Crimea Crisis can be turned into an Opportunity

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

Crimea is a peninsula of utmost geopolitical and strategic importance, dominating virtually the entire Black Sea. Together with the straits of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, it is one of the most critical points with regards to the security of the Black Sea and the countries with a coastline on it. It is an established conviction that the power that controls the region will also control the passage of the Black Sea and, through the Straits, of the Mediterranean. For this reason, the peninsula has witnessed many wars throughout history. Therefore, Crimea becoming a safe zone under the hegemony of pro-peace and pro-stability countries is an absolutely vital issue in terms of world peace.

In various epochs, the peninsula came under the rule of Roman, Byzantine and Trapezuntine empires, as well as that of Geneva, Venice and the Golden Horde. Nevertheless, the two nations that have the most deep-rooted and strong historical, cultural, religious and ethnic bonds with the region are the Turks and the Russians.

Both countries share a holy and spiritual heritage and have countless of their martyrs buried in Crimean soil that has been home to Muslims and Christians in every era. The Russian prince Vladimir was baptized in the town of Chersonesus, an Ancient Greek colony in southwest Crimea, in 988, later bringing Christianity from here to his own country.

Tatars are one of the Turkic clans that settled in the region as far back as the 6th century. The Crimean Khanate, the historical state of the Crimean Tatars, was founded in 1428 as a successor state to the Golden Horde. As of 1475, the Khanate remained under the rule of the Ottoman Empire for 300 years as an autonomous khanate. This ended in July, 1774 with the Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca signed between the Russians and the Ottomans.

According to the treaty, the Muslim tribes and Tatar communities indigenous to Crimea were deemed politically independent and recognized that it was a vassal to no other country. However, they still were to remain subjects to the Ottoman Sultan due to his position as the Muslim Caliph. One of the most important provisions of the treaty, which was signed on the condition of being "perpetual" and still remains in effect today, was that "Crimea cannot be ceded to other third parties."

Following the Kucuk Kaynarca, on March 21st, 1779, the Treaty of Aynalikavak, a regulation and trade agreement, was signed again between Russia and the Ottomans. According to the treaty, the Ottoman Sultan was to be asked for approval for the selection of khans coming after the then ruler, Sahin Giray. Thus, with the Treaty of Aynalikavak, the independence of Crimea was reconfirmed.

As a result of these two treaties that compliment and consolidate each other, the Tsardom of Russia and the Ottoman Empire acquired - in modern terms - guarantor state status over Crimea. It was signed that in the case of any possible political disputes that may occur in the Crimea region, the Ottoman and Russian states retained the right to impose the regulation agreed upon between the two upon Crimea.

Therefore, the Turkish Republic and the Russian Federation, the successors of the aforementioned states, are the two countries who have the right to have a say in Crimea. The article of the Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca specifying that Crimea cannot be ceded to other third parties renders it impossible in terms of international law for other countries to lay claim to and intervene in Crimea.

For that reason, Ukraine, the European Union, the USA, or any other country (or NATO) have no legitimate authority to intervene in/over Crimea. Ukraine does not lose Crimea or its territorial integrity either, because save for neighborly relations, it has not shared any real historical, cultural or ethnic bonds with Crimea all along.

In 1954, the region was perfunctorily handed from the SSR of Russia to the SSR of Ukraine. Since the concession was made within the USSR and was largely a matter of Soviet internal politics, nobody really paid any attention to it in that era. In fact, only 13 of the 27 members were in attendance in the USSR's Communist Party General Assembly where the historic vote took place. In this process, no one asked the people of Crimea what they wanted; the legal processes that should have been followed were violated, and a referendum that was supposed to be held did not take place. The possible future consequences of this decision, which was taken after a rather brief 15-minute discussion, were never considered thoroughly.

In 1991, following the USSR's dissolution, Crimea was given to Ukraine as a gift by Boris Yeltsin, the President of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia. The people of the region, with a population of 2.5 million, were not even asked for their opinion. Upon this decision, Crimea, which had been under Turkish and Russian rule for centuries, remained within Ukrainian borders on paper for the next 23 years. The agreements in effect concerning the region and international law were openly violated.

Today, led by Mr. Putin, these historical mistakes have begun to be rectified with the consent and support of the people of Crimea. However, the Crimea issue is still brought forward as supposedly valid grounds for anti-Russian isolation and sanctions introduced under the guidance of the British and Obama governments. These policies are also a part of the plan to neutralize the countries of the region such as Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea, and are strongly supported through criticism, intimidation campaigns and the manipulation of public opinion masterminded from London.

As is the case with every topic, a powerful Russian-Turkish alliance that will be forged over Crimea will prove to be the most effective and legitimate response to these organized criticisms, objections and threats. These two countries acting in the role of arbiters and protectors over Crimea is, in Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov’s own words, more legal and "reasonable than the Falklands having to be part of Great Britain."

When the cooperation between Turkey and Russia is raised to the highest levels by rectifying the erroneous policies and negligence of some previous Turkish and Soviet governments, the people of Crimea will attain the historical and cultural identity and beauty they deserve once more. Economic, cultural and material support from the two countries for Crimea to develop, progress and thrive will give rise to a peninsula world-renowned for its beauty. The region will become of significant historical and touristic value. On the other hand, the military alliance between the two countries will ensure the security of the Black Sea and Black Sea countries in the strongest manner.

Mr. Erdoğan and Mr. Putin, making great use of this historical opportunity by leading the way in cooperation, will pave the way for wonderful developments. An independent Crimea, bound by ties of blood, history and love, and under the care and protection of both countries, will become the adamantine symbol of a strong Turkish-Russian alliance and brotherhood. This alliance will be the greatest response to the British deep state, which has a habit of provoking the two countries against each other throughout history.