July 27, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8864

Kommersant Columnist Yusin: Erdogan Is Pouring Kerosene On The Territorial Dispute Between Armenia And Azerbaijan

July 27, 2020
Russia, South Caucasus | Special Dispatch No. 8864

While the frenemies Russia and Turkey already find themselves backing different sides in Syria and Libya, another emerging point of tension is Azerbaijan. Kommersant columnist Maxim Yusin in an article titled "The Situation Is Developing Dangerously" calls out Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan for inflaming the tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan by egging on the latter over the Nagorno-Karabakh territorial dispute. The Turkish intervention in the dispute followed by Pakistani backing for the Azeris will arouse a counter foreign mobilization, warns Yusin. Thus, what was once a frozen local conflict can become a flashpoint for an international conflict. Russia, Armenia's formal ally, will find itself between a rock and a hard place. Russia received a foretaste of the problem when members of the Armenian and Azeri diasporas fought each other in Moscow, resulting in dozens of arrests.[1]

Yusin's column follows below: [2]

Turkish President Erdogan with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev (Source:

"The conflict on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border not only brought the two republics of the former Soviet Union to the brink of another war, but also became a serious challenge to regional and international security, defining new and most dangerous trends in world politics.

"The most alarming thing in this conflict was that, in contrast to the previous outbreaks of tension in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, this time a whole group of states appeared, which from the very beginning began working for an escalation or began demonstratively and somewhat aggressively to support one of the parties.

A map of the Caucasus region including Nagorno-Karabakh (Source:

"First and foremost, I mean the coalition of states headed by Turkey, which unequivocally sided with Baku, promised military aid to Azerbaijanis as well as grave consequences for the Armenians. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, instead of trying to extinguish the conflict, on the contrary, began splashing kerosene on to a blazing fire, inciting militant sentiments in Azerbaijani society. Thus, by the way, Ankara has created problems for President Ilham Aliyev, who, unlike a significant part of his compatriots, is not inclined to confrontation, but is now forced to reckon with supporters of revanche, who are becoming increasingly vocal.

"But how can they not if the 'elder brother', President Erdogan, speaks of unconditional support, if Turkish politicians call for almost direct military intervention, and there have already been reports in the media that the Turks are ready to send Syrian opposition troops to help Baku. Recently those troops proved to be effective in another hot spot - in Libya, fighting on the side of Erdogan's allies.

"Following Turkey, Pakistan, a nuclear power and a key regional player, also expressed solidarity with Baku.

"The opposing side (the so called 'Armenian lobby') is still behaving with greater restraint and does not make such unambiguous statements. But there is no doubt: as Turkey and Pakistan step up matters in the Trans Caucasus, their opponents will inevitably mobilize: Greece and Cyprus (within the European Union), India and Iran (in Asia). We also shouldn’t underestimate the Armenian diaspora in the US and in key European countries, primarily in France.

"Thus, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has a risk to turn from a regional into an international one, when different powers start tugging the 'geopolitical rope', thinking at the same time not about a settlement, but about solving their own purely selfish tasks.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

"For Russia, which bears special responsibility for everything that happens in the post-Soviet space, this is bad news. Especially as no progress has been made in recent years on a political resolution of the Karabakh problem and failing this, the South Caucasus will continue to remain a 'powder keg', living from one outbreak of confrontation to another.

"And at some point, quantity will turn into quality, the cup of mutual hatred will overflow: and Turkey's inflammatory efforts will finally bear fruit. Baku, having lost hope for the peaceful return of their lost lands (and enjoying a qualitative advantage in its armed forces), will initiate not a local, but a real war, which can have catastrophic consequences for the region.

"Therefore, for those forces that want to avoid such a scenario (I’m talking first of all, of Moscow), the latest clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border should become a wake-up call and a warning: the situation is developing in a very dangerous direction."



[1], July 25, 2020.

[2], July 21, 2020.

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