"Giving You Greater Access to the World"

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Contact Us

+852 5808 2152

Email: info@politicalholidays.com

Travel Differently

Political Holidays is for travellers who enjoy an authentic, personalized and flexible travel experience.

Travel to Unrecognized Countries, Turkmenistan and other unique destinations! 


Abkhazia, Iraqi Kurdistan, the North Caucasus (Chechnya, Dagestan & Ingushetia), Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), Somaliland, South Ossetia, Transnistria (+ Gagauzia) & Turkmenistan.

Unrecognized Countries

A number of entities have declared independence and sought diplomatic recognition from the international community as de jure sovereign states. However, they have not been internationally recognized as such and left in an 'unrecognized state.' 


These entities often have de facto control of their territory, a government, a military, and a legal system. A number of such entities exist today and operate as functioning states.


There are two traditional doctrines that provide indicia of how a de jure sovereign state comes into being. The declarative theory defines a state as a person in international law if it meets the following criteria:

  1. a defined territory.

  2. a permanent population.

  3. a government.

  4. a capacity to enter into relations with other states.



According to the declarative theory, an entity's statehood is independent of its recognition by other states.


By contrast, the constitutive theory defines a state as a person of international law only if it is recognized as such by other states that are already a member of the international community. 


Unrecognized Countries often reference either or both doctrines in order to legitimise their claims to statehood. Unrecognized countries are territories that have achieved de facto independence, yet have failed to gain international recognition as independent states.


These territories constitute anomalies in the international system of sovereign states and often present significant challenges to policy makers. This is evidenced by the war in Georgia and the continued debate over the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


For example, Abkhazia, Artsakh, Somaliland, Transnistria and South Ossetia, all meet the declarative criteria (with de facto partial or complete control over their claimed territory. They have a government and a permanent population), but whose statehood is not recognized by any other states (with a few exceptions).

Many unrecognized countries such as; Somaliland, Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Transnistria even have their own unrecognized passports and currencies. They include; the Artsakh Dram, the Transnistrian Ruble and the Somaliland Shilling.


Non-recognition is often a result of conflicts with other countries that claim those entities as integral parts of their territory.


In other cases, two or more partially recognised states may claim the same territorial area, with each of them de facto in control of a portion of it.

Entities that are recognized by only a minority of the world's states usually reference the declarative doctrine to legitimise their claims.

In many situations, international non-recognition is influenced by the presence of a foreign military force in the territory of the contested entity, making the description of the country's unrecognized status problematic.


The international community can judge this military presence too intrusive, reducing the entity to a puppet state where effective sovereignty is retained by the foreign power.

Unrecognized Countries constitute an interesting and important anomaly in the international system of sovereign states.


No matter how successful and efficient in the administration of their territories they are, they fail to achieve international recognition. In some cases, the unrecognized country is more successfully both from a democratic perspective and from an economic perspective.

Especially in such cases, why wouldn't the international community recognize unrecognized countries?


In the past, their claims for independence were based primarily on the right to national self-determination, historical continuity and claim for a remedial right to secession, based on alleged human-rights violations.


Since 2005, official representatives of several unrecognized countries have repeatedly emphasised the importance of democracy promotion in their political entities.


A possible explanation of this phenomenon is in the belief that those states which have demonstrated their economic viability and promote the organization of a democratic state, should have their sovereignty recognized. This being because of the understanding that legitimacy is gained through democracy.

International law does not define necessary prerequisites for the generation of a new state. The single document is Montevideo Convention of 1931, which marks out as obligatory elements the following: constant population, concrete territory, own government and ability to have relations with other states.


But this convention was signed only by American states within the Pan-American Union and is not valid de jure for the other international society members. So, there is still no adequate institution and no criteria for recognized states of how to behave towards new state recognition.


In each situation they have to elaborate their positions according to their national interests. They must also choose which fundamental law principle they must respect more – state territorial integrity or national self-determination right. This kind of dilemma usually emerges when a new wannabe state is a result of ethnic conflict.


Practically and de-facto, when such a state declares its independence in a bilateral matter, the internationally community generally grants their recognition seamlessly (as seen in the cases of South Sudan, Montenegro, etc.).


Problems emerge when a new state acts unilaterally (Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, etc.). In this case, each recognized state has to choose whom to support: central authorities or secessionist part.


As such, they base their positions upon their own national and geopolitical interests, so far national security is a significant and integral part of them. Mostly, international community members endorse central powers in order to escape separatism in their own territories, to avoid sanctions, not to promote terrorism and extremism.


As such, this leads to emergence of such a phenomenon as unrecognized countries, and the institute of recognition bases on precedent but not a set of written rules.

Unrecognized countries, by their very nature, sit outside of the international system in regards to banking, trade and international relations, until the time they are recognized by the international community.

The dominant international response to de facto states has been one of isolation. They violate the principle of territorial integrity, they are often based on warfare. The legitimacy of their frequently ethnically-based claims to independence is rejected by the international community.


Having unilaterally declared independence from their parent state, they are invariably prevented from joining the United Nations. Thus taking their place as members of the community of internationally recognized countries.


While the reasons for such punitive approaches have a logic according to prevailing political and legal approaches to secession, it is also recognised that isolation can have harmful effects.


Ostracising unrecognized countries can not only hinder efforts to resolve the dispute by reducing their willingness to engage in what they see as an asymmetrical settlement process, it can also force them into a closer relationship with a patron state.


For this reason, there has been growing interest in academic and policy circles around the concept of engagement without recognition.


This is a mechanism that provides for varying degrees of interaction with unrecognized countries. This tactic maintains the position that they are not regarded as independent sovereign actors in the international system.


As is shown, while the concept has its flaws, it nevertheless opens up new opportunities for conflict management, or even resolution.

At the current time, there has still been little effort made to recognize these entities and bring them into the international community.


Without such recognition, unrecognized countries are unable to join any international institutions such as; the World Bank, the IMF and the United Nations. In addition, they are also barred from joining international sports organizations such as; FIFA, UEFA and the Olympics.

It is impossible to understand the creation and continued survival of unrecognized countries without reference to external actors. External patrons provide vital support and the international system constrains and shapes these aspiring states.


The relationship is, however, not one-sided, and these entities are not merely puppets. In fact external dependence creates significant dilemmas for unrecognized countries. It undercuts their de facto independence and contradicts their strategy for gaining international recognition, thereby undermining their long-term sustainability.

Examples of unrecognized countries include; Abkhazia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), Somaliland, South Ossetia & Transnistria. All of these destinations can be visited on a Political Holidays tour!

Turkmenistan Travel

Our Turkmenistan tours take you deep into this secretive state known colloquially as 'Central Asia's Hermit Kingdom,' a reference to its likeness with North Korea. 

Turkmenistan, an ex-Soviet state, is one of the most off-the-beaten-path destinations in the world and a must for any adventure traveller! With easy connections from many European cities and various land border crossings, there are no excuses not to make your way to to Turkmenistan this year. It is sure to be your most surreal travel experience of 2020.

Political Holidays - Understand the World

  Copyright ©2020 Adventure Holidays Limited.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Pinterest - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • TripAdvisor - White Circle

WhatsApp: +852 5808 2152


Beverley Commercial Centre
87-105 Chatham Road South,
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

Enter Your Email