Rapprochement between Baku and Moscow can change South Caucasus: Armenian expert
Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 14 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
The Karabakh issue is no longer a precondition for Turkey despite political statements and rhetoric from Ankara. This could lead to the rapprochement of Azerbaijan and Russia, Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) General Director Richard Giragosian said
"This may drive Baku closer to Moscow and may be the one real lasting change to the region's deeper geopolitical chessboard," Giragosian wrote Trend in an e-mail.
Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocols in Zurich Oct. 10. Solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was not included in terms of protocols as a precondition for settlement of Armenian-Turkish relations.
Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey were broken in 1993.
As the recent meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents demonstrated, the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict continues to be the focus of the international community, as the OSCE's Minsk Group seeks to garner at least some "sign of progress, Giragosian said.
"This recent flurry of diplomatic activity reflects the changed nature of the South Caucasus. But this rush for some sort of 'progress' by the international mediators is also tied to the recent signing of diplomatic protocols between Turkey and Armenia," the expert said.
The three co-chairing nations of the OSCE Minsk Group - France, Russia and the U.S. -- seem increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress in the peace talks over Karabakh, he added.
They are seeking progress in order not to only speed up Turkish-Armenian diplomacy, but also to move the second track of diplomacy forward on Karabakh, he said.
"But once Turkey had officially removed the Karabakh issue from its diplomatic protocols with Armenia, it has become very hard, if not impossible, to try to re-connect the Karabakh issue with the Turkish diplomatic effort to normalize relations with Armenia," Giragosian said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.