Convergence of Turkey-Russia interests in economy can positively affect Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 11 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /

Convergence of interests between Turkey and Russia in economy and energy projects can have a positive impact on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, experts said.

"At present, Ankara is greatly concerned about one issue - the formation of a new, more profitable transit configuration in its interests. Certainly, the opening of borders with Armenia, as well as settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are included in this context, Azerbaijani political scientist Tofiq Abbasov said.

Jan. 12, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Moscow upon his Russian Counterpart Vladimir Putin's invitation. During his visit, Erdogan will mull further development of the Turkey-Russia relations, particularly energy and economic issues discussed during Putin's Ankara visit held in August 2009, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will discuss the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh settlement during his Armenia visit scheduled for Jan. 13-14. He will meet with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian there, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said.

"Exchange of views to continue the negotiation process on Nagorno-Karabakh settlement in the context of intermediary efforts taken by Russia to solve the conflict will be in the center of attention," Nesterenko said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

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.

According to observers, the convergence of interests in the energy sector can push two regional players to more active mediatory efforts in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Adviser on Eurasia Geybulla Geybullayev believes the Russia-Turkey rapprochement may positively affect the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Even if the Russia-Turkey rapprochement will not solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem at all, it may positively affect it.

The prolonged Nagorno-Karabakh problem creates non-stability in the region. But, the Turkey-Russia rapprochement in economic sphere will lead to dialogue. If the Turkey-Russia Economic dialogue gets success, then it may resolve several political problems, as well as realize peace and stability platform in the Caucasus, Geybullayev told Trend over the telephone.

In mid-September 2008, Russia and Turkey launched implementation of a plan to create "Platform for security and stability in the Caucasus". Its aim was the desire of both countries to solve the territorial conflicts in the Caucasus - between Turkey and Armenia and between Armenia and Azerbaijan as soon as possible.

Armenian expert Armen Gevorgian said, the fact that Ankara and Moscow discuss political problems and conflicts in South Caucasus would not be so uneasy and potentially dangerous for Armenia, if gas and oil pipelines had not been discussed together with these issues.

"The area for bargaining occurs. Russia, ascertaining the weakening of its positions by allowing Turkey to the regional political processes, can be seriously interested in the financial side of the question," Gevorgyan wrote in an article published by Armenian News' website. 

Gevorgian said Erdogan in Moscow will put the economic interests of Russia on one scale, and the Karabakh conflict on the other one, suggesting Putin to choose.

"Turkey strives to the Caspian region and Central Asia. Slowly and thoroughly it overrides regional agenda, which includes Armenian problems. Then it tightly links them with global political and economic interests of the superpowers " the expert said.

The activity demonstrated by the Turkish and Russian politicians in early 2010, must be beneficial for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mikhail Gusman, first deputy director general of Itar-Tass news agency said.

"On the one hand, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Moscow and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Armenia are in the regular agenda of the inter-state dialogue, between these countries. On the other hand, the activity demonstrated by politicians in early 2010, must be beneficial for such a long and painful for Azerbaijan conflict to be solved," Gusman told Trend .

Abbasov said if one tries to range the items of the Turkish political agenda in order of priority, then all connected with economic calculations of Turkey is urgent. "Therefore, in Moscow the sides will try to attach positions on energy projects. Both parties are ready to draw Yerevan in a zone of promising active transit routes," "Lider-TV" analytic group expert Abbasov told Trend .

He said in future Ankara will be able to mediate in solving the Georgian-Russian problems.

"The Karabakh problem is also on the list of urgent issues, because its settlement will rather promote realization of more profitable functional economic projects. But there are more questions than answers within this territorial issue," Abbasov said.

Rufiz Hafizoglu contributed to the article.

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