Russia must warn Turkey over Armenia and Azerbaijan tensions: Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis
Ramazan Khalidov, Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Russian Federation must warn Turkey about embroiling itself in the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Indeed, given events in Syria and the Ukraine, then clearly political elites in Moscow really don’t need more military issues. However, the unpredictability of President Erdogan in Turkey – and the bumbling track record of President Obama in America – doesn’t bode well.
Armenia knows full well the wrath of the Turks based on endless anti-Christian pogroms in history. This tragically culminated in the genocide of millions of Christian Armenians and other minority Christian groups in 1915. Indeed, Hitler said about this holocaust “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Turning the clock forward to recent events then Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, made it clear that Turkey’s comments about the current crisis involving Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to be overtly one-sided. Lavrov did not accuse Turkey of meddling at the moment in the crisis over Nagorno-Karabakh. However, the Russian Federation is concerned by the foreign policies of Turkey under Erdogan and this applies to issues involving Iraq and Syria.
This is visible because Tass News reports that Lavrov said “Of course, we have heard the [relevant] statements of the Turkish leadership, which are one-sided… However, in general, now it is important for our Turkish neighbors to set a course for stopping interference in the affairs of any countries, be it Iraq or be it Syria… There is plenty of evidence that Turkey, in spite of all appeals, pushes ahead with such interference and continues to support terrorism.”
It is known that John Kerry, US Secretary of State, is equally alarmed like Lavrov. Ironically, given the tense relationship between America and Turkey, both NATO powers, then hopefully Moscow and Washington can work in tandem. Of course, America equally is in disagreement with the Russian Federation over Syria. Yet, despite this reality, it is clear that Obama is at a loss by the policies of Erdogan towards the Kurds in northern Syria. Similarly, it is widely known in America and other corridors of power, even if not said openly, that ISIS (Islamic State) and other forces including al-Nusra have gained by the intrigues of Ankara against central forces in Damascus.
The BBC reports about past tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh by stressing “Fighting between the two sides began in the late 1980s and escalated into full-scale war in 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed, killing about 30,000 people before a ceasefire in 1994… Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies inside Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians, has since run its own affairs with Armenian military and financial backing, but clashes break out on a regular basis.”
Developments in recent days between Armenia and Azerbaijan are alarming. Equally, the international response to past tensions is somewhat hypocritical. After all, Kosovo was taken from the Orthodox Christian Serbs (not recognized by many nations) and given to the mainly Muslim Albanians of Kosovo. Yet, the overwhelmingly Christian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh isn’t recognized by the same Western nations that took action in Kosovo. Similarly, the occupation of Northern Cyprus by Turkey several decades ago – and the eradication of Orthodox Christianity in this part of Cyprus – is a fait accompli. Therefore, judging by past events the Christians of Nagorno-Karabakh have much to worry about with the only saving grace being the role of the Russian Federation that seeks to contain the crisis by building bridges between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
It appears most unlikely that America, Iran, and the Russian Federation seek to create further tensions. Of course, different perspectives and concerns will exist yet political elites in Moscow, Tehran and Washington have enough problems to focus on. However, the same can’t be said for Turkey under the leadership of Erdogan. Given this reality, it is imperative that other powers warn Turkey not to escalate the crisis by siding with Azerbaijan and encouraging elites in Baku. At the same time, pressure must be put on Armenia and Azerbaijan to de-escalate before the crisis before the crisis spirals out of control.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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