The counter attack launched by the Azerbaijani armed forces after Armenia had opened fire on Azeri settlements is still ongoing.
While 6 villages were liberated in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh during the counter operation of Azerbaijan, it was reported that some hills that were strategic for the Armenian army were taken under control.
While the conflicts are continuing, both parties has declared a “state of emergency” and a “state of war” in their countries.
Elif İlhamoğlu discussed the latest developments on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border line with retired Lieutenant General İsmail Hakkı Pekin, former Chief of the Intelligence Agency of the Turkish General Staff.
Assessing the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, retired Lt. Gen. Ismail Hakki Pekin said that ‘Turkey, Russia and Iran can solve the problem together,’ noting that the U.S. provoked the conflict who want to create instability in the South Caucasus.
NATO PLANS IN THE REGION
– Could you evaluate the latest developments on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border line? Is it a short-term conflict or can it evolve into a wider war? On the other hand, there are calls for a truce from international institutions such as the OSCE and the UN, do you find it realistic?
– I do not think it will turn into a big war. First of all, Russia and Iran will not allow this. There is a balance in the South Caucasus. There are activities carried out by NATO and the USA in the South Caucasus, which especially want to encircle Russia. Chaos and disorder in the region might cause an increase in terrorist activities and change the balance to the detriment of Russia, Turkey and Iran.
It takes a long time to resolve this issue on the table.
“THE USA IS LEADING PASHINYAN”
– Tensions kept growing in Tovuz and Karabakh in July and September. What causes the conflict? What is the target of Armenia’s attacks?
– The President of Armenia Pashinyan is in a pro-US and West stance. The USA resorted to provocations through Pashinyan. Pashinyan does not listen to Russia. The U.S. and the West has been testing the relation and strength of Turkey-Azerbaijan union via this conflict. The West has seen the condition and self-confidence of Azerbaijan. The West has figured out that they are unable to bring chaos to the region easily because of the cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Russia, on the other hand, will prevent Armenia from being battered for a while. Until a certain balance is reached. Because, more recently, Moscow called on Armenia to “return 5 rayons (administrative division) to Azerbaijan”. Pashinyan did not listen to them.
Where does this lead to? Kazim Karabekir and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey kept Britain away by setting boundaries with Red Army in the Caucasus. Now the South Caucasus is also a sensitive region. Russia thinks this way, so does Turkey, as well. A region where Salafism can flourish. The West can play a game here. They can either siege Russia or provoke Iran via Azerbaijan as well as threating Turkey’s energy lines safety. Terrorism in the region will affect directly Turkey, Russia and Iran. It affects the stability of these countries and their fight against terrorism.
‘COMMON INTERESTS IN SOUTH CAUCASUS’
– The Karabakh problem has not been solved by the OSCE for 30 years, all kinds of diplomatic ways have been tried. Can the Astana model be applied in the Karabakh conflict?
– There is a threat to Russia in the South Caucasus for a long time. The West is trying to include Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in NATO. Russia is against it. Russia has been supporting Azerbaijan against this project for a while. On the other hand, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan acts with the West. On the other hand, this region is also a sensitive area for Iran, due to the Azeri Turks. The U.S. and France desire to use the Armenian diaspora both against Turkey and for their own public opinions (election etc.). Opposing this plan in Caucasus, Russia is able to establish the Astana model with Turkey and Iran. In fact, a system that can provide regional stability can be built by including the Syrian-Libya crises into it. This is because the region is quite essential both for Turkey and Russia. There are energy lines within the region. There are common interests. Turkey, Russia and Iran can form a common platform.
‘SEEKING TERRORISM AND CHAOS IN THE REGION’
– Could the conflict have regional consequences? How do possible consequences affect Turkey?
– If stability is not achieved in the region, terrorist activities may increase. The West is trying to organize Salafi groups and the PKK there. Disorder in the region affects Turkey negatively. Think Iran, the Caucasus and the Caspian basin. Chaos in this region lays the foundation of other powers, especially the U.S., to settle in the region, and it limits both Iran and Turkey. The USA also has such an aim. They are already trying to encircle us from the south, now they can surround us from the north, creating chaos and terror there. In other words, chaos caused in the Caucasus would be to the detriment of Iran, Turkey and Russia. These three countries can prevent the chaos and plans that are being created in the Caucasus with a joint strategic plan.