Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies
world. There are several hot spots in the world which may negatively affect the security or economic interests of the West in general and those of the European countries in particular. Many of them are in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia and in the Middle East. Almost all of these regions are in Turkeyâ€™s immediate neighbourhood. Central Asia is not only in the immediate neighbourhood; but Turkey has historical, linguistic and ethnic ties with the peoples of, and has a relatively strong presence among, the countries of this region. Before elaborating on the geopolitical importance of Turkey, it may be appropriate to say a few words about the importance of the sub-regions that surround Turkey, namely the Black Sea basin, the Caucasus, the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia. Each one of these regions is important for different reasons. And the role that Turkey could play varies also from one region to the other. A. The Black Sea basin The Black Sea basin could be divided into two regions 1) the Black Sea maritime area and 2) the Black Sea basin as a whole. The latter encompasses the territories of all littoral countries as well as countries that are not littoral but use the Black Sea as their main outlet to the world. These would include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Black Sea maritime area
The strategic importance of the Black Sea maritime area stems from: a) energy routes; b) the provisions of the Montreux convention, and c) military cooperation in the Black Sea .
Energy routes An important portion of the oil and gas originating in the Russian Federation or in the Caspian Sea basin is shipped through the maritime area of the Black Sea either by oil tankers or through pipelines laid in the sea bed. Oil tankers that cross the Black Sea maritime area also have to cross the Turkish Straits to reach international markets. Therefore the importance of the Turkish Straits Turkey on the European doorstep
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...