Experts on the sources of threats to security in the region

“Contacts Azerbaijan-Central Asia: development, cooperation and common challenges” was the theme of an international conference organized  on  October 8  by the Center for Strategic Studies (SCS) under the President of Azerbaijan. The forum was attended by heads and experts from research centers in Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and China.

Discussions  were on security issues in the region in the light of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the fight against global threats, European integration, energy policy, trade and economic relations, the development of transport infrastructure.  "The Central Asian countries are important for Azerbaijan. We have common interests in the field of security, energy, the transport sector," said the director of SCS Farhad Mammadov.

Central Asia is for Azerbaijan a gate to the east. Azerbaijan is  for Central Asia  a post to the West. Central Asian countries  have the energy infrastructure in the East, and Azerbaijan - in the west. Commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will close the route Beijing-London.

"The transition period ends in the region and the status quo is changing, which means the end of Russian domination. T strengthen  their position Under this situation, the countries of Central Asia, South Caucasus and Turkey must establish long-term cooperation in the field of security, economy and culture. These states should join forces  in the international organizations too," said Farhad Tolipov, the director of the Uzbek Research Center "Caravan of Knowledge".  Uzbek expert believes that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil  pipeline has changed economic and geopolitical importance of the region.

"Agreements obtained  in August this year by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia  in defense designated the completion of the transition period in the region. Turkey  is turning  into a regional center, " said Tolipov.

According to him, the integration of Central Asia and Azerbaijan to NATO  is annoying Russia.

NATO's cooperation with the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia is a threat for Russia.  

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict demanded from the states of the region to make a choice between the Eurasian Union and the European security. However, cooperation in the region and integration into NATO should not be understood as anti-Russian union, and as a platform of national security, he said.

"The annexation of the Crimea by  Russia dispelled the illusion of the region about the possibility of establishing good relations with Russia,"  says Hasan Ali Karasar, Professor of the  Turkish University "Atilim."

In his view,  there are still  numerous threats in the region. "Symmetric threats - lack of balance between the military forces, the problems in the delimitation and demarcation of borders.

Some states continue to arm themselves. In terms of weapons per capita the most militarized country is Armenia.

Unbalanced threat of radicalism is a sharp social stratification of society, national and ethnic conflict, environmental problems (Lake Aral, Urmia), status of enclaves, the contradiction between democracy and security of States," said the expert.

In his view, radical jihadism is also a big threat to global security. Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq now stand at the center of global threats. War in these countries will spread to other regions, together with the radical jihadism.  Current counteractions and sanctions would not solve the problem, he said. -03В/06-

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