The Shusha Declaration

The Shusha Declaration

The eyes of the world are on the South Caucasus today. This region has become a place of very interesting geopolitical processes. After the 44-day Karabakh war, Azerbaijan is becoming an active player not only in the South Caucasus, but all over the world. The reason is Turkey.

Turkey, which has been helping Azerbaijan for many years, has also supported Azerbaijan in the 44-day war. As a result of this support, official Baku achieved what it wanted.

After the 44-day war, Turkey’s influence in the South Caucasus is growing. We can say that Turkey is very present in the South Caucasus today, not only politically, but also militarily.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Karabakh on June 15 and the signing of the Shusha Declaration between Azerbaijan and Turkey formalized Turkey’s military-political presence in the region. Turkey is already opening a consulate general in Shusha.

Turkey is in Karabakh

The concern of the Armenians is understandable, because Shusha is one step away from Khankendi. This means that Azerbaijan will soon have full control over Karabakh. In fact, this is the internationally recognized right of official Baku. Like all UN member states, Azerbaijan has the right to fully control its territories and protect all its borders.

There are those who call the Shusha Declaration a show of force by Turkey and Azerbaijan to the world. What provisions does this agreement contain?

The Shusha Declaration of June 15, 2021 is in fact an updated version of the Kars Agreement of October 13, 1921. According to the Kars agreement, the defense of the territory of Nakhchivan was under the guarantee of Turkey, while the defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, according to the Shusha Declaration, is under the guarantee of Turkey.

The Shusha Declaration further strengthens the cooperation between the two countries in all areas and Turkey and Azerbaijan continue to operate as a one country. After this agreement, the national interests of Turkey and the national interests of Azerbaijan will be equated. That is, the national security, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Azerbaijan will be considered as national interests of Turkey. The country or countries that will attack Azerbaijan will see Turkey in front of them. Azerbaijan will also take an active part in issues related to Turkey’s national interests.

The main provisions of the Shusha Declaration are the following:

– The National Security Councils of Turkey and Azerbaijan work together;

– Turkey and Azerbaijan are strengthening military cooperation and become a united military force;

– The media of the two countries operate as a one platform;

– Turkish and Azerbaijani diasporas act together;

– Turkey opens consulate general in Shusha;

– The Zangazur corridor will be realized by 2023 at the latest, thus establishing land and rail links between Azerbaijan and Turkey.

In short, the Shusha Declaration will turn Turkey and Azerbaijan into a one united force.

Shusha Declaration means peace, not confrontation

The Shusha Declaration also opens new prospects for cooperation in the region. The creation of a 6-country-platform in the South Caucasus is on the agenda. Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Iran seem ready to implement Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal, while Georgia is still hesitant and Armenia is unable to make a decision.

This is because Armenia has not yet woken up to the shock of the 44-day war and the country is on the brink of civil war. Even after the June 20 elections, the situation in Armenia will not stabilize for some time. There are still revanchist forces in Armenia that remain a threat to lasting peace and harmony in the region.

The Shusha Declaration is also a message to these revanchist forces: new provocations in the region will be resolutely prevented. Any force that threatens peace will be neutralized.

Russia welcomes the Shusha Declaration

In fact, the Shusha Declaration is an agreement that strengthened the Russia-Azerbaijan-Armenia agreement of December 10, signed after 44 days of war. The Russian side also welcomes the signing of the Shusha Declaration. Moscow understands that this agreement is not against third countries, but serves peace in the region and is a mechanism against forces that threaten lasting peace.

Sustained peace in the region is desirable not only for Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also for other countries in the region and world powers. This is because global projects, starting from China and extending to Britain, pass through the region, and the Shusha Declaration serves to turn the region into a center of peace, combining cooperation and joint activities.

Ahmad Shahidov

Head of the Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy and Human Rights

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December 2021