12 June 2010

Role of Municipal and Regional Govenments in Conflict Resolution: A Case Study in Kars Region, Turkey

As have been discussed in an earlier blog entry, I am exploring the nature of cities and regions as para-diplomacy agents. This research will focus on the role of historic preservation in Kars Provence, Turkey. In July 2010, I will be traveling to Turkey to conduct research in this area in cooperation with Turkish colleagues. This will hopefully culminate in several papers to be published in indexed journals, a conference paper and possible grants with international organizations interested in non-violent conflict resolution.

The following is the abstract that has been submitted to the International Studies Association conference in Montreal, Canada to be held in March 2011. This should give to you a introduction to the research, I am pursuing.


The Role of Municipal and Regional Governments and Non-Profit Organizations (NGOs) as Para-Diplomatic Agents in Conflict Resolution in International Border Areas : A Case Study in the Kars Province in Turkey in Relation to the
Preservation of Russian and Armenia Historic Structures

Michael A. McAdams and Kocaman, Sinan
Political Science Department, SUNY-Fredonia, USA
Agri Ibrahim Cecen University, Department of Primary Education, Agri, Turkey

The preservation of cultural/historic resources in international border areas can have far reaching consequences beyond the mere preservation of historic sites. They have the potential to act as “olive branches” between countries which have experienced long term conflicts and negative cultural memories. They also represent a means for additional revenue and employment due to tourism. Border areas in all continents have often been occupied and settled by different ethnic and nationalities before the establishment of the present modern borders. In the case of the Kars Province, in the northeastern portion of Turkey, this area was occupied by various ethnic groups and Empires (Armenian, Russian, Byzantine, Ottoman etc.) which were present before the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. Tensions in this area are still persisting as the border between Turkey and Armenia, including the Kars border-crossing, has been closed by Turkey in protest to the occupation by Armenia of Nagorno-Karabakh which was previously under the sovereignty of Azerbaijan Although it has long been recognized that cultural tourism is a source of economic development, the ability for cultural monuments to be elements in international diplomacy has been discounted. These monuments when they exist along national borders particularly carry very strong possibilities to be vehicles of reconciliation that will lead to long term improved economic, social and political conditions between countries which have experienced negative cultural memories. This paper will investigate the efforts of historic preservation in Kars by local governments and Non Profit Organization and its potential as an informal diplomatic or para-diplomatic vehicle between Turkey, Armenia and Russia.

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