Turkish President Suleyman Demirel yesterday paid an official visit to Moldova, which culminated in a tour of the country’s Gagauz-inhabited region. Accompanied by Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi, Demirel inaugurated a water supply system designed and financed by Turkey in that area. Turkey takes an active interest in the situation of the Gagauz, Turkic-speaking Christians residing compactly in southern Moldova.
Demirel praised as “exemplary” Moldova’s approach to the Gagauz problem, which had until 1994 threatened to blow up into an armed conflict. This visit was Demirel’s third to the Gagauz region (Flux, Basapress, Infotag, June 17).
Chisinau’s approach amounts–in fact if not in name–to ethnic-territorial autonomy, the first and thus far the sole solution of this type in a post-Soviet country. The Gagauz region has possessed since 1994 institutions of self-government, including a legislative assembly, an elected regional leader (Bashkhan) and an executive committee. The devolution of powers from the central to the regional government is anchored in the Moldovan constitution. Turkey helped mediate this solution and it trains Gagauz students on scholarships in Turkish universities.
The Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. It is researched and written under the direction of senior analysts Jonas Bernstein, Vladimir Socor, Stephen Foye, and analysts Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev. If you have any questions regarding the content of the Monitor, please contact the foundation. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at [email protected], by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4516 43rd Street NW, Washington DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of the Monitor is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation Site Maintenance by Johnny Flash Productions