energy Politics in the Caspian Region
  • Kamala Valiyeva – The EU’s Eastern Partnership: Normative or Geopolitical Power Projection?
  • Assoc. Prof. Yasar Sari – Russian-Turkish Relations since The Arab Spring
  • Dr. Alper Tolga Bulut – Attitudes towards Immigration: A Comparison of East and West Europe


Dr. Sıla Turaç Baykara

Izmir Institute of Technology

The Future of Russian-EU Energy Politics in the Caspian Region

The Caspian region has always been in the target of international political and economic competition of powerful states searching for new oil and gas supplies since the basin is a source of giant hydrocarbons. In fact, in the 25th Year of Independence, the Caspian basin needs more technology and investment from outsiders for the exploitation of their resources. The main reason why the Caspian region is the most important element of the Eurasian politics is the energy reserves in the Caspian basin. This article includes Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan (oil and gas producers), and Georgia (energy transit route) in the Caspian Region. Moreover, since the Caspian basin is entirely surrounded by land, it is needed for shipping arrangements like pipelines in order to transport the energy resources through transit states to final users. Under the Soviet domination, there were three main pipelines: an oil pipeline from Baku to Novorossiysk, the Russian port on the Black Sea, an oil pipeline from Kazakhstan to the Russian pipeline network and the Central Asia Centre gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan to Russia. There are internal and external investors who are willing to upgrade these pipelines and to build new ones. This study searches out the geopolitical competition in the Caspian region between Russia and the EU due to their interests to control and employ energy resources in the region. It focuses in particular on actions of Russia and the EU. Although both actors compete in the region for the Caspian energy, actors in the region are not influential in decision-making on energy politics of the region. Therefore, although there are exceptional periods, this study assumes that there will be a geopolitical balance in the region between Russia and the EU.

Keywords: Russia, EU, Caspian Region, Energy politics, Geopolitics

Ms Kamala Valiyeva

Gazi University

The EU’s Eastern Partnership: Normative or Geopolitical Power Projection?

In this paper we explore the European Union’s (EU) Eastern Partnership (EaP) initiative to bring six former Soviet countries closer to the European order. In doing so we use the lens of theoretical debate between constructivist and rationalist approaches with a specific focus on normative and geopolitical dimensions of the EU’s power projection in the region. We aim to determine whether the initiative is a pursuit of the EU’s interests in the region and an attempt to weaken Russia’s traditional great power ambitions in the post-Soviet area or it is a policy to enhance regional stability through the promotion of fundamental European values which serves as a framework for democratic institution-building in partner countries. The main argument of the paper is that the absence of a clear balance between the EU’s geopolitical interests and core values in the partner countries has led the EaP initiative as a value-based structural transformation project as well as an interest-laden geopolitical power projection to a failure in accomplishing its core targets. We suggest that this failure in its core is a consequence of the EU’s ambivalent actorness in the post-Soviet region, which is shaped by both value considerations and self-interest concerns. Though in the context of the EaP a certain level of a political dialogue has been reached between the EU and six partner countries in the reality most of the targeted reforms are inadequate particularly in terms of democratization and ensuring the rule of law. The limits of the EU’s transformative power capacity have become more evident; regardless the EU’s normative and structural efforts in the region political systems in partner countries has become increasingly unstable (Ukraine and Moldova), authoritarian regimes has gained more strength (Azerbaijan and Belarus). On the other hand the EU’s realist attempt to attach these countries to its own area of influence through the Association Agreements and DCFTA, which in turn means their estrangement from Russia, has created new division lines instead of avoiding them as the partner countries forced to choose between two integration projects meaning two geopolitical actors. Consequently, the EU has also failed to ensure stability and security in the region which was clearly demonstrated by the case of the Ukrainian crisis. This paper proceeds in the following three steps. First, we will introduce rationalism and constructivism as two approaches to study the EU’s regional actorness. Second, we take a closer look at some important geopolitical challenges for the EU’s aspiration to Europeanize the region including Russian factor and intra-European division in terms of the essence and necessity of a common eastern strategy for the EU which hinder the EU’s ability to become a “geopolitical” (“rational”) power in the region. Third, we analyse internal political dynamics and weaknesses in partner countries which on the one hand considerably retard their democratic transformation on the other hand limit the EU’s “normative” power projection. We conclude with remarks on possible ways to make the EaP more effective.

Keywords: EaP, post-Soviet area, EU, normative power, rational power

Assoc. Prof. YAŞAR SARI                  

Abant Izzet Baysal University

Russian-Turkish Relations since the Arab Spring

This is a study of the foreign policy of Russia toward Turkey in an attempt to elucidate the sources of foreign policy-behaviour of Russia since the beginning of the Arab Spring. The purpose of this work is to determine not only systematic and external actors but also the relative significance of idiosyncratic and internal factors in shaping foreign policy in ways that tend to be overlooked by mainstream theories of International Relations and Foreign Policy Analysis. In this paper, it will be explained the behaviours of Russian foreign policy as reflecting the interaction of four variables: position and prestige in/within the international system, the role of leadership or orientation of the leaders, and type of threats. There are two main objectives of this work. The primary objective is to reveal the sources of foreign policy-behaviour of Russia since 2011 and Russian relations with Turkey. The final and second objective is to understand the influence of the Russian ruling elite’s orientations and type of threats and international and regional opportunities which they perceive. A closer analysis of Turkish-Russian relations in the context of foreign policy theories allows us to approach a broader question: why do major players do what they do? Theoretical construction serves the additional purpose of initiating a more systematic analysis of relationships between Russia and Turkey. Toward this end, Moscow ‘s goal to be a global power and the limitation and weakness of Turkey relative to Russia make Russian-Turkish relations a good starting point for a comparative argument. In sum, the primary focus of this paper is the foreign relations between Turkey and Russia since the Arab Spring.

Keywords: Russia, Turkey, Arab Spring, Putin, Erdoğan

Assistant Professor Alper Tolga Bulut

Karadeniz Technical University

Attitudes towards Immigration: A Comparison of East and West Europe

This paper analyses the influence of economic interests and cultural identity on the attitudes towards immigrants both in West and East Europe. Using data from the most recent wave of European Social Survey, I show that public opinion about immigration differs in West and East Europe. In Western European countries both economic interest and cultural threat explanations hold whereas economic interest theories have no explanatory power in East European context. Feeling of cultural threat seems to significantly matter in West whereas the same pattern does not exist is East European countries. The broader policy implications of these results are discussed in the context of current debates regarding immigration and European integration.

Keywords: immigration, public opinion, political attitudes

14:00-15:30 FR05: Friday | Panel | Theme: Diplomacy, Trade, Terror
Moderator/Discussant: Assoc. Prof. Yasar Sari (Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey)

  • Kulpunai Barakanova – ISIS: Security Implications for Central Asia
  • Seniz Bilgi – Al Qaeda’s New Era: What Made It Change and How?
  • Rahim Rahimov – Cultural Diplomacy in Nation Branding: the Case of Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Foundation
  • Dr. Mirkomil Sadikov – The role of trade network of the Silk Road and The Uzbek-Turkish vision of the Silk Road in the contemporary international relations
  • Dr. Muhanad Seloom – Securitization of Sectarian Conflicts: The Implications of Using the Label “Terrorist” in the Sectarian Conflict in Iraq
  • Serhan Tanriverdi – The Rise of Islamic Modernism in the West: A Multiple Modernities Perspective


Kulpunai Barakanova

Sakarya University

ISIS: Security Implications for Central Asia

Given research is devoted to the topic of “ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham): Security Implications for Central Asia”. Nowadays, ISIS has a great devastating impact on the whole world including Central Asian region. In order to answer questions why and how ISIS might target Central Asian countries the data triangulation is utilized. The given research methodology is based on triangulation of methodology. However, the basic ontology is constructivism, epistemology or the way we implement research is interpretivism, the dominant path is considered to be non-linear, because several qualitative methods such as discourse analysis, interview, interpretation are applied. On the other hand, due to the fact the positivist methods like comparative analysis of statistical data and content analysis also are applied objective ontology and as an epistemology the causal laws are followed. This interpretivist approach is iterative and cyclic to some extent. Although the majority of methods are qualitative the appeal to content analysis and some statistical data are also utilized. Taking into account ISIS ultra-radical takfir ideology it threatens either individuals or nation-states’ security, so the work addresses the whole society from civilians to military and government statesmen. Broad literature review displays that amidst the top destructive effects of ISIS on Central Asia are spread of radicalization, discretization of Islamic religion and nation-state’s values and principles, escalation of oppression against religious population in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan by official authorities, activation of inner terrorist groups such as Hisbut-Tahrir and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and attempt of ISIS to interfere in Afghanistan that has large common border with Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The main research question is “Why and how does ISIS address to Central Asia and why and how it responds?”. Additional research questions are: 1. To which extend the economic situation in Central Asian countries matters in pushing people to join ISIS? 2. Could ethnic, religious and political adherence be a tool of destabilization in the region? 3. Why security situation on Tajik-Afghan and Afghan-Tajik borders important? 4. What have states done so far to counter ISIS effect on Central Asia? 5. What could be done more to stop and prevent possible conflicts and destabilization in the region? To sum up, ultimately the results of research has led to such conclusions: The potent pull and embedded push factors all together cause influx of Central Asians to Syria and Iraq. “Radical” political and religious adherence of civilians and ethnic rivalry could cause dissidence inside the countries. The terrorist activities in the South of the region pose the great security implication to the whole Central Asian region. The harsh domestic policy in Central Asian states facilitates ISIS to implement its plans there. ISIS is succeeding in its terroristic activities due to the reference to religion.

Keywords: ISIS, Central Asia, security issues, recruitment, foreign fighters, djihad

Şeniz Bilgi

Middle East Technical University

Al Qaeda’s New Era: What Made It Change and How?

Just as everything is subject to change in the universe and in the world, Al Qaeda had to change. Therefore, would it be wrong to say that the Al-Qaeda that we used to know is no longer that Al-Qaeda? Well, most probably not as it is quite possible to see that the Arab Spring forced the organization to adapt itself to the new picture of the Middle East. Additionally, the death of Osama Bin Laden necessitated change as well since the organization had lost its influential leader and was like a ship without a compass in the middle of the sea. What the Arab Spring brought as the most crucial change to the organization could be the changes in the tactics of the organization. The once upon a time suicide bombers are no longer on the stage. Instead, what can be called as small units or small bombers have become more popular and the most striking examples of this can be seen in Boston, London and Paris attacks. These attacks were not carried out by huge bombs or cars or trucks by a large group of professionals. On the contrary, “young men allegedly carried out attacks with little help, using inexpensive, widely available knives and explosives from everyday ingredients.” In fact, they even used pressure cookers which anyone can buy from any store just to cook food more quickly. Of course, the Syria case is another point of concern since Al-Qaeda has also benefited from this and as Bill Gertz points out Syria has become a new terrorist training ground where foreign terrorist are also educated in order to operate in their own countries. Furthermore, Al-Qaeda is also adopting a teacher-training approach where a select few operatives are taught the skill of bomb making and are instructed to return back to their countries in the West (i.e. most probably the US) to teach this knowledge to a group of Islamist extremists who will then use these skills to launch attacks. Among all these forces, what caused the biggest change, and maybe the biggest challenge, in Al Qaeda was the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS). Formerly operating as a branch of Al Qaeda, ISIS separated from the organization in February 2014 and established itself as the sole worldwide caliphate in June 2014 with Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as the caliph. Trying to achieve a Sunni Islamic state, ISIS has applied the cruellest strategies and has become notorious for the merciless killings of many people and bombings in various places including the October 2015 bombing in Ankara. As a result of the establishment of ISIS, AL Qaeda has been faced with a competitor, which forced it to change its tactics and strategies and it is these changes that this presentation will focus on with an emphasis on the main differences between the two organizations. In other words, the presentation will analyse how the Arab Spring and the establishment of ISIS made Al Qaeda change and reach its current status. Moreover, the presentation will deal with the threats posed due to the competition between the two and what can be done to overcome these threats. In conclusion, the presentation will be of great benefit to those working on Al Qaeda as it will provide a different perspective by focusing on the concept of change.

Keywords: Al Qaeda, ISIS, Arab Spring, tactics, strategies

Mr. Rahim Rahimov Cultural Diplomacy in Nation Branding: the Case of Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Foundation

With the collapse of the former USSR, newly independent post-soviet republics had to face a lot of challenges and threats and to treat them with no previous statehood experience. First of all, some of them had to deal with ethnic and secessionist conflicts on one hand and to promote the newly-independent and absolutely unknown nations abroad on the other hand. This was very true for republics like Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan. These small nations faced ethnic conflicts even before the collapse of the Soviet Union and they turned into the secessionist ones just following the official collapse of the union. Moreover, they had to struggle with economic problems and to introduce themselves to the international community. However, economic resources available were very scarce to do this imminent task while experience of statehood was almost zero-level. Cultural diplomacy could have been one of a few efficient options for international promotion of those nations. Azerbaijan was one, if not only, of the post-soviet nations to pioneer in using its culture to promote the nation abroad. Late President of Azerbaijan Mr. Heydar Aliyev was first to initiate use of culture, very often through its personal efforts, to promote Azerbaijan internationally. And with the establishment of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva took cultural diplomacy efforts to a new level and launched implementation of such activities in a solid and institutionalized way. The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the relevance of non-government actors in post-soviet nations for use of cultural diplomacy to drive the nation’s influence abroad politically and economically. It refers to Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Foundations as case study to showcase an organization’s contribution to nation branding by using cultural diplomacy as a form of soft power. The paper concludes that the case of the Heydar Aliyev Foundations proves that the effects of cultural diplomacy may be multi-dimensional for nation branding, and the core of its activities is cultural with the implications that are far beyond the culture. First dimension is that it delivers to the world the truth and realities about Azerbaijan by simply and kindly saying and showing ‘who we are and what our culture is’ to achieve sympathy from the international community. Another dimension is the Foundation’s promotion of Azerbaijani culture and values abroad thus contributing to the positive image of Azerbaijan and increasing the nation’s influence politically and economically. Thirdly, using cultural diplomacy activities in Europe, it bolsters Azerbaijan as a modern, Muslim nation where multiculturalism is a state policy while European leaders claim that multiculturalism has collapsed. Such activities also act as a pro-active response to Islamophobia sentiments in Europe. Another and very important dimension is that it contributes to dialogue between civilizations and cultures. And finally, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyev personally adds to nation branding of Azerbaijan as she personifies modern Muslim woman and acts a role model for many women.

Keywords: Cultural Diplomacy, Nation Branding, Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Mehriban Aliyeva

Dr Mirkomil Sadikov

Kadir Has University

The role of trade network of the Silk Road and The Uzbek-Turkish vision of the Silk Road in the contemporary international relations

The role of trade network of the Silk Road and The Uzbek-Turkish vision of the Silk Road in the contemporary international relations Introduction: The ancient Central Asian silk routes laid out by the Timurid empire that constituted the ancient silk road. Rather than track through Russia, most would go below the Caspian and Black seas to reach Turkey and Europe. Uzbekistan is the major and richest market for Turkey. Within this perspective the China, Central Asia, ASEAN and Turkey collaboration initiated the founding of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to finance the infrastructure. The bank was functional in October in 2015, and Turkey is among its founding members. It is the top of the agenda in order to revitalize the ancient Silk Road. Aim of paper: My paper is devoted of theoretical research of revitalizing the ancient transcontinental highway-Great Silk Road, nominated by the international community in the early 90s. 20th century. Turkey, Central Asia and China plays an important role in ensuring the south direction of the transit route, and Uzbekistan, with full international support will solve the problem of the southern transcontinental transit. In this case, the integration of the Central Asian republics, especially Uzbekistan in the Asia and European market, along with economic, decides as an important logistic task. My article are determine the role and importance of trade and the revival of the Silk Road project, in particular, in the formation of a new system of modern international relations in Central Asian, and Turkey. l Analysis of the current status, trends and prospects of development Uzbekistan trade road with Turkey and other Asian countrıes; l To investigate the causes of the global community to the idea of revival of the Silk Road, promotion of trade and transport cooperation with the countries in which it passes; l To conduct a comparative analysis of the policy of Uzbekistan and Turkey in road and railway construction in accordance with their foreign policy strategy and the need to solve political problems; l To characterize the position of Uzbekistan, Turkey, Russia , China and Europe in connection with the implementation of the project revival of the Silk Road.

Keywords: silk road, Turkey, Central Asia, Uzbekistan

Dr. Muhanad Seloom

University of Exeter

Securitization of Sectarian Conflicts: The Implications of Using the Label “Terrorist” in the Sectarian Conflict in Iraq

This research paper examines the effects of using the label “terrorist” in sectarian conflicts. In particular, it focuses on the effects of designating leading figures as “terrorists” on sectarian conflicts. The paper is motivated by the question: What are the effects of using the label “terrorist” by the Iraqi government on the sectarian conflict in Iraq? To this date, the effects of using the label ‘terrorist’ in sectarian conflicts remain relatively an understudied area in International Relations.   In conflict discourse, belligerents often use the label terrorist against each other to gather support, legitimacy or simply to increase combatants’ morale. However, this research paper argues that the label terrorist is not merely a conflict discourse term but also a constituent element of the conflict. The Iraqi government used the label terrorist as a tool to securitise the Sunni insurgency after the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. Labelling Arab Sunnis’ insurgency ‘terrorist’ by the Iraqi government places the Sunni issue in the broader framework of Securitisation, a theory of International Relations. While securitising the Sunni issue bestowed more powers to the Shia-led Iraqi government, the resolution of the sectarian conflict became increasingly more complex.  The precise effect of the label terrorist on a given conflict is an empirical question. Data collected from in-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews with prominent Iraqi Arab Sunni figures and from an online survey distributed among Iraqis inside and outside Iraq shows that the impact of the label terrorist is far more complex than previously assumed.   Drawing on the Labelling Theory of Deviance fathered by Howard S. Becker and complemented by content analysis of the empirical data, this research paper found that the application of the label terrorist against Arab Sunni leaders in Iraq increases sense of victimization among the Sunni wider community. Furthermore, the invocation of the label terrorist against Arab Sunni rebels places the sect’s leaders and sympathizers in a situation that makes it harder for them to engage in any peaceful resolution process – driving certain elements into using violence.

Keywords: Terrorism, Iraq, Sectarianism, Conflict

Serhan Tanriverdi

Loyola University Chicago

The Rise of Islamic Modernism in the West: A Multiple Modernities Perspective

The relationship between Islam and modernity has been a widely debated issue in in social sciences because modernity has posed profound challenges to the worldview and life of Muslims. Sociologists tried to analyse the responses of Muslims towards modernity in various ways. Generally speaking, Muslims have given their responses at three aspects. First is the reactionary attitude to modernity, which aimed to protect Islamic societies from the negative consequences of modernity on the Islamic way of life. Second is intended for a total embrace of premises of modernity in order to rescue the Islamic world from its predicament. Its supporters believed that the modernization of Muslim societies could be achieved only through the path of western modernity. The third approach is pragmatically synthesized the elements of Muslims’ culture and outcomes of modernity. There, Muslims experimented with various versions of state-sponsored development projects; in other words, they persuaded ‘modernization without modernity’, they aimed to benefit from the practical outcomes of modernity but avoided from its early high explore and development cost. Western Muslim intellectuals, however, had different perspectives in the last two decades because being and living in multiculturalist and religious environment of the West for a long time forced them towards the ideal dialogue of taking the modernity’s truth-claims seriously, which have deeply affected the vision, interests, and approaches of western Muslim intellectuals. These encounters exposed them to a ‘transformative dialectic’ with modernity for a universal and local understanding of Islam and more nuanced critique of modernity in its birthplace. Muslim intellectuals’ discourse in the west, in fact, has been a departure from the modernist, traditional or politicized understanding of Islam including literalist, universalist, exclusivist, fundamentalist and obligation-oriented position to new modes of more inclusive thinking, individual, acknowledging multiculturalism, and compromising rationality and a critical reassessment on the interpreting of Qur’an and Hadiths to restructure of self and society. In this regard, Western Muslims intellectuals have sought more sophisticated approaches to the relationship between modernity and their indigenous cultures and systems of values. Their method is not merely picking and randomly synthesizing elements of their own cultures and modernity. On the contrary, they do assess their own culture in the light of modernity; but they also take a critical distance to modernity and its outcomes. As a result, my study will explore contemporary western Muslim intellectuals’ dialectical engagement with modernity as well as analyse the recent rise of Islamic Modernism in the western context. This is a qualitative research and its main methodology will be the contextual discourse analysis of the texts produced by the western Muslim intellectuals. It will use their books, lectures, lectures, and, courses as main data. It will also include the recent interviews about this emerging phenomenon with them.

Keywords: Islam, Muslims, Modernity, the West.

14:00-15:30 FR06: Friday | Panel | Theme: Eurasianism, Eurasian Union and Sovereign Regimes
Moderator/Discussant: Dr. Shane Brennan (Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey)

  • Samira Talebi – “Classical” and “Neo” Eurasianism fields of Emergence
  • Madina Bektenova and Dr. Natalya Seitakhmetova – Eurasianism: to Theming the Dialogue of Religions and Cultures as the Theme of Our Relevance
  • Alexandra Okhrimenko – Eurasian Integration: Past, Present, and Future
  • Dr. Sofie Bedford – Models of Resistance in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes: ‘Failed Opposition’ in Azerbaijan and Belarus Revisited
  • Dr. Fatma Asli Kelkitli – The Post-Soviet Iranian Foreign Policy in Eurasia: An Appraisal of the Moves of an Aspiring Regional Power


Samira Talebi

Guilan University

“Classical” and “Neo” Eurasianism fields of Emergence

Eurasianism has long been rooted in the geopolitical implications because it comes from the region of Eurasia and the boundary between Europe and Asia. However, in the current study Eurasianism is not only assessed in the form of a geopolitical concept, but also has become a thought. This concept in “classical Eurasianism”, as an intellectual and political movement was designed after the World War I and 1917 revolution with the aim of resolving its crisis by the Russian elites. But “Neo Eurasianism” was presented after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the arrival of Putin which offers a new intellectual system as an alternative to the West And re-interprets the civilizational identity of Russia and its surrounding countries and intellectual leaders reject a Europe-oriented thinking and want same look to the all civilizations. Therefore, the author of this article, considering Eurasianism as a thought, sought to examine the differences and grounds of the emergence of Classical and neo-Eurasianism ideas with each other in two different time periods. The method of collecting data for this thesis is library and research findings have been studied mainly descriptive and analytical manner.

Keywords: Classical Eurasianism, Neo- Eurasianism, Putin, Russia, New intellectual system.

Madina Bektenova            

Institute for Philosophy, Political Science and Religion Studies

Eurasianism: Theming the Dialogue of Religions and Cultures as the Theme of Our Relevance

Against the background of the various socio-cultural and political processes taking place in the modern world, the discourse of Eurasianism reanimated by many scientists as a relevant model of comfortable coexistence of cultures, spiritual and moral traditions of the ethnic groups in space of Eurasia. Eurasianism, in its essence, is one of the models of dialogue of cultures, which can be presents as a strategic for Eurasian ethnic groups. However, it should be noted that the Eurasianism or already the Neo-Eurasianism, even post Neo-Eurasiansm is understood and interpreted ambiguously, causing quite explainable controversy and debate over the issue of the preservation of the cultural sovereignty and religious identity in its paradigm. It is clear that Eurasianism could not be meta-historical, let alone be arrayed into a meta paradigm content, because here it exists Eurasian tradition and semantic content, in which realized practical experience of Eurasia. Eurasianism of 19th and 20th centuries focused around unifying idea of Russia and Kazakhstan. In the 21st century Eurasian idea is becoming a multicultural and integrationаl content. A bright example of this – the EurAsEC strategy. The modern version of Eurasianism, implemented in Kazakhstan in the cooperation projects initiated by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev played an important role in the preservation of peace, dialogue and stability in Central Asia and the Russian regions. Initiative of Kazakhstan in the functioning of the idea of Eurasianism is a question of preserving of religious and cultural codes that make up the core and the essence of culture, which communicates in the Eurasian dialogue. The basic settings here have to be at the same time cultural sovereignty and cultural tolerance. About tolerance today is spoken and written a lot. We must recognize that the tolerance in the world today has become the most testing the virtue of humanity; it being criticized, it is excluded, not believe on it. Recent events in Europe related to migration, terrorist attacks, forced “to expel” tolerance and to draw conclusions about the possible limits of tolerance. Experience of modern Europe proves us the truth about of its necessity. Whether it is the discursivity of tolerance or coercion to tolerance. Maybe is necessary preventive tolerance or the immunity of tolerance? In any case, the tolerance must be the principle of co-existence of cultures, otherwise there can be no speeches about cultural existence. Eurasianism in Kazakhstan’s multicultural space for 25 years of independence was carried out as a strategic model of the dialogue of cultures, traditions, religions, in which tolerance was the preventive principle, despite the fact that setting of tolerance is rooted in the being of the Kazakh culture. It is connected with the political, economic and social realities of our time. In the new conditions of life Eurasianism will be modelled in accordance with modern global processes and, of course, will be correlated, supplemented, modified, be transformed. It is appropriate to wonder about of its necessity and non-finality. Historical objectivity is – Eurasianism as a strategy of dialogue, partnership, cooperation will be updated in connection with the necessity of Eurasian integration in all spheres of life. But here’s how it will be: the formal or the sanguineous-constructive depends on many factors, including the presumption of the cultural sovereignty and cultural tolerance.

Keywords: Eurasianism, Tolerance, Dialogue of Religions and Cultures, Kazakhstan, Religion identity

Alexandra Okhrimenko

Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Eurasian Integration: Past, Present, and Future

Collapse of the Soviet Union has significantly influenced situation in Eurasia which gradually turns from the periphery of world economy into the new world centre of political and economic influence. The new formed post-soviet states have refused the planned economy and have headed for gradual approximation of their national economies and reconstruction of the economical connections lost during the collapse. Internationalization of the world economy has led to growth of dependence of national economies on external economic and political factors, thereby requiring intensification of international cooperation. These inevitable processes also started in Eurasia. The ideological vacuum as the result of the failure of communistic idea was filled by the concept of eurasianism. The Eurasian ideas appeared in the twenties of the 20th century in the milieu of the Russian emigrants in Europe and have revived in the seventies with the publication of Gumilyov “Ethnogenesis and the Biosphere of Earth”. Eventually the Eurasian idea has undergone essential changes and has even openly radical lines in some versions. However, one of the vectors of eurasianism, namely the idea put forward by the Kazakh president, N. Nazarbayev – pragmatic (economic) eurasianism – is of paramount importance on development of the integration processes in Eurasia today. Various integration initiatives suggested by N. Nazarbayev have found the reflection in several publications. Thereby, in 1993 the agreement about establishment of the Central Asian Union has been signed by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and years later by Tajikistan. In two years a new initiative – establishment of the Customs union – arose in the post-soviet area. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and later Kyrgyzstan, actively participated in building of a new integration association. In 1999 economic cooperation extended further due to signing of the agreement on establishment of the five states Customs Union and a Single Economic Space. However, deepening of the integration and the expansion of cooperation spheres was unable to develop effectively in so large number of various organizations. Therefore, in 2000 a decision on establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community has been made. In 2007 Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed the agreement on a Customs Union. The Central Asian Union, the Transport union, the five states Customs Union and Single Economic Space, the Union State between Russia and Belarus, the Eurasian Economic Community, and also the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan – all these organizations have laid the legal, institutional and ideological foundation for the subsequent establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015. Economic integration in the post-soviet area is a very difficult process at a glance, but it develops logically and consistently: a free trade area – a customs union – a single market of goods, services, capital, and labour – a payment and currency union. Nowadays, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) functions today in a five-sided format: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. Conflict of interests, different level of economic development of the member states, and also institutional problems complicate the development of integration processes. Moreover, external factors, such as the western sanctions against Russia, leave traces on the course and depth of the integration in the post-soviet area. Though, harmonization of national legislations, improvement of communication between the countries at all levels, unification of trade policy, and improvement of control measures over domestic market bring the EAEU countries to the world arena as new competitive players.

Keywords: Regional economic integration; eurasianism; Eurasian Economic Union; institutionalization; post-soviet area.

Dr Sofie Bedford

Uppsala University

Models of Resistance in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes: ‘Failed Opposition’ in Azerbaijan and Belarus Revisited

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of the nature and character of opposition in authoritarian regimes. The focus is the search for a new definition: how should ‘opposition’ be understood in these contexts? We also explore ‘oppositional’ activities and strategies, trying to shed light on the question: what role(s) does ‘opposition’ in authoritarian contexts play? In recent literature on post-Soviet electoral revolutions in places where attempts at regime change through popular protest did not succeed opposition groups are often simply disregarded as ‘failed’. And yet, opposition actors do exist and protest and participate in what looks like a political life in their country. Building on the Belarusian and Azerbaijani cases, based on our analyses of around 80 interviews conducted with ‘oppositional actors’ (politicians, activists, dissidents and journalists), as well as donors and local experts, in Baku and Minsk from 2013 through 2015, we argue that opposition groups are maintained in a ‘ghetto’, often virtual, a kind of reserve tightly managed by the ruling authorities, which exert a monopolistic control of all civic activities. Oppositional actors adapt to the restricted conditions – accepting a certain level of dependency on the regime’s control system. They thus develop various tactics to engage with the outside, striving to reduce the ghetto walls. To this end this paper proposes a typology of what we refer to as oppositional ‘resistance models’ – electoral, medial, lobbyist and educational as a first step towards a more comprehensive understanding of what ‘opposition’ in electoral authoritarian states is and what roles it does actually play.

Keywords: Opposition, post-Soviet politics, Azerbaijan, Belarus, electoral authoritarianism

Assistant Professor Fatma Aslı Kelkitli

Istanbul Arel University

The Post-Soviet Iranian Foreign Policy in Eurasia: An Appraisal of the Moves of an Aspiring Regional Power

26 December 1991, the date of the declaration of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, marked the beginning of a new era for Eurasia. The status of Russia as being the undisputed and unrivalled actor in the region for more than a century began to be challenged seriously in face of the encroachments of other great powers such as the United States, European Union and China. These countries started to make inroads into the region through utilization of various political, economic and socio-cultural instruments. Another important consequence of the decline of the Russian grip on Eurasia was the opportunity presented to the regional powers, especially to Turkey and Iran to rekindle long-forgotten and long-neglected ties with the states of South Caucasus and Central Asia. This paper aims to analyse the Eurasian dimension of Iranian foreign policy in the post-Soviet epoch from the standpoint of the designation of Tehran as a willing and aspiring regional power. The study is composed of three parts. The first part of the survey is devoted to the examination of the facilitating and mediating role of Iran in the conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh, Tajikistan and Afghanistan as effort towards the resolution of regional confrontations is one of the major characteristics of the emerging regional powers. It is also in the interest of regional powers to take leadership in the foundation of organizations that promote dialogue and cooperation among the regional states. In this context, the second part of the paper will evaluate the Iranian attempts towards the enlargement of the Economic Cooperation Organization as well as her initiatives to develop commercial relations with the Eurasian countries in the areas of energy, transportation and investments. Finally, regional actors strive consistently to ensure security and stability in their immediate vicinity and also play prominent role in the realization of endeavours carried out in this direction. Therefore, the final part of the study will scrutinize the Iranian attempts regarding curbing of drug trafficking, fighting against international terrorism and coping with waves of refugees in Eurasia and will try to figure out the extent of her success in these domains.

Keywords: Eurasia, post-Soviet era, Iran, regional power, foreign policy