The Caspian Sea Competition

Date of Graduation

Fall 1999


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


The Caspian Sea's energy wealth offers the world a vital new source of oil and gas in the next century. Control over the energy resources and the transport routes out of the Caspian Sea basin is becoming a central issue of post-Cold War politics. Situated at the strategic crossroads of Europe and Asia, the Caspian Sea is an area of geopolotical importance. Complicated political issues, including ongoing territorial and ethnic conflicts, as well as competition for resource control, have produced a renewed struggle for influence. The region's three historical rivals--Turkey, Iran and Russia--are centrally involved. Several industrialized nations have invested billions of dollars in three littoral states--Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. Two other littoral states, Russia and Iran, claim that the Caspian is a unified body of water that cannot be divided into national sectors. The external power most interested and active in the region is the United States. The major opposition to Western interests in the region is Russia. Russia views the Caucasus and Central Asia as a sphere of its exclusive influence where it should have dominant proprietary rights to the energy resources. This thesis explores Caspian Sea resources, the transport issue, regional conflicts and rivalries, and the interests of the United States.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Mehmet Hakki Demirer