Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: The role of Turkey and Pakistan

Ulvi Ahmedli is Baku Based Research Journalist who has specialization in Regional Affairs and Economy.
Ulvi Ahmedli is Baku Based Research Journalist who has a specialization in Regional Affairs and Economy.

By Ulvi Ahmedli

Azerbaijan has suffered from the non-resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The conflict left near 1 million refugees and internally displaced people. After 1994 when the ceasefire was reached, within 26 years the international documents adopted in this case remained unresolved.

Armenian leadership under Nikol Pashinyan expressed an unwillingness to solve the problem and follow international law. Nevertheless, Pashinyan’s actions impeded the negotiations and led to the start of the military operation. The military confrontation started on 27 September raised several questions. Why did conflict turn into a military confrontation? Who are real partners? Two countries got important results from the conflict.

Who started the war?

If we want to know why and how the conflict flared up, we should know who is guilty. The main question is that who caused the military operations in Karabakh. It is not so strange, history teaches that the real guilty never takes responsibility and confess its fault.

Azerbaijani and Armenian authority held negotiations for almost 30 years even during the first Karabakh war. The negotiations were mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group. This mechanism was formed in order to bring conflicted parties into negotiations and promoting peace in 1992.

In 2018, Nikol Pashinyan seized the power in the “Velvet Revolution”. He tended to show himself as a different leader than previous ones. Pashinyan introduces himself as a democratic leader. It was expected from him to hold a soft stance in the peace talks. However, we have witnessed the opposite. Pashinyan’s activities for the past two years led the conflict flared up. Each action of Pashinyan and the new Armenian government demonstrated the deconstructive position for the negotiation process.

Armenian Armed Forces expressed different military doctrines, “active deterrence”. Defense Minister of Armenia, David Tonoyan called on the “new war for new territories”. What does it mean, it means they will try to capture new lands, so, how such a statement can lead to any peaceful resolution?

Pashinyan visited Shusha on 9 May 2019. He held a fancy ceremony for commemorating the 27th anniversary of the occupation of the city. Pashinyan drank and danced with some militaries. Such moves by Armenian leader generated irritation on the Azerbaijani side.

Pashinyan didn’t seem to stop and he made another step by issuing a statement “Karabakh is Armenia” in 2019. It means the end of negotiations.

This year, Armenian provocation reached the top level throughout history. Why we call the provocation because the actions made by Armenian authority meant they are not ready for negotiations and all the activities and statements are apparent humiliation of Azerbaijan.

The inauguration ceremony of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was held in the historical city of Shusha on 22 May 2020. It is worth noting that it had always been held in Khankendi, the capital of the separatist regime. Shusha city has a special meaning for Azerbaijanis. It is considered as the cultural capital of Azerbaijan.

This year in July, Armenia killed an Azerbaijani Army General and several high-ranked officers on the border with Azerbaijan. The clashes lasted for four days. The death of high-ranking officers resulted in the anger of the Azerbaijani population. Ten thousand people rallied and demanded a response to Armenian aggression. Armenia triggered Azerbaijan to give a military response.

After all, in September separatists announced that they will move the parliament to Shusha on 9 May 2022. In such a sensitive situation, Armenia’s decision added fuel to the fire.

Decisions made by Pashinyan’s administration mean that Armenia is not ready to make a compromise and enjoy humiliating Azerbaijan

Despite all actions, the Azerbaijani side went to negotiations and just demanded what exists on the negotiation table. We should know who started first, the Azerbaijani side responded to Armenian actions and statements after them.

Summing up, all the decisions made by Pashinyan’s administration mean that Armenia is not ready to make a compromise and enjoy humiliating Azerbaijan. As we see, Armenia fired the first bullet, but not used only one. The statements, the ceremony, and military attack within the previous two year leaves us no need to explain, everything is apparent.

Three countries, one nation

The conflict revealed some issues for Azerbaijan and Armenia also. The former president and the founder of Azerbaijan’s current political course Haydar Aliyev used the famous phrase which laid down the fundamental principles for the relations with Turkey. The phrase sounds “one nation, two states”.

Azerbaijan suffers from territorial integrity and Pakistan suffers from the Kashmir conflict where the Indian government unfollows the international law as Armenian authority is doing now.

Pakistan opened a new perspective this year, “one nation, three countries”. Along with Turkey, Pakistan gave full support to Azerbaijan to restore territorial integrity. The relations between the three countries increase day by day. Azerbaijan suffers from territorial integrity and Pakistan suffers from the Kashmir conflict where the Indian government unfollows the international law as Armenian authority is doing now.

Azerbaijan voiced its support to Kashmir and expressed its position as being in favor of international law. Recep Tayyib Erdogan paid attention to Kashmir on 23 September 2020, in the summit of the United Nations General Assembly. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked Erdogan for its support in this conflict.

Turkey is pressed by powerful countries like Russia and France in the Middle East. Three countries decided to support each other during such hard times. All of them gave full support to each other in their conflict.

Azerbaijan voiced its support to Kashmir and expressed its position as being in favor of international law. Recep Tayyib Erdogan paid attention to Kashmir on 23 September 2020, in the summit of the United Nations General Assembly. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked Erdogan for its support in this conflict.

The wartime is one of the most essential periods for the nation’s history, it unites the people and reveals the real friends and enemies.

In this so sensitive time, Turkey and Pakistan stood with Azerbaijan. If we see the development of relations among these countries in the future period, we shouldn’t be surprised. There is currently a tight economic and military collaboration between Azerbaijan and Turkey. Azerbaijan boosted military cooperation with Pakistan in recent years, so there is a ground for such kind of relations. In the future, we will witness much closer relations among them as “three countries, one nation”.

Armenia in a desperate position

Azerbaijan received support from neighboring countries and strategical states. Armenia seemed to stay alone on the battlefield. We should take into account what kind of support is needed in Armenian-Azerbaijani military contradiction. First, military support, and the second is diplomatic but not just words. Military support means the purchase of weapons and training before wartime.

Azerbaijan received military support by training with Turkey and participated in several multinational exercises, military equipment from Turkey, Russia, Israel, Ukraine, and military cooperation with Pakistan.

 

Azerbaijan received military support by training with Turkey and participated in several multinational exercises, military equipment from Turkey, Russia, Israel, Ukraine, and military cooperation with Pakistan. Azerbaijan successfully held relations with Russia and receives unequivocal support from Turkey, Pakistan, Israel, Ukraine. Iran stayed neutral and Georgia blocked arms transport from its land. It shows that Azerbaijan receives diplomatic and military support from regional countries. We should take into consideration that regional powers can be effective in this conflict than other players.

Armenian weak economic capabilities don’t allow it to purchase sufficient weapons and to continue the war. Most of the arms that exist in the Armenian arsenal were given free by their strategic partners. Russia has sent near 400 tones arms to Armenia. But how much it is effective?

 

So, what Armenia has? Armenia has support from France and Greece. These countries’ support remains just on the words. We don’t expect that these countries will help them militarily. Armenian weak economic capabilities don’t allow it to purchase sufficient weapons and to continue the war. Most of the arms that exist in the Armenian arsenal were given free by their strategic partners. Russia has sent near 400 tones of arms to Armenia. But how much it is effective?

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called several times to many leaders and attempted to internationalize the conflict. He also intended to achieve foreign intervention to the conflict against Azerbaijan. We shouldn’t forget how Azerbaijan attempted to hear the voice of the international community when Armenian forces occupied its lands and conducted massacres of innocent people in 1988-1994. Nevertheless, no response was given during that time.

Armenian possible loss on the battlefield will lead to an economic recession. In such a situation, Armenia will be alone again and the people there will suffer from the war double. Armenian attacks from its area to Azerbaijani cities far from the frontline is an obvious indication of their position.

The silence of the international community and the unwillingness of Armenian authority for peaceful negotiations led to the military confrontation. Unresolved conflicts have the potency to flare up any time, it is like a clocking bomb. However, it seems international organizations and the OSCE Minsk Group don’t want to understand this or incapable to solve.

Azerbaijan kept waiting for 30 years but now another 30 years is unacceptable. Azerbaijan is holding military operations in its internationally recognized territory and implements the points adopted in international documents. Armenia could cease the blood and generate prosperity in the region by declaring the withdrawal of its armed forces from the occupied lands but they decided the opposite.