On December 1st the Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev took part in the Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held in Astana. This event was preceded by a number of various summits. Within already regular Summits of the European Union, it’s also worth underlining the special significance for the international policy of the summits as the Summit of Turkic Speaking States in Ankara and Lisbon NATO Summit. To this or that extent they influenced on the atmosphere of the OSCE Summit.
During the address within a Plenary Session of the Summit in Astana Russian President noted that the OSCE activity has to be modernized and for that legal basis and universal rules of its implementation are urgent. The participation of Medvedev in the OSCE Summit showed that the Russian Federation still attempts to benefit from the supranational institute, about the effectiveness of which there are pretty strong doubts.

Nevertheless, according to the experts the OSCE Summit was called to have a prior significance mainly for its East European and Asian members. The USA treats the kind of Forums with sound skepticism. The main reason for the kind of approach is the persistent inability of the OSCE in reality to influence the situations in the sphere of security within the frameworks of Eurasia.

Since the moment of its establishment in 1995 on the ground of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe this organization has been just an advising and observing body, focusing on the monitoring of social-political development of the states of Eastern Europe and the republics of the former USSR. And it has never influenced the Euro-Atlantic climate within the sphere of security policy.

That is why American delegation to Astana was headed not by the President, but the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Also the delegations of Great Britain, France, Poland, the Czech Republic and some other states weren’t headed by the Heads of states. This couldn’t add historic optimism towards the future of the OSCE. Nevertheless, almost all participants of the Forum recognized the special role of the Chairman-in-office of the OSCE Kazakhstan, noting that it did its utmost to revive this Organization. It fulfilled its main goal set in January, at dawn of its Chairmanship – to reinforce Central Asia part within the OSCE activity, draw attention to the Eurasian dimension of security. During the Summit and after it Western colleagues and partners more often talk about “Eurasian security” together with “Trans-Atlantic” one. But still the issue is very urgent: are all the OSCE member-states ready for this organization to preserve the role of negotiations arena, as a mechanism of prevention and non-admission of conflicts. This arena has multiply been used for the dialogue of the USA, West and Russia. Many experts think that the OSCE is a pretty efficient body as an arena for disputes. However, the Summit held demonstrated that the OSCE has a long way to go for the efficient mechanism on conflicts prevention and non-admission. The problem of Kyrgyzstan, where another revolution took place, joint long-standing Karabakh, Transnistria issue and Russian-Georgian conflict, that has got acute during last 2 years. The OSCE attempts to establish police peacekeeping forces were no success. Kyrgyzstan still remains to be a potential source of destabilization in Central Asian region, influencing bilateral relations, for example of the kind of states as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. By the way, Uzbek President didn’t participate in the Summit of the OSCE due to its disagreement to the way the documents were developed before this event. Observers think that the main reason for such a step of the President Islam Karimov was still a traditional competition for the leadership in the region with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The intention of Moscow to be a mediator, moderator in the kind of political combinations, today are slightly effective, and even in vain. This also refers to the role Russia in the OSCE.

Russian diplomacy failed to persuade the majority of the participants of the Summit in the necessity to support the initiative of Medvedev to establish a new European architecture, and today we are already talking about Eurasian security. As known the results of the August war 2008 of Russia with Georgia, leading to the establishment of Russian protectorates within Georgian territory, no one from the OSCE still has acknowledged. Moscow remains alone. But the kind of situation doesn’t confuse it. And it tries to extend its influence within post-Soviet area. We often hear the accusations towards Moscow that it strives to make it also by preserving of the so-called “smoldering” conflicts. And Karabakh is one of them.

Observers note that Medvedev’s optimism, incited by the arranged seven meetings of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Astana hasn’t found its confirmation. During the OSCE Summit the Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev didn’t even meet each other and signed only a joint statement with Medvedev, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Many participants of the Summit were surprised by the unexpected severity of the claims on Karabakh issue, which was sounded by the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia. And 2010 political year was fascinating for Armenia, having begun on January 12th from the decision of the Constitutional court on Armenian-Turkish protocols and finished in the beginning of December with the Astana Summit.

The Constitutional Court of Armenia on January 12th 2010 recognized the facts, fixed in Armenian-Turkish protocols, corresponding to the Main law of Armenia, but at the same time it stated that the prior provision of the protocol is the opening of real Armenian-Turkish border, and all other circumstances gain legal force only in case of open borders existence.

Previous 1-1,5 years went under the aegis of Armenian-Turkish process, with which foreign and inner players – the USA, EU and to some extent Russia and Azerbaijan related serious hopes. However, as experts note, their expectations didn’t justify. And minimum for some time this process is frozen at the moment. This affected political reality, in particular, in Azerbaijan with which Turkey has special relations. Holding a speech in Baku, the Prime Minister of Turkey characterized them as: two states – one people. Foreign policy of Turkey is not limited with Caucasus region, where it has already become a serious rival of Russia. By the way, the observers note the intensification and strengthening of the positions of Ankara in Abkhazia, where Russia doesn’t at all want to observe someone else but it. It seems that Moscow now prefers not to speak openly about the Turkish threat towards its interests in Abkhazia. Obviously they try not to harm the successful bilateral cooperation within energy sphere. By the way the new Chairman of the OSCE in 2011 Lithuania claims one of its main priorities during the Chairmanship to be energy security. But NATO is more actively involved into its assurance. Among the OSCE member-states there are three Eurasian states – Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkey and the last one is the only such member of NATO. The kind of situation makes Turkey a unique state and the growth of its influence should be considered by the European Union, post-Soviet states, as well as Washington, which up till recently was perceived as a “big brother” of Ankara. It’s worth to note that all the six Turkic speaking states the Heads of which gathered in Istanbul for the Summit in September Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kirgizia, Uzbekistan are the OSCE members. It’s also noteworthy that the President of Uzbekistan didn’t visit the Summit in Istanbul, having sent his representative there.

Let’s remind that the first Summit of the Leaders of Turkic speaking states was held in 1992 in Ankara. The last Summit was held in 2009 in Nakhchvan (Azerbaijan) where the Parties agreed to establish Business Cooperation Council.

After the OSCE Summit held in Astana, during which there the participants contacted publicly and privately, talks arose about the intentions of Turkey to consolidate the participants of the Istanbul Summit of Turkic speaking states on these or that issues. The kind of leading OSCE states as Russia, Germany, France, less the USA, observe the kind of Ankara role in the future with attention and tension. This potential change of political landscape of the OSCE not always can lie within the interests of this or that state. But this process develops inevitably. And it’s possible that the long-term attempts of Turkey to join the EU can be changed by Turkish march – the mean of the OSCE revival. By this, Turkey remains to be not the partner, but a full NATO member, which extends the sphere of its responsibility within Central Asian region and in Afghanistan.

Dwelling on the growth of Turkish influence within international relations, it’s worth reminding, that two participants of the Istanbul Summit of Turkic Speaking States in 2011 will make a peculiar castling. Kazakhstan will uptake the Chairmanship of Turkey in the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Ankara change Astana as a Chairman to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). This is an international forum, uniting states of Asian continent, which sets the task to strengthen the interrelations and cooperation of Asian states for the purpose of stability and security assurance in the region.

The idea on the calling of the Conference was first suggested by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev during the 47th Session of the UNO General Assembly in October 1992. The first Summit of the CICA was held in 2002 and many people started calling this forum as an Asian analogue of the OSCE. This international forum also can become another instrument of Turkish influence growth, which develops from a regional state into a world one. The OSCE Summit in Astana was called to understand this new geopolitical reality, but the historic significance of this Summit is not yet fully comprehended.
By Martin Stier, www.eurodialogue.org