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 Russia Ukraine Relations

 The Future of The Black Sea And Azov Sea Region


<p>​</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>In the webinar, entitled &quot;Russia-Ukraine Relations: The Future of Black Sea and Azov Sea Region&quot;, organized by IAU Graduate Education Institute and Global Peace and Democracy Research Centre (GLOBDEM) and contributed by Diplomatic Research Centre (DARD), the causes of tensions in the Black Sea and Azov Sea Region were discussed. In the webinar, the policies of Ukraine, Russia, NATO, the European Union and the countries of the region and their positions in the crisis were addressed, and it was noted that overcoming the crisis was in parallel with the parties&#39; ability to find common ways of negotiation.</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">The webinar, organized by IAU Graduate Education Institute and Global Peace and Democracy Research Centre (GLOBDEM) and contributed by Diplomatic Research Center, was carried out as &quot;Russia-Ukraine Relations: The Future of Black Sea and Azov Sea Region&quot;.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The webinar&#39;s moderators were Prof. Dr. Ragıp Kutay Karaca, who is the director of Graduate Education Institute at Istanbul Aydın University, and Dr. Murat Jane, who is director of the Global Peace and Democracy Research Centre, and the webinar was broadcast live on the university&#39;s official YouTube channel. In the webinar, some of the speakers were Prof. Dr. Giray Saynur Derman -Marmara University Public Relations and Publicity Department-, Assoc. Prof. Algerim Yelibayeva -Narxoz University Faculty of Law and Social Sciences-, Assoc. Prof. Saken Mukan -Narxoz University Faculty of Law and Social Sciences-, Dr. Cristian Nitolu -Loughbrough University Department of Diplomacy and International Governance-, Dr. Yuliya Biletska -Karabuk University, Department of International Relations-, Nariman Ustalev, -Gasprinsky Geostrategy Institute Director-, and the Consul Maksym Vdovychenko -the Consulate General of Ukraine in Istanbul-. </p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>&#160;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>&#160;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Dr. Yuliya Biletska: &quot;Ukraine may have lost some of its territory in the war, but Russia lost all of Ukraine.</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Regarding the question on the parties&#39; feelings towards each other, Dr. Yuliya Biletska -Karabuk University, Department of International Relations- stated that the root of conflicts between Ukraine and Russia were due to the fears during nation-building process. Remarking that 2014 was an important date for the relations between the two countries, Yuliya Biletska stated Russia closed its ear to Ukraine&#39;s wishes after that year. Biletska also said that Russia&#39;s aim was to seek a region under its own domination by adding that Russia could never fully accept the existence of other states and nations in the region. On the other hand, it was seen that Ukraine did not object to this situation much until 2014, but with the annexation of Crimea, both politicians and the public had reaction and dissociation against Russia. It was stated that an important factor in this is the fact that Ukrainians have made their identity a primary agenda. Ukraine&#39;s desire to be included in the civilized world and its quest to get out of Russia&#39;s influence were also expressed as other factors. Yuliya Biletska pointed out that while before 2014, 60-70% of Ukrainians saw Russia as a partner, today the majority&#39;s definition of Russia as the primary enemy creates a significant break. Biletska assessed that &quot;Ukraine may have lost some of its territory in the war, but Russia has lost all of Ukraine.&quot;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>The Consulate General of Ukraine in Istanbul: &quot;If the Russian influence on the Black Sea is not balanced by NATO and other actors, it will be difficult to achieve peace.&quot;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&quot;The main goal behind Russia&#39;s annexation of Crimea and its conflicts with Ukraine and its use of such hard power is to prevent his dominance in the Black Sea and Azov Sea region from being put at risk.&quot; On the other hand, Consul Maksym Vdovychenko emphasized that Putin declared without hesitation that he still considers Ukraine and other countries in the region as a historical part of Moscow and an area of interest. Consul Maksym Vdovychenko also asserted that Putin gave a message to other actors in the Black Sea and Azov Sea by making such a statement. According to Maksym Vdovychenko, if the increasingly intrusive Russian influence in the Black Sea is not balanced by NATO and other countries, the years of peace for the countries of the region and therefore for the Black Sea may come to an end.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&#160;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Prof. Dr. Giray Saynur Derman: &quot;Since Russia considers the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as its region, it wants to secure this region and eliminate NATO that wants to be included in the region through Ukraine.&quot;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Prof. Dr. Giray Saynur Derman asserted that the Black Sea and the Azov Sea are highly strategic regions in terms of both economy and security for Russia, and the relations between Ukraine and Russia should be handled in parallel with that. Derman said, &quot;Russia both cares about the region due to financial reasons and wants to reduce the possibility of the West&#39;s potential dominance here,&quot; and added that a policy prioritising its own interests by choosing the path of economic reconciliation, especially with the countries with which it has good mutual relations in the region, is important for Ukraine. Derman stated that as the annexation of Crimea by Russia shows, Russia ignores Ukraine&#39;s requests and causes the two countries to face different purposes. Prof. Dr. Giray Saynur Derman mentioned that it is not only Russia and Ukraine that face each other in the Black Sea and Azov Sea; that Russia, which considers the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as its region, is determined to secure this region and perceives NATO, which wants to be included in the region through Ukraine, as a dangerous rival.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Assoc. Prof. Aigerim Yelibayeva: &quot;Demographical diversity in Ukraine complicates decision making and implementation in foreign policy.&quot;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Stating that there are different views on domestic politics in Ukraine and the society&#39;s political choices diversified, Assoc. Prof. Aigerim Yelibayeva pointed out whereas the people in the west of Ukraine generally dream of a pro-Western and of Ukraine opening to the world, there is a society supporting pro-Moscow policies in the east of the country. For Yelibayeva, the reason is the demographic structures of the regions. On the other hand, Yelibayeva asserted that this situation in Ukraine caused various difficulties for decision-making and foreign policy development of the country. Accordingly, considering that Ukraine is still dependent on Russia, it is important for Ukraine to develop good relations with Russia. Yelibayeva pointed out although Russia is thought to be at war with Ukraine, it is actually NATO that is being opposed here. Assoc. Prof. Aigerim Yelibayeva mentioned that two countries should move the issue to a platform where they can discuss.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Dr. Cristian Nitolu: &quot;Russia and the EU&#39;s relations regarding the Black Sea are not based on security, but on mutual benefits.&quot;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Considering that integration with Ukraine is not a priority for the European Union, Dr. Cristian Nitolu stated it is necessary considering that the Black Sea Region is more important for Russia than the European Union attaches importance to, and that Russia&#39;s pressure on the region will be easier to understand within this framework. &quot;Russia-EU relations, on the other hand, contain both possibility of conflict and cooperation from time to time (there are mutual accusations on the side of Ukraine, too), but it is seen that cooperation is maintained especially in the field of economy. Although this is a situation Ukraine cannot accept, &quot;the relations between Russia and the EU regarding the Black Sea are based on mutual benefits, not on security&quot;, said Nitolu, and asserted that Russia considers Ukraine issue not as a war with Ukraine but with the West. </p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Nariman Ustalev: &quot;Ukraine maintains its position as an important country for both the USA and the West, as Ukraine is the most important factor for Russian pressure and expansionism in the Black Sea.&quot;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Mentioning that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is actually a historical problem stemming from geopolitical and cultural reasons, Gasprinsky Geostrategy Institute Director Nariman Ustalev stated that Russia considers Ukraine as the key to regional integration. Ustalev stated that Ukraine is seeking more beneficial peace by improving its relations with the West, pointed out the country is supported by the USA and the West. Having added that &quot;Ukraine maintains its position as an important country for both the USA and the West, and the most important factor in front of Russian pressure and expansionism is Ukraine.&quot;, Ustalev said Ukraine is an important country for both the West and the other parties to maintain their existence and safe commerce in the Black Sea. &#160;&#160;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Assoc. </strong><strong>Prof.</strong><strong>&#160; </strong><strong>Saken Mukan: &quot;With the inclusion of Turkey, this issue can be compromised and the Black Sea can become a zone of peace and developed economic zone again.&quot;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Assoc. Prof. Saken Mukan stated that the economic sanctions imposed on Russia regarding the occupation of Crimea by the EU and the USA not only affected other countries in the region economically (such as Kazakhstan) but also were not very effective to decrease Russia&#39;s influence on the region. He also added that many states in the region are dependent on Russia in terms of economy and security. Mukan said he had doubts that NATO and the EU could completely confront Russia for Ukraine. According to Mukan, it is not possible to stop Russia with economic sanctions and international law. &quot;With the inclusion of Turkey, for being able to develop good relations with Russia and being an important power in the region, the problem can be solved and the Black Sea can be a zone of peace and a developed economic region once again.&quot;, said Dr. Saken Mukan by pointing out the importance of Turkey in ending the crisis.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Prof. Dr. Ragıp Kutay Karaca: &quot;Turkey needs to ensure stability in the region by implementing the Montreux Convention.&quot;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Prof. Dr. Ragıp Kutay Karaca stated that it would not be right to interpret the Ukraine issue only as a Russia-Ukraine conflict, rather this crisis is the resurgence of post-Cold War tensions between Russia-NATO-EU in Ukraine. Prof. Dr. Ragıp Kutay Karaca stated that interpreting the crisis only from Russia&#39;s perspective, ignoring the West&#39;s moves on the Russian border and their search for expansion would create an incomplete reading. He also pointed out that one of the reasons for Russia&#39;s occupation policies in the region may have been the sanctions imposed on it, which pushed it to resort to this path. By saying that &quot;An independent Ukraine is important in maintaining the balance in the Black Sea&quot;, Karaca stated he hopes the problems will be resolved through diplomacy. On the other hand, Prof. Dr. Ragıp Kutay Karaca stated he believed that Turkey should ensure stability in the region by implementing the Montreux Convention.<br/></p><p><br/></p>

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5.7.2021

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