Analysis - Apr 18, 2016 0:01 - 0 Comments

Economic Cooperation in the South Caucasus and the Wider Region: Gained Losses, Lost Benefits

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By Pinar Sayan, Orhan Gafarlı, Tamta Jijavadze, David Muradyan, Mehmet Fatih Öztarsu, and Vadim Romashov

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The past two and a half decades in the South Caucasus leave little hope to entertain for the eventual integration of the region. So far the fragmentation of the South Caucasus into different blocks is the only reality. The different integrational processes and transnational alliances that the South Caucasus countries have engaged in surely contribute to the creation of new spaces for cooperation, but also to the perpetuation of the conflicts in the region. In fact, often conflicts have been defining the design and implementation of these transnational alliances and integrational processes. With this reality, regional transnational integration as an avenue for conflict resolution seems to be part of a vicious circle since conflict resolution is often seen as a precondition for regional integration. This is not only due to the conflicts within and among the countries, but also to the complex and sometimes strained relations with the big neighbors – Turkey, Iran, and Russia.

This paper aims to explore economic options for inserting a wedge in this vicious circle. Convinced that regional economic cooperation could be an important step towards conflict transformation in the South Caucasus, this paper suggests that the prospects of such integration be considered. Be it in the form of exploring opportunities in the different integrational paths that the countries of the South Caucasus have taken or challenging the isolationist economic policies that have outlived their goals and u . . . Read More

Analysis - Apr 4, 2016 0:01 - 0 Comments

State propaganda through public education: Armenia and Azerbaijan

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The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict shows how two nations that have had years of peaceful coexistence neighbouring each other, currently are in a state where negative attitudes and hatred prevail. In 1991, after Armenia and Azerbaijan declared independence, the escalation of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict led to their total isolation from each other. Governmental and intersocietal communication between these two nations is currently non-existent. Both nations focus their attention intensely on confrontation and hatred in every sphere of life. However, there have been times of mutual trust and cooperative neighbourly relations between Azerbaijanis and Armenians. With this in mind, it might be possible to achieve peaceful communication between the societies, if negative attitudes and hatred were eliminated or curtailed. Thus, the identification of sources that shape these attitudes is of high importance. The current study focuses on one of the assumed instruments for the dissemination of hatred by way of creating negative images of one another, which is the public education system. This research attempts to examine the role of state education policies, particularly on history textbooks, in the process of creating and spreading a negative image and hatred of the “enemy”. It studies what is the prevailing attitude towards each other in both Armenian and Azerbaijani societies; and weather the prevailing attitude is the result of education. For this purpose, the Armenian and Azerbaijani history textbooks and the official documents of each state that shape the general public education policy are analysed. In order to find out the influence of these education policies on the public, an online survey in Armenia and Azerbaijan was conducted. The uniqueness of this study is that both cases, Armenia and Azerbaijan, are examined and beyond merely examining the existenc . . . Read More

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