What do you think of Azerbaijan 1

Geopolitics can quickly turn into domestic politics


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This is about geopolitical influence, and amazing alliances have recently been formed in the region. Because even more important than Turkish military aid for the armament of Azerbaijan in the past few years were arms deliveries from Israel. According to the Stockholm conflict research institute Sipri, 60 percent of Azerbaijan's arms imports come from there. The fact that Israel supplies a secular state with a Shiite population, which in turn is also supported by Turkey, with which Israel has had a rather tense relationship for some time, shows how complicated the situation is in the Caucasus. Iran, also Shiite, views the whole thing with great suspicion. The Israeli newspaper wrote about the alleged motives of Israel Haaretz, Azerbaijan is the back door that they want to keep open for intelligence operations against Iran. Israel is also getting oil from Azerbaijan - arms for oil, a proven model.

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The interests of Israel, Iran, Turkey and Russia collide in the southern Caucasus. During the rapid upheavals and shifts in power in the Middle East, Moscow and Ankara have developed a strategic partnership - and, like Iran, often stand against the West. But they are also increasingly becoming competitors. This was most recently seen in northern Syria and Libya. And now also in the Caucasus.

However, Russia finds itself here in an unfamiliar role. In the Middle East and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has deliberately fueled conflicts in order to protect or expand his sphere of influence. Not so in the Caucasus: Moscow is well aware of the enormous explosive power of the conflicts there. Russia is therefore talking to both sides and trying to de-escalate. Putin is acting cautiously. He is not used to being unable to control a conflict. The Russian military maintains two bases with at least 3,500 soldiers in Armenia and has formed a defense alliance with the country. At the same time, Moscow is also supplying arms to Azerbaijan. Although Russia has closely tied Armenia to itself, it is careful not to lose the resource-rich Azerbaijan as a result.

Putin's relationship with Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is distant, not least because he came to power in a pro-democratic revolution in 2018, which Putin does not appreciate. He shares a tendency towards authoritarianism with the Azerbaijani Ilcham Aliyev, but is also annoyed by his peculiarities as ruler of the resource-rich country on the Caspian Sea. Putin didn't really warm up to either of the two heads of state. He would only intervene militarily if not only Nagorno-Karabakh but Armenia itself were threatened. Otherwise he wants the fighting to end.

Together with France and the USA, Russia is one of the chairmen of the so-called Minsk Group of the OSCE. These powers have been trying to resolve the conflict since 1992. With little success. And little western interest. The French leave it with declarations of solidarity for Armenia. The US has turned its back on the region as a force for order and has left a void that others are now pushing into. For example Erdo─čan.

In Turkey, the Armenian minority is in dire straits

This war can also pose a threat to immigration societies in Europe. Geopolitics can quickly turn into domestic politics. That is the reason why the Turkish president soaks up any potential conflict and rhetorically cannibalizes it at home in front of his supporters: "Ey, Europe! Ey, Germany! What do you think you are?" - that's how it sounded.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an issue wherever there are large Armenian and Turkish communities. And the better integrated and organized these are, the more influential they are likely to be on political decision-makers and the more likely the stress level for societies is likely to rise. France has one of the largest Armenian communities in the world with around half a million people, they are descendants of the Armenians who fled the mass murders from the Ottoman Empire. They see themselves as French - and they are visible: Charles Aznavour, the chansonnier, was just as Armenian as the former Formula 1 racing driver Alain Prost. France recognized the Armenian massacre as genocide back in 2001. That explains why President Emmanuel Macron is on Armenia's side.

Germany only passed a Bundestag resolution on genocide in 2016. About three million people of Turkish origin live in Germany; many felt the resolution at the time as a kind of interference in the internal affairs of their country of origin and were indignant about it. The atmosphere was poisoned for weeks. Can the "Turks abroad" now be mobilized again for disputes that their country of origin is waging? Because the Azerbaijanis are supposedly "brothers"?

In Turkey, at any rate, this assertion puts the Armenians in distress. Around 70,000 still live there today, most of them in Istanbul. A minority who are very vulnerable, especially these days. According to a study by the Hrant Dink Foundation, named after the Turkish-Armenian journalist who was murdered in Istanbul in 2007, Armenians in Turkey are most affected by hate speech in the media. The Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper published in Istanbul Agos recently wrote: "The majority of Turks have no idea about Azerbaijan, know nothing about its population, history or culture. Only when there is war again, they will see them on television. But still no Turk has any doubts about the deep friendship. " Meanwhile, one has lived with the Armenians for centuries and has known them. But it is precisely up close that the strangeness has grown - and the hatred. A bane of the whole region. That can quickly lead to the next disaster.