Nagorno Karabakh will never be returned to Azewrbaijan
YEREVAN, APRIL 10, ARMENPRESS. A week has passed since the fragile truce in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict… World leaders have strongly condemned the violation of ceasefire in Nagorno Karabakh, calling on the parties to show restraint, saying with one voice that this conflict has no military settlement. Such calls were addressed to Baku and Yerevan, by the presidents of Russia and France Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, head of the EU External Action Service Federica Mogherini, the president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Ilkka Kanerva, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland. As a result, on April 5 in Moscow via mediation by Russia the meeting of the Chief of Staff Armed Forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan Armed Forces (Colonel General Najmeddin Sadykov vs Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov) took place, during which it was agreed that military operations are ceased on the line of contact between Azerbaijan and the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.
For the bloodshed not to break out with a new wave, I think, it is especially important to analyze what or who prompted the Azerbaijani authorities to resort to this extremely dangerous military adventure, to put it mildly. Whom and what they counted on. Relying solely on the facts, it is important to understand the causes of the four-day Azerbaijani and Nagorno-Karabakh war unleashed by Azerbaijan. The dialogue of the Chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia Heydar Jemal with Peter Tolstoy host of "Time will show" program, held on April 4 of this year, will promote unbiased analysis of the impulsive motives of the Azerbaijani leadership, which unleashed military operations in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. So, Heydar Jemal: "Since all the Russians, in overwhelming majority, obviously support the Armenian side, the intrigue itself, the spring of intrigue comes out, because Armenia is factor of Russian politics." Peter Tolstoy: "Azerbaijan is a factor of Turkish politics." Heydar Jemal: "Azerbaijan plays a complicated, big game, manipulating maneuvering ..." Peter Tolstoy: "Why have the military actions started now?" H. Jemal: "Let me explain. Because the Syrian front closed." So, what a "complex, big game is playing" the "strategic" partner of Russia, Azerbaijan? There is no doubt that this game is "solved" by US private intelligence- analytical company Stratfor, which is often called a "shadow CIA." So, on March 28 of this year, in an analytical forecast for the II quarter of 2016 Stratfor recorded: "Azerbaijan will go for escalation, arguing with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh in an attempt to divert public attention from domestic economic difficulties. However, serious military operations are unlikely to start. Russia and Turkey will try to influence the course of negotiations between the two countries, acting through their allies." Let us memorize this forecast. Let us remember that on the eve of his visit to Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, on March 17, granted amnesty to 148 prisoners, including 14 people, who were considered as political prisoners by the international human rights organizations. We should note that there is still are more than 80 people under detention in Azerbaijan who have been convicted for political reasons. It is clear that this step was dictated by the Azerbaijani President's desire to create a good background backing off authoritarianism to achieve a favorable outcome of negotiations with the US authorities: Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry. This primitive artifice by Aliyev was immediately debunked by the former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan (1994-1997) Richard Kozlarich, who said: “…The US government should not "reward" a regime, or praise it for the release of people who should not have been convicted, or meet high-level officials of Azerbaijan. If we do that, we will turn these people into hostages, into master cards of the Azerbaijani authorities, who will seek to use them to obtain political and economic benefits from the United States and Europe.” Intelligent, insightful conclusion of a professional, who knows the nuances of diverse policy of the Azerbaijani leader.
The leadership of Azerbaijan pursued its policy with the European Union somewhat differently. On February 29 of this year Baku hosted the second meeting of the Advisory Board of the "Southern Gas Corridor" (hereinafter SGC). We should note that in a meeting attended by the heads of energy departments of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Greece, Albania, Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, the European Commissioner for Energy Maroš Šefčovič, US Department of State Special Envoy on Energy Issues Amos Hackstein, heads of Pipeline Consortium TANAP (Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline) and TAP (Trans-Adriatic pipeline). The meeting concluded with the adoption of the final declaration, which was signed in the presence of the President of Azerbaijan and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. We should note that the Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Natig Aliyev then said, Azerbaijan will invest in the construction of TANAP and TAP pipelines regardless of the situation in the energy markets. It is worth mentioning, that the Southern Gas Corridor is of priority for the EU projects and provides transportation of 16 billion cubic meters of gas - 6 billion cubic meters to Turkey and 10 billion through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. Recently, during the conference "Energy cooperation with the countries of the EU" Eastern Partnership "and Central Asia" in Brussels, the EU Commissioner for Energy issues Maroš Šefčovič said that the Southern Gas Corridor is one of the largest infrastructural projects of our times. According to analysts, the main objective of the project is increasing the security of gas supplies to Europe bypassing Russia as a monopolist in the role of a supplier, and Ukraine - as a monopolist in the role of a gas transit country. It is assumed that the main suppliers would be Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and possibly Iraq. It should be noted, that the alleged cost of the project $45 billion, wherein 14 billion is accounted for Azerbaijan. Despite the sharp drop in oil prices, the state and the companies participating in the project SGC, as well as international bankers-creditors declared their readiness to fulfill their obligations within the time limits. The first gas via TANAP will go to Turkey in 2018, and the Azerbaijani gas will go to Europe via TAP in 2020. It seems that after the aforementioned, the Azerbaijani leadership in their calculations could well count on favor from its European partners, who, in their presumption, will finally get rid of the Russian gas monopolist, will ensure the diversification of energy and strengthen the energy security of their countries.
However, acknowledgment of these new circumstances, apparently inspiring the Azerbaijani leadership about its seemingly privileged position would have been clearly insufficient to start a military adventure. They needed something more: support of Turkey's military machine. Assurances from the Turkish side about the unconditional support came very soon. So, on March 15 during a press conference held after the V High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting of Turkey-Azerbaijan, Erdogan said: "I think it (Aliyev’s visit to Ankara for a meeting, which was scheduled to be held in Baku) another proof of correctness of the words by the late Heydar Aliyev "one nation, two states." Azerbaijan is one of those friends who come to know in need. I advise everyone to consider the message of brotherhood and make conclusions from them." In these last words by Erdogan there is uncovered threat not to interfere with already planned by the Turkish and Azerbaijani generals blitzkrieg across the line of contact between Nagorno Karabakh-Azerbaijan. I.Aliyev did not leg behind Erdogan in exchange of compliments. “The stronger is Turkey, the stronger will be Azerbaijan... Turkey's support is very important to us. Recently, our military conducted joint exercises, which is a very good tradition. We buy various types of military equipment and weapons from Turkey. Turkey's success in the field of defense industry strengthen the defense of Azerbaijan.” It seems that the words of the Azerbaijani President, who is also considered a "strategic partner" of Russia, will not cause jealousy in the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who, on April 8 of this year, announced about continuing to sell weapons to Azerbaijan and Armenia "in accordance with the contracts. For us (Russia), both countries are our strategic partners." In the meantime we want to believe that these daring statements by the Turkish-Azerbaijani leaders will prompt something to the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, dear Marina Zakharova. Moreover, she will not have to make excuses to Azerbaijan for the military-technical cooperation with Armenia, while saying: "We hope that this fact (meaning a soft loan of $ 200 million provided to Armenia by Russia for obtaining weapons) ... Any delivery of weapons both to Armenia and to friendly Azerbaijan are made by us with careful consideration of the need to preserve the balance of power in the region" (February 25, 2016 https://tass.ru/politika/2695391). At the same time, we should note that in the period from 2010 to 2014, Moscow and Baku signed a number of contracts for the supply of helicopters, advanced anti-aircraft missile systems, armored equipment and artillery weapons worth $ 4 billion (https://www.oborona.gov. ru / news / view / 9689). That is, even taking into account the fact that Russia is selling arms to Armenia at internal Russian prices, talking about maintaining the balance of power is not necessary. It is violated fifteen-fold in favor of Azerbaijan.
The whole complex of the aforementioned factors apparently pushed Azerbaijan to blitzkrieg, which completely failed on the fourth day. However, here I would like to draw attention to very important factors. So, while on the first day of the outbreak of military operations, as noted earlier, the leaders of US, Russia, France, Germany, the United Nations, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Council of Europe made urgent calls for an immediate cessation of military operations, rather expected was the behavior of the Turkish leaders. So, on Sunday, April 3 at the height of armed hostilities in Karabakh conflict zone, at the opening of the Turkish-American Center of culture and civilization in the state of Maryland, USA, President Erdogan said: "We will support Azerbaijan until the end ... We pray that our Azerbaijani brothers win in these collisions with as few as possible losses." In those days, the whole world was calling for peace, but Erdogan was calling for to war; moreover, called to God in prayer: "May Allah help our Azerbaijani brothers." The Turkish President’s pleas heeded the Lord God, and helped “Azerbaijani brothers” to come to senses and ask Russian Defense Ministry to take on a mediating mission and obtain the consent of the military leadership of the two Armenian states - Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia to conclude a truce. It is very significant that the OSCE Minsk Group also had to bear from this speech by Turkish President: "We faced such an incident, because the Minsk Group underestimated the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is under the occupation (Armenia) for many years. If the Minsk Group had made fair and decisive steps in this regard, such a situation would not arise." Here, I cannot but quote from the speech of the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan. So, within the framework of his working visit to the US on March 30 of this year, Serzh Sargsyan, speaking in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, said: "People, having often used the word "occupation", forget that for 70 years in a row Karabakh was a victim of occupation... and what was the annexation of Karabakh to Azerbaijan thanks to Stalin’s ability, if not occupation." The Prime Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, who remained faithful to bellicose rhetoric of his boss, on the same day, April 5, speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary faction of Justice and Development Party in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, said: "The whole world should know that Turkey, until the judgment day, will continue to support fraternal Azerbaijan, shoulder to shoulder, until the end against the occupation and aggression by Armenia. Each fallen son of Azerbaijan and our martyrs. Support to the fair struggle of Azerbaijan will continue, as in the past 78 million citizens of Turkey will support Azerbaijan, until the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh, are freed."
Apparently, the unprecedent heroism of the soldiers of the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the total mobilization of Armenians in the world and their determination to protect not "occupied Azerbaijani territories", but their holy Motherland, had a sobering effect on Ilham Aliyev. He did not heed to calls by Erdogan and Davutoglu, sounded at the same time from Maryland (United States) and Ankara to continue "jihad", but acted differently. On April 6, 2016 at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov the President of Absheron Republic Ilham Aliyev said: "Russia again took the initiative, and via its mediation the parties reached an agreement on a truce." However, he did not fail to say, apparently referring to the statements of Erdogan and Davutoglu, that armed hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh "caused concern in the world." Yes, today a fragile truce has been established. However, the danger of escalation of military tension in the Nagorno-Karabakh front persists. It persists, because it is not one that it is being fueled by the ideology of Ottomanism. For the rulers of modern Turkey, neo-Ottomanism is a lifetime deal. This is not an exaggeration. Let us remember that in 1997, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former mayor of Istanbul at a rally in the town of Siirt read religious verses: "Minarets are our bayonets, domes of mosques are our helmets, Islamic temples are our barrack, all Muslims are our troops." It ended with the fact that in April 1998, the state security court sentenced Erdogan to ten months in prison under Article 312 of the Turkish Criminal Code (inciting hatred among the population). Four months later, he was released and during several years, he had no right to hold public office and to stand for election. It seems that these lines from the biography of the Turkish leader are not a secret. However, in modern conditions, they acquire a sinister meaning. Perhaps ISIS and Jebhat-en-Nusra for Erdogan-Davutoglu is a kind of precursor to the idea of reviving of Great Turan and translating it into life in the area from Gibraltar to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China.
Apparently, all cards of Turkish neo-Ottoman leaders confused the glorious military space forces of Russia, which have been crucial in reversing the situation in Syria, and then Erdogan-Davutoglu had to urgently open a new front in the southern underbelly of Russia, and maybe in Crimea as well…
P.S. The next day, after the announcement of the armistice by Armenia and Azerbaijan, on April 6 in the studio of program "Politics" they spoke about who benefits from the conflict in the region of the Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, why it flared up again, what threats it has and how to resolve it. Among the panelists was a well-known political and public figure of Russia, Director of the Institute of CIS countries Konstantin Zatulin. Let's listen to what he said on the air: "What the mediators have to do (meaning co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group - AG) - dictate the terms of settlement. These terms shall be as follows, in my opinion, this is my personal opinion: the independence of Nagorno Karabakh, because Nagorno Karabakh will never be returned to Azerbaijan. You can say whatever you want, but this will never happen, and in its turn, the return of the regions of Azerbaijan, where defense forces of Nagorno-Karabakh are, to Azerbaijan in exchange for recognition of independence. That is the solution." Host of the program, Peter Tolstoy: "Who will guarantee it?". Konstantin Zatulin: "Russia, the United States, France should guarantee this decision. These are mediators of the Minsk group. Because Baku and Yerevan will not accept this decision. Every time there certainly will be people both in Azerbaijan and in Armenia who will say – by no means, it is a betrayal of national interests. Therefore, it is necessary that these mediators take over part of responsibility. This is the case, when Russia and the United States can work together. It seems to me that this is the rare case when they can."
Member of the Armenian National Assembly
from the Republican party, Head of the permanent
delegation of the RA National Assembly in the
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Head of the Party
“National Unity” and non-governmental
organization “Northern perspective”