De facto states research unit

The Geography of Peace: De Facto States and Land for Peace Agreements


Book Project, a monography to be published with Routledge, 2021

De facto states represent an anomalous sovereign condition. Their parent states are unable to regain control over the territory that de facto states control, while the de facto states are unable to secure widespread recognition of their self-determination claims without the consent of their parent state. Kosovo and Serbia have recently entertained the idea of making territorial adjustments, through which a settlement between the two parties can be reached. Regardless of whether such an agreement will be achieved, this book explores if (and the extent to) which agreements for territorial adjustments can end the anomalous sovereign condition of de facto states.

To tackle the issue, the book bridges the existing theories in International Relations and Political Geography by showing how the main assumptions that deal with the relationship between land and peace can be applied in the context of de facto states and their respective parent states. The book develops a novel analytical framework that allows for an assessment of the possibilities for “land for peace” agreement to be achieved in the context of territorial conflicts between de facto states and their respective parent states. The book includes separate chapters for four cases of de facto states – Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Northern Cyprus, and Abkhazia and demonstrates how prospects of “land for peace” exchanges depend on two overarching conditions.

First, is the balance between the importance that parties in conflict put on the spans of lands with prospects to be exchanged on the one hand, and peace – recognition of self-determination claim, to be achieved on the other. Second is the balance between the domestic and external actors, that may either support or hinder such agreements. Theoretical and empirical insights that the book brings opens several avenues for discussions on the much conservative stance that the international community has held on territorial changes in the post-1945 international order.