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  • Haber giriş tarihi: 16 Ocak 2014 Perşembe 14:24
  • Güncelleme saati: 14:59

Ukraine's future vital for Turkey

Nowadays Ukraine is experiencing the most important and the most painful period since it gained its independence. The country has been witnessing political chaos as protest demonstrations were staged everywhere. Protesters asked for the resignation of President Yanukovich while the Ukrainian Prime Minister said that there were signs of a coup.

President Yanukovich has been stalling a Ukraine - EU Partnership Agreement which has been in negotiation for years and the EU has eventually suspended attempts for an agreement. Actually Yanukovich was aiming to put the European Union in such a position that would result in suspension of the planned agreement. Today, the people who lead Ukraine are under Russian pressure. Putin has stated on many occasions that Russia is against such an agreement between Ukraine and the EU and that Ukraine should always remain close to Russia. He also said, "Ukraine, should be a part of the customs union that was set up by Russia with Belarus and Kazakhstan and in the long term it should be a member of a Eurasian Union, not the European Union".

A Eurasian Union led by Russia seems to be the biggest Russian dream, yet it is not very compatible with the economical realities. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have launched the Eurasian Commission after the agreement on the customs union came into force. The commission has started its activities and obviously its most important mission is to make Ukraine its member.

These developments are not just about Ukraine and it will not affect the future of Ukraine only. Ukraine's future relationship is one of the most important factors which will affect the relations of former Soviet Block countries in Eastern Europe with Russia and the West. Therefore, Ukraine's decision on its future will be the strategic development, perhaps the most important one, which will determine the future of Russia's relations with both the U.S. and the EU, and also with Germany at EU's heart.

Ukraine's political, social and economical structure forces the country to manage a very sensitive and skillful balance between Russia and the EU, especially because of its ethnic and religious diversity. While the highly industrialized, rich and Catholic Western Ukraine is pro-West and pro-EU, the poor and Orthodox Eastern Ukraine seems to be pro-Russia.

In geopolitical terms, Ukraine, as Turkey, has the advantages of both its Eastern and Western identities but it also suffers from the burden that they bring. This sensitive situation forces both countries to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both East and West. These two countries' choice of orientation towards the East or the West requires a very sensitive balance. Because both powers' political orientations and regional alliances have the potential to deeply affect the whole area from the Baltic to the Black Sea and from the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. For other powers from the East, Ukraine is the only door to Eastern Europe and the Balkans. And for a power which advances from the West to the East, Ukraine is the only path to the Black Sea, the Caucasus and especially to Caspian oil. Hitler's siege of Stalingrad sprang from the same idea.

Today, the reflection of this strategic balance in real politics is that Europe cannot wrest a position in the East from a power (which Putin claims Russia to be) that rises from the East and totally controls Ukraine. The goal behind all of Putin's efforts and ambition regarding Ukraine is the big prize that Ukraine presents. According to Putin, it is not possible for a Eurasian Union to become a global power and for Russia to keep up its guard against the U.S. and the EU in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Black Sea unless Russia keeps Ukraine under control. Therefore, Ukraine is the indispensable key for both the customs union and a Eurasian Union. Also Ukraine, as it is the only route for Russian gas, which Russia uses as an efficient weapon in the international arena, must not slip from its intimidating control.

Eurasia is an axis and Turkey and Ukraine sit at the middle of this axis. A possible break at one of these two points would create enormous and deep political earthquakes that would shake both the East and the West of Eurasia and might change the course of history. Therefore, any shadow that will fall over the future of Ukraine, before anything else will certainly affect Turkey. It is among Turkey's and the West's most vital interests that Ukraine preserves its freedom and territorial integrity.

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