Seriesofhopes

The things you own end up owning you.

The Silent Death of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation?

The brain child of Turkey’s 8th President Turgut Özal, the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation died silently in Ukraine this week. According to Yalcin Dogan (1) of Turkish daily Hurriyet, the latest meeting of the BSEC in Ukraine was only represented at the Foreign Ministry level by the host nation Ukraine and the initiator of the organisation Turkey. Foreign Minister Babacan had to leave the meeting after only one hour due to lack of equal diplomatic representation.

The strange thing is, how come the Turkish MFA cannot be informed about this diplomatic fiasco in advance and send his minister to the empty saloon? According to Baris Yinanc’s report in the Turkish daily Referans, Foreign Minister Babacan had to attend the meeting due to Turkey’s special position within the organisation. (2) However, we should not forget that it would be Babacan’s first visit with the FM of member states.

This is nevertheless a great blow for the rhetoric of BSEC which existed mostly in the heads of the Turkish politicians, as a distant dream of Turkish leadership in a region which in 1992 was in chaos, but now much more stable unlike the still volatile Turkish state/society complex. Following the European Union’s eastern expansion, the membership of Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, the members of the BSEC put the organisation to a lower-key profile.

The fall of the BSEC also shows the fall of Turgut Özal’s imprint on Turkish Foreign Policy. to recall, the organisation was the brainchild of Özal, some say that the Sükrü Elekdag was the origin of the idea, nevertheless, it was Özal who elevated it to the highest echelons, and in an era in which the refusal of the EEC of the time paved the way to a great shock for the Turkish aspirations and the humiliation of the national ego. Özal, nevertheless, was a believer of regional interdependency schemes and was eager to show that Turkey is a vital player in the Eurasian region and not a player to be sidelined. He also envisaged a stable Turkey playing a vital financial role in the region.
This was nevertheless the illusion of Özal neo-Ottomanism. Without the economic capabilities and political strength, the ideas and the institutions would nevertheless be fragile and unimportant details. Özal truely had a vision but his vision was mostly utopia, because it had lost the ground with the reality, especially the financial weakness of Turkey and its non-hegemonic state/society complexity.

Footnotes:

(1). http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yazarlar/8765510.asp?yazarid=91&gid=61&sz=3510

(2)http://www.referansgazetesi.com/haber.aspx?HBR_KOD=95317&KTG_KOD=476

for more check:

http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=102493


April 23, 2008 - Posted by | Turkish daily, Turkish Politics

2 Comments »

  1. Your article does not reflect reality.The lack of Ministers does not signify the demise of an international organization.How many times has the EU General Affairs Council met on deputy Minister level.The Turkish Foreign Minister is a serious man.He does not ask who is coming.He goes there where he thinks that it is important for his country.That is why he went and he did well to go to Kiev.His presence there demonstrated the importance that Turkey is attributing to an Organization that is flourishing and inspired by Turkey.Kiev was a success.What other organization has projects like the Black Sea Ring Highway and the Motorways of the Sea.

    Comment by L.Chrysanthopoulos | April 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. For somebody having followed the “life” of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation over quite some time, I am seriously astonished to suddenly read about its – how do you call it? – “silent death”. For as far as I have seen especially in the past 5 years, the organization to the contrary has significantly improved in importance. Think about the Black Sea Ring Highway project which has been adopted AND implemented in the member countries. Think about the project of the Motorways of the Sea – also adopted and implemented. Think about the UNDP projects, additional funds granted by the member states which are used for improving the lives and conditions of the people living in the member states. The relationships with both UN as well as EU have been cemented stronger than ever in the past and a frequent information exchange is going – even to a point that there are discussions about possible future joint ministerial meetings. The UK has been granted the Sectoral Dialogue Partnership status, which is certainly also not speaking for the BSEC’s agony.
    It is one thing when journalists comment about events without having taken proper steps to ensure that their report reflects reality or can be put under the “pure gossip” column. It is even more so if somebody takes it up for his blog without any research behind.
    The Turkish Foreign Minister was certainly absolutely aware of what he was doing when he was attending the meeting of the late Turkish President’s brain child. So have been the other ministers and deputy foreign ministers. It is a well-known fact in ministerial meetings around the world, that not all of them are always attended by all on highest ministerial level. Poor foreign ministers would have to duplicate, if their personal presence at any ever taking place meeting would be a a measure for whether or not the organization is living or dying. I think we can grant ministers the knowledge and right to decide which of the huge variety of tasks they have is the most needed for them to appear in person. Apart from the fact that I consider they are capable to instruct their deputies accordingly to their wishes and that the deputies are clever enough to act in accordance (which, by the way, all have been attending the meeting).
    The internet has, indeed, become a place where anybody can spread his/her gossip around without these “editors” ever reflecting what kind of consequences they might initiate with their unqualified comments – for the people working in BSEC, working as civil servants in the member countries and last not least for the people living in those countries.

    Comment by Marion Last | April 23, 2008 | Reply


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