The deterioration of Russian-Turkish relations, which began with the collapse of Russian bomber by Turkish forces and during next months, can be said, have turned into an “alternative war” is already taking place in Syria and essentially influences the political situation in the region, including the Republic of Armenia.
During the first weeks of worsening of Russian-Turkish relations, with help of its central media services, Russia has made previously established legal bases of relationship between Russia and Turkey the subject of discussion. The issue of Armenia and the violation of the rights of Armenians by Turkish had a special role in that context and if the issue of Russian-Turkish agreement referring to Armenians, after worsening of Russian-Turkish relations was not closed, but was discussed rarely and extremely restrained, and only by experts, in November-December Russian great TV radio-stations many times touched upon not only the fact of the Armenians genocide committed by the Turkish continuous authorities in 1894-1923, but also to the issue of reconsideration of the Russian-Turkish agreement ” Amity and brotherhood” of Moscow. And recently lots of Russian mass median touched upon the message of the deputies of State Duma V. Rashkin and S. Obukhev, who applied the
Russian president V. Putin and Foreign minister S. Lavrov, offering to refuse the Moscow agreement generally.
That means that Russia started to use the fact, that Ankara is vulnerable to political and historical contracts, which determined the borders of Caucasus. If the Russian-Turkish conflict continues, Russia will not only be able to cancel the Moscow” Amity and brotherhood” agreement, but also can induce the Republic of Armenia to abandon the implementation of the Treaty of Kars according to the Moscow contract. Exactly by the treaty of Kars the current borders of Turkey with the three Caucasus republics(the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Georgia, the Republic of Azerbaijan) were set. According to these two Moscow and Kars treaties the state of Kars and province of Surmalu (including Mount Ararat) were surrendered to Turkey, and Karabakh and Nakhichevan to Azerbijan. Should be noted that back in 2005, Georgia has unilaterally canceled the treaty of Kars. The problem is that the basis of Kars treaty are vulnerable. The agreement was signed by the Eastern Front Commander Kazim Karabekir on behalf of Turkish Grand National Assembly, in the case that the exclusive right to sign international treaties as stated in Ottoman constitution was only reserved for Sultan. The representative of the Republic of Armenia also signed an agreement under obvious pressure from Moscow contract. Previously the validity of contract has numerously been put under question. Still in June 7, 1945, Foreign Minister of Soviet Union Vyacheslav Molotov, on behalf of Georgia and Armenia requested the Kars provinces Ardahan and Artvin from Ankara. The same question raised in 1948 in the UN by Soviet Union’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky. Let us mention that in 2009 the main motive of the Turkish Republic to sign the “Armenian-Turkish protocols”, was to force the Republic of Armenia to ratify the Kars treaty and finally to solve the problem of borders between them.
According to experts, people of the Republic of Armenia understands, that the Republic of Armenia in it’s current situation can’t resist Russia’s attempts to involve Armenia in the Russian-Turkish conflict and maintain neutrality, even if that involvement contains real danger of clashes in the territory of Armenia. At the same time the people also understand, that there is a situation which give an opportunity to bring into agenda and solve a number of vital issues related to the future of Armenia, moreover to get the support of the military and political centers.
The tension in Russian-Turkish relations seem to deepen, as demonstrated by recent events in Syria. But actually it is the reflect to the Russia-West conflict, whereas both for Russia and the West the direct confrontation is not favorable. In the case of development of tension in Russian-Turkish relations into military conflicts, Russia must do everything to make inactive the 5th article (If one of the NATO member states is attacked, then all countries are exposed to attack) of NATO’s Washington treaty. And article will become inactive, if Turkey appears to be an aggressor and attacking. Thus, in order to avoid direct confrontation with the West, Russia should represent Turkey to the world exactly like that.
According to a lot of Armenian experts, hear Russia can mention the Armenian issue. The thing is, that till today the 28th president Woodrow Wilson’s legal judgment about ” The US president’s decision about the border between Armenia and Turkey, and the demobilization of Armenian exit to the sea and adjacent Turkish territories ” has not lost its legal power and still operates, which was made in responce to San Remo’s conference’s compromise in 1920th April 26 and based on the 89-90 peace articles of Sevr’s agreement in 1920th August 10. As for Wilson’s Arbitral Award, which is a document of law and function, Turkey is an aggressor and has occupied the territory of Armenia. That is, in this case there are legal grounds to speak about the fact that Turkey as an aggressor country must, for example, to withdraw its troops from Western Armenia.
In fact, some experts believe that the US has already worked out plans to split the Turkey. Even there are opinions that the destruction of the Russian plane was provoked and directed by the United States, so that Turkey to stand on a confrontation with Russia and, as a consequence, to come across of need to reckon with the fact of new legal situation. As for the Armenians, in the opinion of the mass, if the Republic of Armenia must become unwittingly the stage for the Russian-Turkish tensions and perhaps clashes and be threatened, then Armenians at least should try to win something in this situation and solve the issue of Western Armenia, Karabakh and Nakhichevan.
There are a number of circumstances, which contributes this attitude. First of all, the Kurdish issue has now become a priority in the region. Both Western and Russian press haven’t ever touched the question of establishing a Kurdish state so much as now. It is rumored both about already de jure wording of the Kurdish state, which is, de facto, existing in Iraq Kurdistan, and the inevitable creation of Kurdish state in Syria territory and inside Turkey. The military operations carried out by the Turkish authorities in recent weeks against the Kurds in the Kurdish regions of Turkey only aggravate already tense situation.
On December 23 in Moscow, the conversations between Turkish oppositionist, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party leader Selahettin Demirtash and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, one more time stressed Russia’s support for the main political line of Demirtash, “Reshape” of Turkey. Demirtash’s main idea is the creation of the “Anatolian Confederate Republic”, which will be divided into four main autonomies: Kurdish, Armenian, Greek and Turkish. In addition, it is envisaged that the “Confederate Republic of Anatolia” will have two state religions: Christianity and Islam, and four official languages: Armenian, Greek, Kurdish and Turkish. Demirtash also supports the recognition of the Armenian’s Genocide by Turkey and returning of territories and all property of Armenia, as well as the restoration of Armenian historical and cultural heritage.
But if Demirtash’s ideas don’t have enough legal basis, and rely only on the wishes, then the Kurdish factor combination with the possibilities of Armenians resided worldwide or currently residing the territory of Western Armenia, as well as their native lands and deported to Syria, Iraq, the Middle East, is acquiring a serious strategic advantage.
Let us note that the Armenians living in Turkey, which in recent decades gradually started not concealing their identity, (they were doing it for decades because of a caution) as well as the Diaspora, self-organized and even declared officially about the continuing state of Western Armenia, the state which was legally recognized by leading Western states (US, France, Germany, Great Britain and Russia) at the beginning of last century. They are also holding the political and legal processes associated with it, including in UN indigenous peoples’ rights protection expert format. Unlike Kurds and other nationalities living in the Republic of Turkey, Armenians have a strong package of political documents confirming their legal right to the territory of Western Armenia, and, since 2004, has formed the organizational structures, in order to bring into agenda and resolve the issue of Western Armenia. All this combined with the Kurdish factor can have a determinative role in the new political and legal processes of reshaped region.
A change has also occurred in the context of the Karabakh issue. Due to Russian-Turkish conflict the Azerbaijani-Turkish close relations have begun to work to the detriment of Russia-Azerbaijan relations. Russia could not remain indifferent to the clear pro-Turkish orientation of Azerbaijan, including the recently held meetings by the heads of Turkish states and the prospect of the creation of the new structure based on the idea of ethnic unity. This structure would been supervised by the Republic of Turkey. Meetings of the Turkish countries have been held in Nakhichevan too (the territory is very important hub in terms of the union of Turkish states, at the same time extremely weak for its affiliation of legal grounds ). In parallel, Aliyev regularly announced about “Western Azerbaijan”, that is, the territorial claims against Armenia of Azerbaijan Republic, which was also been done in the presence of Turkish states leaders, who don’t give any respond to such statements.
Naturally, such ambitions pose a threat to Russia, and also creates uncertainty to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Russian-Turkish relations escalation was followed by a visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Baku. Meanwhile, the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held at Prime Minister’s statement in the background that Turkey will do its best “to liberate the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.” Azerbaijan has once again confirmed its commitment to its “elder brother”, Turkey. Naturally, this also deepened already existing distrust in Russian-Azerbaijani relations. Russia, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group deals with the issue of the Karabakh conflict peaceful settlement, while Azerbaijan once again tries to draw Turkey into the process.
At the same time, Azerbaijan and Russia do not seem to want to raise tensions. This is evidenced by the statement of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko about the fact that within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union, Belarus will represent the interests of Azerbaijan. On the one hand it means that Azerbaijan is looking for intermediaries in relations with Russia, and Russia is trying to appease Azerbaijan, in terms of Russian-Turkish escalated relations.
At least in recent months, Russia is strengthening its military presence in Armenia, by placing a new air defense system on the Armenia-Turkey border. On the one hand, this ensures Armenia’s, as well as Artsakh’s defense, but on the other hand, can have a plunge into the cold war between the West and Russia, because Armenia’s geographical position is located in the NATO and CSTO frontline (after all, the conflict between Russia and Turkey is also aggravation between NATO and CSTO). Thus, Armenia, as a CSTO member is NATO’s Turkey immediate neighbor in case of tend warming (especially taking into consideration the Russian military base) could become one of the most central arena of conflict.
Because the maintenance of tension on the contact line of Karabakh was always beneficial to Azerbaijan, and exactly Azerbaijan was always initiated ceasefire violations, the recent slight weakening of the Karabakh-Azerbaijani border might be due to the tension in Russian-Turkish relations, which is a deterring factor for Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan understands that another border provocation can be followed by a more powerful response from Armenian side, encouraged by its strategic partner Russia. As a result, Azerbaijan will incur substantial losses, as it was in the 90s.
Thus, the status quo is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, undertaken with the Karabakh issue, and now is not realistic to talk about transfer of territories around Karabakh.
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