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JSPES, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Spring 2003 )
pp. 77-96

The Black Sea Region: New Economic Cooperation and Old Geopolitics

Nicholas Dima

The Black Sea is strategically located between southeast Europe and Asia Minor and it connects its littoral countries to the Mediterranean Sea and the world beyond. In 1992, after the collapse of communism and the break-up of the former Soviet Union, at Turkey's initiative the countries of this region signed a declaration that set up the Black Sea Economic Cooperation bloc (BSEC). The new organization was confronted, however, with problems of cultural diversity, economic stagnation, and opposing geo-political agendas. Turkey desired to expand its influence in the area and pushed for increased economic cooperation. Russia sought to perpetuate its political and military domination. Romania and Bulgaria pursued a policy of Euro-Atlantic integration., Ukraine and Georgia sought to assert their newly found independence from Moscow, while NATO adopted open-door policies with the intention of expanding into the region.