Ivan Starodubtsev What does Turkey need in Nagorno-Karabakh? 22.09.2023 13:27

On September 21, meetings were held between Baku representatives and Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians in Yevlah, Azerbaijan. The negotiations took place with the participation of the leadership of the Russian peacekeepers.

Although the parties have not reached a final agreement, they have agreed on a ceasefire, but have not yet agreed on disarmament – in fact, we are talking about moving to the final stage of the process of “reestablishing control” of Azerbaijan over its Mountainous lands. -Karabakh. This is exactly the term used by Baku, taking into account the fact that the international community recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory.

A bitter irony for Armenians was that the negotiations took place in Yevlakh on September 21, Armenia’s Independence Day. And September 21 should be seen as a turning point in the territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and, no longer Armenia, but the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Let me emphasize this: The main point is that we are not officially talking about a territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan actually recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory because he recognized the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Armenia’s withdrawal, including the negotiations in Yevlakh, deprived the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh of an international dimension and turned it into an internal issue of Azerbaijan for Baku and Turkey, which have always supported it. The rebel opposes rule by the region’s internal separatists.

Baku draws attention to the local and anti-terrorism nature of the operation launched on September 19, 2023, with the aim of restoring constitutional order in Azerbaijani lands. Turkish observers point out that this step is not only necessary, but even three years late since the Second Karabakh War in 2020.

Turkey should be seen not only as an interested observer but also as an active and consistent ally of Azerbaijan in the process of “Reintegration of Nagorno-Karabakh”, again a term used in both Azerbaijan and Turkey.

It is enough to recall that Turkey and Armenia tried to normalize relations in 2009 by signing protocols on the development of bilateral relations and the establishment of diplomatic ties. The Turkish-Armenian agreements, made in Zurich, Switzerland, with the mediation of Russia and the USA, were hastily described as “historic”. But they were not destined to pass approval. The Turkish Parliament did not pass the protocols stating that Turkish-Armenian normalization would not be possible until the Nagorno-Karabakh lands were returned to Azerbaijan.

Throughout the entire post-Soviet relations, Turkey and Azerbaijan defended the principle of “two states, one people”. The Second Karabakh War, in which Turkey provided active military-political support to Azerbaijan, changed the slogan to “two states – one people – one power”.

“One power” – in the sense of the military-political alliance established between Turkey and Azerbaijan. The latter was celebrated with a victory parade in the Second Karabakh War in Baku on December 10, 2020, with the participation of Presidents Aliyev and Erdogan, and was legally formalized with the signing of the Turkey-Azerbaijan Shusha Declaration on June 15, 2021.

The course of negotiations between the Armenian administration of Nagorno-Karabakh and Baku will not be simple and fast, but Yevlah, where there is no representative from Yerevan, can be considered a turning point beyond which a new geopolitical reality emerges in the South Caucasus. .

In this reality, the military-political alliance signed between Turkey and Azerbaijan with the Shusha Declaration is strengthening. Nothing strengthens relations between countries more than a mutually perceived victory. “Two states – one people – one power” was finally formalized as the fundamental principle of bilateral relations.

The Zangezur corridor, whose sustainable functioning would not be possible without the “reintegration” of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan, was designed to provide the connection between Turkey, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Azerbaijan. This logistics belt, stretching from the Balkans to the Caspian Sea, should be considered as part of broader Turkish integration initiatives in the field of the Organization of Turkic States, of which Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are members, as well as Turkey and Azerbaijan. Hungary is involved as an observer, along with Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

And the Zangezur corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan Republic is the bottleneck of the continuous transport corridor between Europe and China, which is the middle route of China’s global initiative “One Belt, One Road”. This route is entirely Turkic and passes through the territory of the member countries of the Organization of Turkic States, promising to further accelerate the already dynamic integration processes of the organization itself.

At the same time, the Turkey-Azerbaijan alliance to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict offers other NTC participants a striking example of how regional players resolve complex, long-term territorial issues without involving extra-regional players. The Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh was left out of the equation, but to be fair, Moscow’s most important mediation mission between Baku and Yerevan was not missing.

Does Moscow benefit from resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? Of course, in terms of the security of the region and the re-establishment of commercial and economic ties in the South Caucasus. However, the situation in Russia’s relations with Armenia, a member of the EAEU and CSTO, causes increasing concerns.

However, it does not seem possible that the real reason for the cooling between Moscow and Yerevan is Nagorno-Karabakh. On the contrary, Nagorno-Karabakh, the loss of which the Pashinyan administration openly blamed on Russia, became a symptom of deeper and systemic Russian-Armenian problems with the successful resolution of the future position of the Russian Federation in the South Caucasus. adhere to.

Meanwhile, we can say that the Turkey-Azerbaijan axis in the South Caucasus is getting stronger day by day, and this has become the locomotive of the integration processes of the Organization of Turkic States. In this sense, Yevlah became another important milestone in the “Turkey Centennial” program formulated by President Erdoğan.

The author expresses his personal opinion, which may not coincide with the position of the editors.

Source: Gazeta


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