Svante Cornell: Azerbaijan’s crucial role not quite understood in West (VIDEO)

Politics Materials 12 March 2015 11:06 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 12

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Azerbaijan's crucial role in overcoming some challenges is not quite understood in the West, Svante Cornell, Swedish scientist, director and co-founder of the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP), the research director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program told Trend during 'This week in Focus'.

Among these challenges is Russia's growing imperialism to the north from Azerbaijan and growing Islamic radicalism in the Middle East to the south from the country, Cornell said.

He said meanwhile, Iranian ambitions for hegemony in the Middle East continue, unreliability of Turkey as a western ally is also growing due to its agreements with Russia.

"In this situation, the Caucasus corridor and particularly Azerbaijan, play a crucial role that is not quite understood in the West," said Cornell, adding that he spoke about it in the US Congress hearings on Azerbaijan last week.

Speaking about Turkey, Cornell said that this country seeks to become a powerful geopolitical player, primarily, in the Middle East. At the same time, Turkey wants to maintain the relations with NATO, he said adding that the West is also interested in keeping Turkey as a NATO member.

The expert went on to add that the whole project of the Turkish EU membership is dead. "But nobody is prepared to say it publicly."

The official negotiations on Turkey's accession to the EU were resumed in 2005, however the country is still yet to become a member. According to Turkish officials, the percentage of the country's population supporting the move to join has reduced from over 70 percent to 20.

The Turkish officials have also said that the negotiations between Turkey and EU can't continue in the format required by the organization.

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Elena Kosolapova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: