A new possible stage in the war: a land line between Turkey and Azerbaijan!

It’s seems obvious that, the Nagorno Karabakh crisis is not going to be solved any time soon, at least peacefully. 

However, the facts on the ground revealing a lot.

Azerbaijan announced the advancement of its forces in seven axes along the front with Nagorno Karabakh, and the most important thing was to regain the Jebrayel and Fazuli regions adjacent to Iran, as well as some other areas.

The former head of the Turkish army’s intelligence service, Ismail Hakki, says that the advancement of Azerbaijani forces in Karabakh, reaching the siege of the capital, Stepanakard, Shushi, and other areas, will require a strong Russian intervention in the form of a request for international observation forces, with Turkey being among them. 

In context, Turkish “Yeni Safak” newspaper, which is close to the “Justice and Development” party, revealed another aspect of the ongoing war: the existence of an Azerbaijani-Turkish military plan for control of all Armenian regions south of Karabakh and the connection between Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Province (separate Azerbaijani region) and which connects to Turkey by land within a length of eight kilometers.

This means, if this happens, first of all, that Azerbaijan regained the lands that Armenia controlled in the early 1990s, bordering Iran, and the original Armenian lands latter, which separate the borders of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan province, were added to it. 

After Baku was forced to reach Nakhchivan, passing through Iranian territory, if the plan succeeded, it would have reached Nakhchivan and Azerbaijan by land for the first time.

But, secondly, this means that Azerbaijan will occupy part of the Armenian lands, to turn from being a victim of occupation into an occupying power. 

Thirdly, it means that for the first time, there will be a direct land line with Turkey – through Nakhchivan and Armenian occupied territory – to Azerbaijan, which means that Turkish supplies to Azerbaijan will not be forced to arrive by air, but directly via land.

This step has strategic dimensions, especially if it turns into a permanent Azerbaijani occupation of this part of Armenia, as it will separate the latter from Iran, which the media of the “Justice and Development” party, especially the editor of “Yeni Shafak” Ibrahim Karagul, accuse of having turned into a source of arms supply to the Armenians via trucks crossing the border daily. 

Fourth, Baku will be able to have an additional bargaining power for the future of Nagorno Karabakh.

Such Azerbaijani-Turkish ambitions are not easy and without many obstacles. 

In the forefront of which is the fierce resistance of the Armenian forces in response to the Turkish-backed offensive of Azerbaijan, as the field data talk about repelling the attacks of the Azerbaijani forces, especially at the Khodaverin Dam close to the Iranian border and trapping its soldiers and killing dozens of them.

However, this recent information is not final, and it’s not countable.

Also, such a strategic variable would be subject to Russian and Iranian objection. 

The retired Turkish colonel, Onal Atapay, believes that Azerbaijan should restore Karabakh to its strategic location as well as its wealth, especially the area to the north of the city of Shushi, as well as Mount Morov, that rich of gold.

On the political level, developments witnessed an increase in the level of mutual criticism between the parties concerned with the crisis. 

The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, did not reach his goal of having a political role at the negotiating table. 

Against this background, he responded by affirming the “liberation” of the occupied Azerbaijani lands until the end, and by welcoming the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, who visited Ankara last week with exceptional hospitality, and his assertion that his country did not and will not recognize the annexation of Crimea to Russia, because it is a violation of international law, in support of the Crimean Tatars.

Likewise, Erdogan once again raised the level of tension in the eastern Mediterranean by sending the ship “Oruc Reis” to a new area for exploration within the exclusive economic zone that Greece says it belongs to.

This led to the cancellation of the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, whose country was keen on Keeping bridges with Turkey in the past, his visit to Ankara.

For its part, Washington responded to Turkey’s field test of S-400 missiles in the Sinop region last week, by escalating the rhetoric about Ankara’s role in pricing the war against Armenia. 

In the same context, a group of representatives in the US House of Representatives, including the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Elliot Engel, called for the imposition of more sanctions on Turkey because of the S-400 system and the war in the Caucasus.

The letter sent by the deputies to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that Washington should exert more pressure to make Turkey more committed to the “North Atlantic” axis and more respectful of democracy.

Greek newspapers revealed that Athens would respond to the Turkish missile test by conducting a second test of the S-300 missile system owned by Greece.

The first experiment took place seven years ago, on December 13, 2013, in Crete, while a source in the leadership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization told the Greek newspaper, Katimirini, that this procedure is a bad thing, and it is important for Turkey to turn to its other allies to search for solutions.

The source reminded that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed during his meeting with Erdogan on the fifth of this month, NATO’s concern about the consequences of the S-400 deal.

He believed that the S-400 system poses a serious threat to the aircraft system of the Allies in the alliance. 

This is a Turkish sovereign decision, but that system cannot be compatible with NATO’s air and missile defense system.

Erdogan was not late in responding, accusing the United States of supplying arms to Armenia, as Russia and France are, and they are the “Minsk Group” trio for resolving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

With the rams continuing in the Caucasus, Erdogan continues to strengthen his cards against his opponents and reassure the Turkish public opinion of the durability of his country’s position, despite the economic pressures on the Turkish lira, including his announcement of the discovery of new fields of natural gas in the Black Sea, and his strong support for his candidate in the Turkish Cypriot presidential elections, that took place last Sunday.

Although no one recognized the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus except Turkey, developments are taking place in it as if secession is its final status.

Regardless of the positions that some Turkish Cyprus officials may take, it remains fully linked to Ankara, being its only outlet by air and sea.

However, any criticism of the Turkish president by some would not have swallowed him up. 

Including that, what the outgoing President Mustafa Akanji was saying about some of Erdogan’s stances, such as his description of the “Peace Spring” operation in Syria as the “Blood Spring” process, and his criticism of the Turkish interference in the internal affairs of Turkish Northern Cyprus.

Hence, the presidential elections that took place between the independent Akanji and his prime minister, the head of the National Unity Party, Arsen Tatar, were fateful to Erdogan, who worked hard to bring down the former president.

Indeed, last Sunday, Tatars won the second round of elections by only five thousand votes, winning 51.69% of the vote (67,000), while Akanji won 48.31% (62,000). 

The participation rate was 67.29% of the total of 199,000 registered voters and 29 voters.

Arsin Tatar became the fifth president of Turkish Cyprus since declaring its independence in 1983, after Rauf Denktash, Muhammad Ali Talaat, Darwish Eroglu and Mustafa Akanji.

The term of office is five years. Immediately, Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called Tatar and congratulated him on the victory.

By dislodging Akanji from his path, Erdogan was able to fortify his position in Turkish Cyprus in the face of his opponents in the eastern Mediterranean at a delicate stage that the region is going through.