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Turkey and the Wider Black Sea Region 16 juin 2008

Posted by Acturca in Books / Livres, Turkey / Turquie.
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Zeyno Baran, “Turkey and the Wider Black Sea region” in The Wider Black Sea Region in the 21st century: Strategic, economic and energy perspectives. Washington, DC: Center for Transatlantic Relations, 2008, pp. 87-102

Zeyno Baran

The Black Sea is the world’s most isolated sea, connected to the rest of the world’s oceans only by the two Turkish Straits. The Black Sea region has been witness to significant political and religious tumult over the millennia, featuring prominently in the histories of the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires.

In recent decades, however, the Black Sea has been much calmer, with no conflict occurring in its waters since World War II. During the Cold War years, the littoral states consisted of the Soviet Union, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria— one NATO member and three Warsaw Pact members. Though NATO member Turkey faced a superpower on the other side of the sea, even in the most troubled times this body of water remained peaceful thanks to restraint shown by its surrounding states.

Today, four of the Black Sea littoral states (Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece) are NATO members, and the other two (Russia and Ukraine) enjoy bilateral relations with NATO: the NATO-Russia Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission, respectively. Exactly what should constitute the “broader Black Sea region” is debated; from the Turkish  perspective, it includes the six littoral states, along with Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Serbia. For Turkey, the wider Black Sea region is the area that connects three seas: the Caspian Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. For the U.S., however, the region is the vast area stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea.

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