Regional Cooperation; Input and Potential


On February 21, 2022, the United States and the United Kingdom launched a specific war against Russia’s recognition of the independence of the Ukrainian-occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, imposing sanctions and putting Russia under tight economic pressure. On February 24, when the Russian president announced the Russian military intervention on the territory of Ukraine to the whole world, Washington and London joined the collective West and a number of Asian countries with strict sanctions.

For the first time in the list of individuals, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and high-ranking officials from the vertical of Russian power. The skies of Europe and America were closed to Russia, millions were lost by the oligarchs, the ruble depreciated to a record high. While sanctions for supporters of the idea of Ukraine are also associated with losses, everyone thinks that for the existence of freedom and democratic values, it is necessary.

The state of the world economy, still plagued by the Covid pandemic, has been exacerbated by Russian aggression. It is noteworthy that Russian money is moving with great intensity around the world, in addition to the problem of the issue of energy dependence on Russia of a number of states, which is decades in world politics, which hinders the right and principled decisions.

Georgia and the countries in the region are well aware of the importance of solidarity, cooperation and coordinated action on political or economic issues in the fight for the freedom of Ukraine. It is clear that economic difficulties, energy problems and food shortages will not be solved without cooperation in the near future.

The right neighborhood policy is of unprecedented importance for Georgia, which in the current situation should be avoided. To deepen cooperation with the leading states in the region – Turkey and Azerbaijan, at the same time Georgia has an important role to play in establishing regional peace and to be a leader in resolving conflicts with neighboring countries.

What opportunities are there around Georgia? What are the relations with the neighboring states so far? Are there any prospects for deepening the relationship?

Talks on the Neighborhood’s economic policy should begin in 2007, when Georgia and Turkey signed a Free Trade Agreement. This event added positive dynamics to the economic potential of the region and strengthened the political relations between the two countries through economic cooperation.

The new tax policy has increased Turkey-Georgia economic opportunities. From the date of the agreement until 2015, the trade turnover between Georgia and Turkey increased by 40%. According to the State Statistics of 2021, Turkey has become the largest importer of Georgia, along with China.

The resources that fluctuate in the economic relations between Georgia and Turkey are different: heavy metals, wood products, Georgian wine and honey. Despite the economic protectionist policy implemented in the Turkish market, Georgian products are in demand.

Turkey is actively pursuing an autocratic policy that has made Ankara an economic leader in the Black Sea region, Europe and the East. Pharmaceuticals and medicines, highly developed medical equipment – machines, plastics, construction and electricity – transmission resources, food and sanitation, as mentioned above, Turkey, along with other countries in the region, including Azerbaijan, has become Georgia’s export hub. 

The Trabzon Declaration, a formal framework for multilateral cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, is particularly relevant to alleviate the economic shock caused by the Covid Pandemic and Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.

In 2021, an intergovernmental meeting on the economy was held in Baku between the Prime Ministers of Georgia and Azerbaijan, where the top officials of the state stressed the need for multilateral cooperation and deepening diplomatic relations.

Georgia-Azerbaijan relations include more than 100 multifunctional agreements, which normalize virtually all areas of cooperation between the two countries. The economic relations between the two countries are multifaceted, but the energy cooperation of the states stands out, which is so important in the current world political situation.

Within the framework of the joint energy cooperation, the Baku-Supsa and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipelines and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, as well as the Gardabani-Samukhi high-voltage power line are to be emphasized. The above is vital in resolving the energy supply dilemmas of the states.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project and the growing tourism benefits bring new opportunities to the political and economic relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan and are a strong guarantee of continuous cooperation.

At a time when much of the world is trying to take effective action against Russian aggression, the aggressor, along with its heroically fighting Ukraine, is paying the price for sanctions against Russia. Given the economic collapse and major political upheavals in Russia, the current situation is not conducive to strengthening regional relations, pursuing a positive neighborhood policy, and active economic ties between Georgia and other leading countries in the region.

As mentioned above, pursuing the right neighborhood policy has never been as important for Georgia as it is now. Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia are countries whose inclusion in the common economic chain will be mutually beneficial for the states. Strengthening relations with Turkey, a leader of a particularly important region, in many directions. The volume of goods or services that maneuver in Turkish-Georgian economic relations is large, but it should be noted that the potential is much greater. Turkey is one of the leading countries in the world in the field of healthcare, transport and communication services, tourism and banking finance, noting that Georgia is considering this and is actively trying to move the two countries’ ties to another, much more important stage. Given the current situation in the world, the issues of energy supply of the states are of great importance. Tbilisi – Baku – Ceyhan pipeline well expresses the depth and importance of cooperation between Georgia and Azerbaijan. It is desirable, that In order to deepen the relations between the two countries in terms of energy cooperation, in addition to the format of economic cooperation, Tbilisi-Baku infrastructure and agro-cultural resources are used, which excludes the possibility of both construction materials and food shortages.  It is a fact that the relations between Georgia and neighboring countries are multifaceted, but the potential is even greater. The need to show that by passing Russia, deepening neighborly relations should become a guarantee of the country’s stability in the coming years.

Author: David Tsirdava