18 Temmuz 2015 Cumartesi

The Role of International Non-Governmental Organizations in Contemporary International Relations : Example of Uzbekistan Civil Commotion Movement*

The phenomenon of civil society is the most significant factor for societies and states. In recent times, states are categorized whether they have strong civil societies and non-governmental organizations. At the same time, this phenomenon is related to modern international relations because the big powers use these organizations as a tool in their regional and worldwide politics. At this point, Uzbekistan Civil Commotion Movement and Muhammed Salih is a good example for observing the role of non-governmental organizations in the international relations system.

In terms of relations of civil society-democracy, democracy-nongovernmental organizations and international relations, the UCCM is assessed in this article. Thus, it is revealed that non-governmental organizations can effect the International Relations System.

Key words: Democracy, Civil Society, Muhammed Salih, Non-governmental Organizations, Civil Commotion Movement.

1. Civil Society and Democracy
Civil society can be described as an organized section of the social life that take place outside the administrative organizations of political societies/states, depends on volunteer legal order besides determining its internal order.'[1] The fact of civil society have been defined in different ways in political and social history.

When we observe features of states that have democratic systems, it can be observed that they have a strong civil society and their judicial systems are good examples for other states that do not have effective judicial systems. In these democratic states, there are strong non-governmental organizations which have strong effects by participating in political processes rather than simply voting. These organizations have an opportunity to determine their own rules to an acceptable extend against political order.[2] Nevertheless, political societies/states should realize their political activities transparently and accountably to public and should not abuse freedom of information. If this supported by strong and neutral media tools, civil societies can fulfil their responsibilities.

At this point, relation of civil society and democracy come into question as the best known feature of civil societies is to compel states for changing some decisions and taking back steps in their policies. However, it should be remembered that civil societies are protected by states, thus; rights and freedoms secured by laws can create a system of mutual relation and dependency.  

On the other hand, non-governmental organizations have a strong positions in domestic policy as much as they can be a tool for decision makers in the international system. In terms of producing and exporting democracy, human rights, economic reforms to other countries, NGO’s can create danger to their own authoritarian governments. Uzbekistanand People's Movement of Uzbekistan is one of the best examples for this claim.

2. The Republic of Uzbekistan
The republic of Uzbekistan is one of the six states that have been establishedin Central Asiaafter Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in collapsed 1991. It has the largest population in Central Asia region with more than 30 million and it has a great field at 450.000 km2[3].

Uzbekistan have been governed by Islam Kerimov since the independence at 1991 and he has been president for 25 years. He has won all elections and in the last elections, he has won more than 90% percentage of the votes.[4]According to research done by Freedom Houseto determine level of democracy,Uzbekistan has the lowest score in Eurasian countries list.[5]

           2.1 Civil Society and Democracy in Uzbekistan
Except relatively liberal period in the first years of independence in Uzbekistan, state did not allow civil society to develop.[6] Non-governmental organizations are also under strict control like political parties. It may be essential to assess qualities of these organizations according to whether they have political aims or not.

These are the examples of the folk’s disapproval of the regime: The bombing attacks in 1999 where 16 lost their lives in Tashkent, the suicide blasts killed more than 50 in Andican in 2000 and civil rebellion in which nearly 800 people were killed in Andican in 2005.

In 2004, a law was enacted to take the payments to NGOs under state control.[7] Non-governmental organizations which work with finance from foreign resources were closed via various excuses with the court decisions. The first example is banning the activities of Open Society Institute of George Soros. In addition, Eurasia Foundation decided to stop its activities itself, not to have the same experience of prohibition. US originated Republican Institute and Uzbekistan branches of foreign presses like Internews, BBC, RFE/RL were also closed down their Uzbekistan branches.[8]

2.2. Uzbekistan Civil Commotion Movement (UCCM)
Muhammed Salih is a politician and intellectual having a great influence on gaining the independence of Uzbekistan. He established Birlik Movement in 1988 and Erk Party in 1990. He lost his first election in 1991 against Islam Kerimov and  these activities of him was found dangerous for the new authoritarian regime and for formation of Uzbek nation and he was forced to leave his country in the first year of independence. Firstly, he went to Turkey and he also lived in Germany, Sweden, the USA.

The representatives of Uzbekistan opponents came together in a meeting held in Berlin, the capital of Germany in May 2011 and they established Uzbekistan Civil Commotion Movement.The movement succeeded in establishing organization mainly in Turkey also in, Norway Sweden, Canada and Russia[9]. Civil Movement focuses on preventing breaking of human rights, freedom, justice, andaims to establish strong civil society based on freedom, justice and law and it works to attract 
international attention in this way.

3. The Effect of UCCM to Uzbekistan Foreign Policy
Muhammed Salih have established and worked in Birlik Movement and Erk Movement. Then, his UCCM became the most effective political movement outside the Uzbekistan on Uzbekistan’s foreign policy after Uzbekistan Islamic Movement.

Muhammed Salih and UCCM have some effects on Uzbek Foreign Policy. These effects can be explored in Uzbekistan-Turkey, Uzbekistan-The USA and Uzbekistan-Russia relations. 1990s were critical years for Uzbekistan government. Because it targeted building a strong Uzbek nation and it wanted to obtain securityand sustainability of the regime. Effects of these politic decisions to domestic politics were observed as deactivation of opponents and sharing of some authority with tribes.For instance,some ministries and intelligence agency, were shared between tribes and Kerimov's relatives.

Muhammed Salih left his country in 1993 and he took refuge to Turkey; however, this affected Turkey and Uzbekistan relations negatively and he was deported from Turkey. After this problem, Turkey and Uzbekistan relations could not be improved until 2014.

Turkey condemned events in Andican Civil Rebellion in 2005 and relationships got worse.[10] At the same year, in December of 2014, Uzbek opponent Abdullah Buhari killed in Zeytinburnu in Istanbul. According to Turkish news, a hit list were found in investigation, Muhammed Salih and his son Timur Salih were written in this list; thus, security measurements were increased.[11]As the result of theseevents, Muhammed Salih and UCCM can gain importance in Turkey and Uzbekistan relationshipsand have power to effect relations of the two country.

Uzbekistan and The USA relations were not stable pattern between 1991 (independent year of Uzbekistan) and 2001 (terrorist attacks 11st of September).[12] Uzbek political decisions were efficient on this situation. For instance, opponents as Muhammed Salih were perceived as an enemy by Uzbek governments and they thought that the USA, Russia, Turkey, etc. can use these movements for their own political aims. Together Muhammed Salih, TahirYoldaş and CumaNamangani also can be shown as examples of these opponents.

After the occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, Orange Revolution occurred in 2004 in Ukraine. Then, movements spread to Kirghizstan named Tulip Revolution in 2005.After that political turmoil Muhammed Salih accepted as threat to regime andperception that these movements were supported by the USA, lead to stronger emphasis of democracy and human rights in the country. Those events annoyed Kerimov government. Furthermore,as precautionary measure for colourful revolutions, Andican events,where many people killed, was protested by the USA and other states[13].They advised to Uzbekistan for democratic reforms, freedom and economic reforms.[14] The USA thought to use UCCM for regional politicsat that time; however they seem to lay off this decision when they occupied Afghanistan because Uzbekistan's strategic position gained a greater importance. Thus, the USA hasappeared to give up its political slogan: Freedom, democracy and economic reforms for Uzbekistan. This idea can be supported by the USA’s removal of Uzbekistan from 'Dangerous Countries List'[15].

UCCM has less effecting capability on Russia and Uzbekistan relations.Although it is clear that Uzbekistan-Russia relations have enhanced after Andican Rebellion, undoubtedly Uzbekistan also began to be annoyed from increasing Russian effect in the region[16]. However, it should be thought that Uzbekistan have balanced foreign policybetween the USA and Russia since it obtained independence.

Russia is not the political power that may disturb political stability via revolutions.  Rather than Russia, Muhammed Salih and UCCM have been supported by the USA, European Countries and Turkey. Uzbekistan-Russia relations are balanced and when imperial effects of Russia are perceived, Uzbek politicians quickly undermine the relations. Although Arab Spring Movements are expected to trigger spread inCentral-Asia, authoritarian regimes in the region have not allowed such possibility until today.

Although Muhammed Salih told that Arab Spring showed that armed struggle has been legitimated[17], UCCM does not have capability to start such a movement and obtain necessary international support.

Civil society is an important factor incontemporary international relations system. It can be observed in theinternational system, it is clear that states that have strong civil society have a strong position in the world politics.

UCCM is both contemporary and unique example about relation of non-governmental organizations and international relations. In this perspective, there are three relationships between Uzbekistan and the USA, Turkey and Russia. These relationships specify Uzbek foreign policy and domestic policy. Arguably, Uzbek foreign policy designed to achieve balance between the USA and Russia relations. Asa result of this situation, importance of UCCM can decrease or increase.

This example shows that non-governmental organizations are tools in the modern international relations. States tend to use these organizations in their regional and the world politics. UCCM has a significant role in Uzbekistan’s foreign policyboth today and in the future. Because, the USA have not finished Afghanistan occupation and Russia have also want to sustain its influence in Central Asia region. Therefore, the role of UCCM can increase more and more in upcoming years.

AyşenurAkpınarGönenç, SivilToplum, DüşünselTemelleriveTürkiyePerspektifi, AltkitapYayınları, 2001.
Turgut Demirtepe, ''Özbekistan ve Arap Baharı'', Uluslararası Hukuk ve Politika Dergisi, Sayı:33, 2013,  s. 97
AinurNogayeva, Orta Asya'da ABD, Rusya ve Çin: Stratejik Denge Arayışları, Google Books, https://books.google.com.tr/books?id=wTv7AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA228&lpg=PA228&dq=2004+stk+%C3%B6zbekistan&source=bl&ots=5RL6qzh-Eq&sig=mi38DDQ2E1GwUHvNk-a3ey2iSeI&hl=tr&sa=X&ei=Y7KSVafuLcKbsAGe6KXQDA&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=2004%20stk%20%C3%B6zbekistan&f=false,
TurgutDemirtepe, ''ABD-Özbekistan İlişkilerinde Balayı Haftası'', USAK GündemDergisi, Aralık 2011.
Özbekistan Künyesi, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/ozbekistan-kunyesi.tr
'Özbekistan'da Kerimov Yine Kazandı' , http://www.dw.com/tr/%C3%B6zbekistanda-kerimov-yine-kazand%C4%B1/a-18349886, 30.03.2015

Nations in Transit 2015: Democracy on the Defensice in Europe and Eurasia, https://freedomhouse.org/article/nations-transit-2015-democracy-defensive-europe-and-eurasia#.VY6bB_ntmko, 27.06.2015.
Council for a Community of Democracies, UN ChiefCalls On UzbekistanToRecognize Human RightsDuringFiveNationTour,6.4.2010
''Özbekistan'daDiktatörlükRejimiVar'', http://www.timeturk.com/tr/2012/05/19/ozbekistan-da-diktatorluk-rejimi-var.html, 20.05.2012.

''Özbekistan ile Yeni Başlangıç'', http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/haber/ozbekistan-ile-yeni-baslangic, 10.07.2014. ''Dört Kişilik İnfaz Listesi'', http://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/4-kisilik-infaz-listesi-2044029, 13.12.2014.
''Uzbekistan-USRelaitons'', http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/centralasia/uzbek-forrel-us.htm, 27.06.2015.

''Özbekistan, ABD'nin Tehlikeli Ülkeler Lİstesinden Çıkarıldı'', http://tr.sputniknews.com/turkish.ruvr.ru/2014_01_28/Ozbekistan-ABD-tehlikeli-ulkeler/, 28.01.2014.

The offical website PMO: http://www.uzxalqharakati.com/tr/arsivler/88

[1]AyşenurAkpınarGönenç, SivilToplum, DüşünselTemelleriveTürkiyePerspektifi, AltkitapYayınları, 2001, sayfa 9.
[2]Gönenç, a.g.e., s. 49.
[3]ÖzbekistanKünyesi, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/ozbekistan-kunyesi.tr.mfa, 27.06.2015.
[4]'Özbekistan'daKerimovYineKazandı' , http://www.dw.com/tr/%C3%B6zbekistanda-kerimov-yine-kazand%C4%B1/a-18349886, 30.03.2015
[5]Nations in Transit 2015: Democracy on the Defensice in Europe and Eurasia,https://freedomhouse.org/article/nations-transit-2015-democracy-defensive-europe-and-eurasia#.VY6bB_ntmko, 27.06.2015.
[6]TurgutDemirtepe, ''ÖzbekistanveArapBaharı'', UluslararasıHukukvePolitikaDergisi, Sayı:33, 2013,  s. 97.
[7]AinurNogayeva, Orta Asya'da ABD, Rusya ve Çin: Stratejik Denge Arayışları, Google Books, https://books.google.com.tr/books?id=wTv7AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA228&lpg=PA228&dq=2004+stk+%C3%B6zbekistan&source=bl&ots=5RL6qzh-Eq&sig=mi38DDQ2E1GwUHvNk-a3ey2iSeI&hl=tr&sa=X&ei=Y7KSVafuLcKbsAGe6KXQDA&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=2004%20stk%20%C3%B6zbekistan&f=false.
[8] Council for a Community of Democracies, UN Chief Calls On Uzbekistan To Recognize Human Rights During Five Nation Tour,6.4.2010.
[9]''Özbekistan'daDiktatörlükRejimiVar'', http://www.timeturk.com/tr/2012/05/19/ozbekistan-da-diktatorluk-rejimi-var.html, 20.05.2012.
[10]''ÖzbekistanileYeniBaşlangıç'', http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/haber/ozbekistan-ile-yeni-baslangic, 10.07.2014.
[11]''DörtKişilikİnfazListesi'', http://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/4-kisilik-infaz-listesi-2044029, 13.12.2014.
[12]TurgutDemirtepe, ''ABD-ÖzbekistanİlişkilerindeBalayıHaftası'', USAK GündemDergisi, Aralık 2011.
[14]''Uzbekistan-US Relaitons'', http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/centralasia/uzbek-forrel-us.htm, 27.06.2015.
[15]''Özbekistan, ABD'ninTehlikeliÜlkelerLİstesindenÇıkarıldı'', http://tr.sputniknews.com/turkish.ruvr.ru/2014_01_28/Ozbekistan-ABD-tehlikeli-ulkeler/, 28.01.2014.

* This article has been written for SPbSU.

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