Former US envoy: Arab Spring unlikely in central Asia

Former US envoy: Arab Spring unlikely in central Asia

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Former US envoy: Arab Spring unlikely in central Asia

Ross Wilson. AP photo

Central Asian countries are failing, yet a wave of reform like the Arab Spring does not loom on the horizon, according to an U.S. regional expert.

“Politically, economically they are not succeeding, in other words they are failing,” said Ross Wilson from the Atlantic Council, which organized the Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum last week in Istanbul.

Although it is not in the focus of the international community, precisely this lack of attention could be costly for the world leaders in the future as the frozen conflicts of the region carry the risk of turning into major crises, Wilson said in a recent interview.

The circumstances in Central Asia are different to those in the Arab world, making it difficult to assume the winds of change that swept the Middle East will soon reach Central Asia. “Compared to Arab countries, Central Asian countries have recently gained their independence and while the region has its share of autocrats and even though they are not succeeding, the domestic trend line is still up especially in the cities,” he said.

While evaluating Turkish-U.S. relations, Wilson said there is sea change in relations. “I have been attending the meetings of the American-Turkish Council. Even there you can see the dramatic change in relations,” he said. The Arab awakening has shown both sides they need each other, Wilson said, adding that Turkey’s decision to host the radar component of an anti-missile defense system was very important and highly appreciated in Washington.