A key feature of the entire region, which stretches from Turkey to China, is the complexity of the processes of state-building and political development in the states that make up the region. This is especially true for the states of the former Soviet Union, that were in many ways forced to build their states from scratch at independence. The process is nowhere more dramatic than in war-ravaged Afghanistan, which is experiencing the perhaps most vibrant political, economic and social changes in the region. But it is also true for more established states, be it China, Pakistan or Turkey, that are experiencing very rapid changes in their political and economic systems.

The processes taking place reach the west mainly in the form of news about velvet revolutions; but the processes taking place in the region are far more complex and differentiated than that, involving the evolution of political systems and the long-term building of statehood. As such, a major emphasis is placed in the ISDP on the processes of state-building and political systems.

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