The world has entered 2024 with blood and tears; the Ukraine-Russia war and Israel’s operations against Gaza have “inherited” from 2023 as well.
Add to this the terrorist attack Turkey suffered in the last month of 2023 and the endless instability in Iraq and Syria, and it is clear that at least in the first weeks of the year, the geography around Turkey will again be characterized by conflict and war.
However, there is still some hope for 2024.
WAR IN UKRAINE; WILL DAVOS BE A POSITIVE SIGN?
The sides in the Ukraine war are closer than ever to a compromise. The Ukrainian government is still resisting Russia, but the dwindling aid from the US and European countries suggests that this resistance is unlikely to last long. Despite the sanctions, Russia continues to strengthen its war apparatus while waiting patiently.
As the West turns its attention to the chaos in Gaza, which tends to spread to the Middle East, and the Yemen-Houthi attacks, which have already brought trade in the Red Sea to a standstill, Ukraine’s chances of “being left alone” increase. The Ukraine meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos at the end of January is likely to provide the most critical signal on the fate of this war.
LAWSUIT AGAINST ISRAEL IN INTERNATIONAL COURT
The current far-right government in Israel, which continues its relentless operation against Gaza, will be hampered by international law on the one hand and its own citizens on the other. The number of people demonstrating against the inhumane operation in Gaza, both in Western countries and on the streets of Tel Aviv, is increasing every day.
The “war crimes and genocide” lawsuit filed by the Republic of South Africa against Israel at the UN’s International Criminal Court is likely to further embolden the government or individuals who speak out against what is happening in Gaza.
HOW LONG WILL THE SPRING WEATHER IN THE CAUCASUS LAST?
For Turkey, the biggest development that can be described as an “opportunity” in 2024 is taking place in the Caucasus. Talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia are rapidly moving towards the conclusion of a peace agreement. The reconciliation of Turkey’s close ally Azerbaijan with Armenia could pave the way for the normalization of relations between Ankara and Yerevan.
However, the biggest problem here lies in the fact that Russia has begun to turn its attention to this geography;
* RUSSIA’S NAVAL BASE IN ABHAZIA – In 2008, following the conflict between Russia and Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two autonomous regions of Georgia, declared “independence”. Russia, in what was described as a “collusion”, announced that it recognized their independence. Thus, the two regions de facto came under Russia’s sphere of influence. At the same time that the EU granted Georgia “candidate” status for full membership, Russia took the first steps to open a naval base in the easternmost part of the Black Sea, on the territory of Abkhazia. This will be Russia’s second military base in the Black Sea, following the port in Crimea, which Russia separated from Ukraine in a similar way and took de facto control of.
* MOSCOW’S MESSAGE TO ARMENIA – Russia did not stop there; in the last days of 2023, there were signs that Moscow was setting its sights on Armenia, a country that is increasingly rapprochement with the West. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Galuzin made a statement claiming that the US is planning to open a ‘second front’ against Russia in the South Caucasus. The diplomatic reading of this ostensibly US-blaming statement carries the opposite message: Moscow is apparently preparing to take action to prevent Armenia’s rapprochement with the West. Russia’s possible steps in this direction could expose Turkey, which hopes to see peace and stability in the Caucasus, to another “wave of fire”.
In one way or another, the Caucasus will be Turkey’s most talked-about region in the coming period.