By İsmet Özçelik
Regional powers united and Karabakh has once again become Azerbaijani territory, thanks to the collective efforts of Russia, Türkiye and Iran after 30 years of occupation.
Armenia’s Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, had been following a rational path. Russia suggested 3+3 and the course was promising. However, Western intervention in the region has triggered new challenges.
“We won’t allow the West”
During my tenure in public service, I had the opportunity to meet with a prominent Russian diplomat. His current post is in Moscow and well-versed in regional developments. Approximately one and a half months ago, we spoke over the phone, and he pointed out to dubious activities in the Caucasus.
I asked for clarification. He responded, “The West has some plans. They are stirring up Karabakh, provoking Armenia and attempting to meddle in the Caucasus. We won’t allow that. The issue is already substantially resolved.”
How serious was the situation? Initially, I couldn’t fully grasp it.
The US-Armenia military exercises, Armenia’s recent policies, its stance on Ukraine, and Prime Minister Pashinyan’s statements regarding collective security… After these developments I understood the gravity of the situation.
The US sought to open a front in the Caucasus through Armenia. Meanwhile, Israel covertly maneuvered in the region attempting to sow discord among states.
Russian Foreign Ministry’s Statement
The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement with noteworthy and stern expressions. In the statement, Armenia’s stance comes under criticism, highlighting its unfriendly actions. Some of them are here:
“Prime Minister’s wife, A. V. Akopyan’s trip to Kiev, where she provided assistance to Ukraine.”
“Military exercises with the US in Armenia.”
“Armenian National Assembly President A. R. Simonyan’s insulting remarks against the official representative of Russian Foreign Ministry, M. V. Zaharova and Russia’s foreign policy institution on September 6th.”
“The detention of blogger M. Batalyan and ‘Sputnik Armenia’ radio observer A. Gevorkyan in Armenia on September 7th.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addressed in the G-20 summit in New Delhi and directed criticism towards Prime Minister Pashinyan. In sum, he stated:
“Pashinyan and Aliyev met in Prague last October. Pashinyan acknowledged that Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan.” Lavrov accused Pashinyan of not being truthful.
Regarding the Armenia-U.S. military exercises, Lavrov commented:
“We are concerned about the actions of the Armenian leadership. Naturally, we do not see it as a positive development when an aggressive NATO member tries to enter the South Caucasus. I don’t believe this is beneficial for anyone, including Armenia.”
At the 8th Eastern Economic Forum, President Vladimir Putin also made remarks on the issue.”Karabakh is Azerbaijani territory. This was also acknowledged by Pashinyan.” He put an end to the debate.
Iran’s “red line”
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi made a telephone conversation with Pashinyan, then he made the following statement:
“Countries in the region should resolve their problems on their own. Border issues are our red line. Collaborating with any foreign country, conducting military exercises, o embarking on suspicious journeys with a foreign country outside the 3+3 format only complicates the situation further.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson also made a statement: “Karabakh is Azerbaijani territory.”
Meanwhile, there is talk of President Raisi’s visit to Ankara which would be a significant development.