The Second Edition of the International Congress on the Future of the Caucasus Was Held in Ankara in Cooperation with TİKA

The second edition of the International Congress on the Future of the Caucasus was held in the Conference Hall at the Nation's Library of the Presidency of Türkiye in cooperation with the Institute of Strategic Thinking and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).

The opening speeches were delivered by Assoc. Prof. Güray Alpar, President of the Institute of Strategic Thinking, and Serkan Kayalar, TİKA’s President. Güray Alpar referred to the strategic importance of the Caucasus and noted that more than 50 ambassadors, diplomats, faculty members, and specialists from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa participated in the congress, which is of great importance for peace and stability in the region.

Serkan Kayalar, TİKA’s President, stressed that the Caucasus is of great geopolitical and strategic importance and that during the 3-day congress, important activities will be carried out for the region in the fields of energy, economy, politics, and culture. He added that there should be greater interest in the activities carried out for the future of the region.

Mahir Ünal, Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Group of the Justice and Development Party, delivered a speech at the second edition of the International Congress on the Future of the Caucasus and said, “Today, the Caucasus shows the vital role it will play in the near future as the world’s most critical crossing point, bridge, and junction. However, I consider the consequences of the devastating impact of global powers as a threat here. We have witnessed these consequences in Afghanistan. Today, we continue to witness the devastating impact of global powers in the Ukraine-Russia crisis. Unfortunately, the existing system is no longer a constructive system that ensures stability and produces solutions.” Ünal reminded that Türkiye was among the first countries to recognize Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He stated that their relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan have always been good and that they supported constructive steps in their relations with Armenia.

Erkan Akçay, Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Group of the Nationalist Movement Party, delivered a speech as a special guest at the congress, and noted that the Karabakh Victory will go down in history as an important milestone for the region. Akçay said, “Divide and rule policies will no longer work in the Caucasus. Türkiye will continue to implement its own policies, just as it did before.”

In his speech, Cevdet Yılmaz, Chair of the Planning and Budgeting Committee in the TGNA, focused on two historical events: “The Caucasus is a strategic region not only for us, but also for other power groups in the world. Discussions about this region have become much more meaningful after two recent developments in the region, namely the liberation of Karabakh from nearly 30 years of occupation and the Russo-Ukrainian War and its impact on the region.” Yılmaz added that the Caucasus needed welfare and stability after intense conflict and regional competition. He ended his speech, saying, “There may be different interests in and concerns about the region, but we also have common interests. I believe that the dialogue and cooperation between regional actors, rather than the interventions of other power groups, will maximize the welfare of the region.”

In his speech, Serdar Çam, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of Türkiye, explained the importance and future of the region as follows: “We live in a region where we hear the words war and peace frequently. All the events in this region affect the people of this region. A new world order has emerged. Now, we need to change the game.” Çam stated that a new era has begun and that it is time to talk about new things and put aside unproductive discussions in which past mistakes are brought up. He ended his speech with a Kazakh proverb: “There is nothing farther than yesterday and nothing closer than tomorrow.”

After the speeches of special guests, the congress continued with ambassador sessions.

In his speech, Rashad Mammadov, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Ankara, stressed that Türkiye was among the first countries to recognize the Republic of Azerbaijan and has stood in solidarity with Azerbaijan under any circumstances. He added that the friendly relations between Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Türkiye contributed to the strengthening and development of Georgia.

Masud Mannan, Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Ankara, stated that they were pleased with Türkiye’s peaceful slogan. He noted that COVID-19 changed the world and that what seemed impossible before has become inevitable after COVID-19. Mannan said that TİKA’s initiatives offered great opportunities for new beginnings.

Mohammad Farazmand, Iranian Ambassador to Ankara, stated that they supported the trade corridor between Nakhchivan and Azerbaijan and considered it one of the most important developments in the Caucasus.

Abbas Sarwar Qureshi, Undersecretary of the Embassy of Pakistan in Ankara, said, “The Caucasus has recently gained importance compared to all other strategic regions in the world. Pakistan took sides with Azerbaijan in the Karabakh War in 2020 and played an important role in changing the balance of power in the region. The meeting held between the ministers of foreign affairs of Pakistan, Türkiye, and Azerbaijan in Istanbul in January 2021 further strengthened the ties between these three countries.”