Turkey and Azerbaijan’s Advantage Against Putin’s Plans for Novorossiya

A thorn in the side of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia is the Zengezur corridor, a land bridge would give Azerbaijan unfettered access to the Nakhichevan region through Armenia. Less than one week since a military operation that displaced 10,000 ethnic Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan, Armenia is ready to host people displaced from the disputed territory according to Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan. Turkey is apparently urging Albanian refugees to stay and Pashinyan said that he saw no “direct threat” to Karabakh’s ethnic Armenians at the moment. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan praises the victory ahead of plans to work with Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku on the Zengezur trade corridor to pass through Armenia.

Regardless of Turkey’s balancing act in its relations with Russia geopolitically and commercially, this takeover may be a calculated chess move in war preparations. Since the invasion of Russian and Persian territories in 1914 by the Ottoman Caliphate’s Union and Progress Party which led to mass Armenian genocide and the subsequent annexation of Armenia by the USSR, the two have been viewed on the world stage as allies.

Armenia, a landlocked country located in a tough geopolitical environment, is highly reliant on the Russians for everything from trade and political backing to military assistance. The tensions between Russia and Azerbaijan have incrementally mounted since Azerbaijan’s short-lived independence from Tsarist Russia between 1918 and 1920 which included Armenia and Georgia. The formation of the TSFSR (Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic), the 1936 adoption of the Soviet constitution, and the USSR’s once palpable stronghold on the country are now memories that are laden with more antipathy than ever.

In Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov made statements that in a fight to regain Nagorno Karabakh, the breakaway territory that has been controlled by Armenian forces for two decades, Azerbaijan would not be fighting just Armenians but Russians:

He said, “President Ilham Aliyev has always promised a military solution to the [Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict and he still has the issue on the agenda. The option of a military solution is always on the table, but the most important thing is how this kind of operation will be carried out. We need to become much stronger so that if we become involved in combat in Nagorno-Karabakh we can stand up to Russian troops, because that is who we will have to face. Did Armenia occupy our territories? Do you think Armenia’s power is sufficient for that?” asked Hasanov….

Recalling his home city, which is also in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Hasanov said the occupation was accomplished with the military support of Russia. “I saw Russian soldiers get out of tanks and celebrate their victory with champagne.”

Erdoğan has made published remarks that Turkey’s chances of acquiring F-16 fighter jets from the US have been boosted by Sen. Bob Menendez stepping down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“One of our most important problems regarding the F-16s were the activities of US Sen. Bob Menendez against our country”, Erdoğan said recently.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the so-called Zangezur trade corridor passing through Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran must be completed.

Between Putin’s quest for Novorossiya and without successful peace negotiations to help facilitate common ground in the Russo-Ukraine War, it seems that tensions will continue to spread through Eurasia.

Pashinyan said in an address to the nation on Sunday that Russia had failed Armenia by not providing more help to avert the crisis over the breakaway region, adding that he would have to transform Armenia’s security alliances.

Russia’s foreign ministry hit back with a strongly worded attack on Pashinyan.

“We are convinced that the Yerevan leadership is making a massive mistake by deliberately trying to destroy Armenia’s multi-faceted and centuries-old ties with Russia while making the country hostage to the geopolitical games of the West,” it said.