Trend European Desk Commentator Elmira Tariverdiyeva
The strengthening of relations between Russia and Turkey is beneficial not just for the two countries. Turkey has had many long-standing problems in its relations with Armenia. Russia traditionally has had a special influence on Armenia. Moreover, Russia has huge interests lying in Turkey's fraternal country - Azerbaijan.
There is a hope that the countries will help each other in promoting the process to solve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict amid increasing cooperation between Ankara and Moscow.
"Close relations between Turkey and Russia will positively impact the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict ", Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said live on Haber7 TV channel, Anadolu news agency reported.
Davutoglu said that the countries intend, and are able, to bring the Black Sea and Caucasus regions out from under the status of conflict zones. "Turkey has hopes in the Caucasus from the point of view of Turkish-Armenian, and Armenian-Azerbaijani relations," he said.
The arithmetic is simple: Turkey and Russia are more interested in solving the frozen Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict now than they were before.
Russia, which participated in the August conflict in Georgia, must renew its image as a peacemaker. The best way to prove it is to help the two Caucasian countries settle the long-running territorial conflict. As an important regional player and a co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group, Russia has the necessary chances to fulfill this goal.
Moreover, Moscow needs close relations with Baku in the energy sector. The West's great dream, the Nabucco gas pipeline, cannot be realized without Azerbaijani gas.
In a recent article The Wall Street Journal concluded that the role of Turkmenistan in the Nabucco pipeline project was too exaggerated, because Ashgabat has bound itself into a 25-year-agreement with Russia, as well as building a massive pipeline to China - pumping 40 billion cubic meters.
Thus, the newspaper states that Azerbaijan has been considered by Western countries as the main supplier of gas in the Nabucco project. However, Moscow, wishing to remain the key monopolist on the gas market, has made great efforts to conclude agreements with Baku to buy Azerbaijani gas in volumes as large as possible.
The Kremlin can gain Baku's favor by putting pressure on Armenia, its main partner in the South Caucasus.
Turkey has its own interests in solving the long-running territorial dispute. Firstly, Ankara is also competing as an important regional player in such a strategically important area as the Caucasus. A security and cooperation platform in the region, proposed by Turkey a year ago, became the main political initiative in this area.
It is significant that Turkey and Russia, countries interested in regional influence in the Caucasus, have become possible participants in the project.
Turkey's second aim in solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is to overcome its obstacles in joining the EU.
Despite Europe consistently emphasizing the importance of relations with Ankara, Turkey still remains outside the EU enlargement process.
Besides a large amount of formal criteria that Ankara must fulfill, the EU imposes requirements concerning the reunification of Cyprus along with the recognition of the "Armenian genocide" in the Ottoman Empire and closure of its border with Armenia.
But settling relations with Yerevan and restoring transport communications are impossible without solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Even the "road map" signed in April does not cause optimism among observers. It aims to neutralize bilateral relations.
It should be noted that Yerevan even made assurances that the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations is not linked with Turkey's recognition of alleged Armenian "genocide".
It hopes that Nagorno-Karabakh will not become a stumbling point for Turkey.
It is a chance for Turkey not only to settle relations, but to bring an end to a long-standing historical dispute. However, the country's leading figures have repeatedly stated that neutralizing relations is impossible until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is solved.
To sum it up, several regional players will win out by solving the territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The two most powerful players, Turkey and Russia, should exert maximum efforts for the sake of their own interests.
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