Turkey and Azerbaijan play their pre-agreed roles quite skillfully and persuasively to achieve the solution of their geopolitical problems and to serve their national interests.
When necessary, they are “one nation, two states” and treacherous brothers, and when necessary, they can even play enmity, which will again contribute to the realization of their goals. On July 1, two events took place that cannot be considered independently of each other. On July 1, representatives of Armenia and Turkey agreed to enable the movement of citizens of third countries from Turkey to Armenia and vice versa as soon as possible. On that same day, the Azerbaijani authorities decided to close the Turkey-Nakhichevan border. If the first event is known to almost everyone,
Azerbaijan has always fought for the comprehensive blockade of Armenia, and Turkey has been Azerbaijan’s reliable ally in this matter for the past 30 years. Starting from 1993, when Turkey closed the road with Armenia through the bridge over the Araks River and blocked the Gyumri-Kars railway.
Azerbaijan demanded that Turkey stop the blockade of Armenia only after extracting a concession from Armenia regarding the so-called Zangezur Corridor, after which the blockade of Armenia would become meaningless, because after the operation of that corridor, Armenia would be in the Turkish park, and a more perfect blockade cannot be imagined. Meanwhile, by agreeing to partially lift the transport blockade of Armenia for the time being, it seems that Turkey is weakening Azerbaijan’s position and depriving it of the leverage to exert greater pressure on Armenia. As for Azerbaijan, it seems, annoyed by Turkey, it closes the only border gate. In fact, the closing of the border with Nakhichevan has only a symbolic meaning for both countries, and its purpose is to play resentment against Turkey.
After the outbreak of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, almost all countries closed their land borders to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic in their country, but later abandoned the restriction. Azerbaijan is perhaps the only country that has not abandoned these restrictions, and for more than two years, Azerbaijan’s land border with its three neighboring countries – Iran, Russia and Georgia – has been closed. There is no road or rail passenger transport with those countries, the only connection is by air, which is extremely expensive and not available to everyone. This has various explanations, but that’s a topic for another conversation. Unlike Azerbaijan itself, its exclave Nakhichevan had a land connection with both neighboring Turkey and Iran. Hundreds and thousands of Azerbaijani citizens used this opportunity to go to Iran and Turkey. Due to the state compensation, the air connection between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan is quite affordable. a two-way plane ticket costs 60 euros. Azerbaijanis used to go from Baku to Nakhichevan, and from there to Iran or Turkey by land. From July 1, they can no longer go to Turkey, which is not so critical.
Instead, Armenia is now positioned as an ally of the West, which signs an agreement with Turkey in Geneva to open the border to citizens of third countries, and Azerbaijan is positioned as a friendly country of Russia, which, in response, closes its border with Turkey. The West has always viewed the opening of the Turkey-Armenia border from the point of view of weakening Russia’s position in Armenia. If Armenia has a land connection with Turkey, Armenia’s economy will be integrated with Turkey’s, the image of Turkey as an eternal enemy will disappear among Armenians, which will reduce Russia’s influence on Armenia, and ultimately it will be possible to achieve the withdrawal of all types of Russian troops from Armenia. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan understands that the issue of Artsakh and Syunik remaining Armenian now depends on Russia. so he will try to play pro-Russian. If Azerbaijan can show that, unlike Armenia, which is improving relations with NATO member Turkey and opening its land border with that country, it is closing its only land link with Turkey, and convince that it is a more reliable partner. than Armenia, then maybe he can use Russia to achieve the final depopulation of Artsakh and to open a corridor through Syunik to Nakhichevan.
It is extremely important for Azerbaijan and Turkey to solve the Syunik issue and ensure the connection with Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through Syunik. But so that Russia does not suddenly suspect that this is being done in order to connect Azerbaijan with Turkey, and suddenly Russia does not fear that this connection can be used to connect Central Asia to Turkey by bypassing Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan are now staging resentment and enmity. Otherwise, it is hard to even imagine that Turkey would go for even a partial unblocking of the border with Armenia, thus violating the strategic interests of Azerbaijan, which it has sacredly preserved for 30 years. And the document signed between the representatives of Armenia and Turkey will most likely never be implemented, there are no deadlines in it at all, and whatever the Turkish side wants,
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