Last few days the citizens of at least three south Caucuses Republics - Armenia, NKR and Azerbaijan - attentively followed events in Moscow and Yerevan. "Cross” and "parallel” visits: Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Yerevan and Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan in Moscow left no doubts – along with energy issues, as well as problems of establishing relations between Yerevan and Ankara, sides are intended to discuss Nagorno- Karabakh’s problem. It had been discussed also before these visits, but word of politicians, as we know; often words with deeds. So, on "the agenda” there were several issues, including the joint Russian- Turkish energy projects and the problem of opening Armenian- Turkish border.
Since the day of the preliminary signing of the Armenian- Turkish protocols, official Ankara is not tired to repeat, that the ratification of protocols is impossible without a "return” to Azerbaijan of "occupied” by NKR regions, which were not part of Armenian autonomy during the Soviet years. And although no one left in doubt that these statements are made under strict pressure of Baku to a large extent, for the gratification of Azerbaijan, it is clear that Turkey itself was not averse to implement this requirement. On the other hand, it was clear that Turkey, the same as on fall of the 1918, is ready to ignore the interests of Azerbaijan for its own benefits. Slogans – are the slogans, but self before all.
However, Erdogan in Moscow, most likely, raised question of territorial concessions of the Nagorno- Karabakh Republic to Azerbaijan. At that followed rigorous unambiguous answer, Prime Minister of Russia V. Putin: "From tactical and strategic perspective to connect 2 of these problems (Nagorno-Karabakh and the opening of Armenian- Turkish border- L.M.-Sh.) would be inappropriate”. Further Putin explained his point of view, adding that each of these problems is a complex itself, and if you throw them in one pile, then the prospect of their decision will be automatically postponed indefinitely. Then Putin again referred to Russia’s interest in regulating of Armenian- Turkish relations.
Why this strict and categorical response, deprived of hopes both as Ankara and Baku did sounded precisely at the joint press conference, the Prime Ministers of Russia and Turkey, rather than during a personal meeting? Answer assumes one of two: either Russia warned Azerbaijan from the ill-considered "gestures” or more likely, there was an agreement between Prime Ministers.
In fact, the problem of Armenian- Turkish border and energy cooperation with Russia, considerably more important for Turkey than the issue of territorial disputes between NKR and Azerbaijan. However, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (PRS) is indeed experiencing some discomfort from subversive propaganda activities of Azerbaijan on "Turkish field”. In this case it is necessary to emphasize that Azerbaijan "works” both with the oppositional parties of Turkey and against Kurdish rebels. Such activity of Baku is a threat not only for the led by Prime Minister Erdogan and by the President Gul Turkey’s ruling party, but actually for Turkish state.
Turkey was indeed in a difficult situation. For twenty years it has maintained active internal and external propaganda, directed toward the protection of the interests of "brotherly” Azerbaijani people, thereby unwittingly "plunging” Nagorno- Karabakh problem in the orbit of Turkish internal political squabbles. And today Erdogan practically doesn’t have possibility of self aloof from this problem without having a doubt of PRS remaining in force. Then it is not completely excluded the situation, when Erdogan didn’t find an ally in the issue of NKR in Russia and he asked V. Putin to record the position of Moscow at the press conference.
Such decision may be the only honorable way out of this situation for Erdogan. Now Erdogan obtained the possibility to talk in Turkey about firm stance of the Kremlin, at the same time Moscow is ready to cooperate with Ankara in the economic field and the ingratitude of Baku which considerably increased prices for natural gas sold to Turkey. The substitution of foreign policy issues of domestic economic problems has always been an effective tool for solving domestic political problems. Moreover, all of the planned joint Russian- Turkish economic programs have been confirmed during the visit of Erdogan to Moscow. It is worthwhile to add the understanding about the fast cancellation of the visa regime between Turkey and Russia. The cancellation of this exact regime between "fraternal” Turkey and Azerbaijan still not agreed. Putin’s statement is unconditionally serious help for Erdogan in the ratification issue in the Turkish Parliament of the Armenian- Turkish protocols, which also points to a possible agreement with Putin.
To a possible agreement between Moscow and Ankara also points ambiguous and in some sense even not-diplomatic statements of Russia’s Foreign Minister S. Lavrov in Yerevan. And if one of them - "we do not see connection between the process of normalization Armenian- Turkish relations and the Karabakh regulating” - practically repeated the expression of Putin, and it was hardly unexpected, then the second statement of Lavrov put points above several i. "Opinion of Nagorno-Karabakh people should be taken into the account for the final decision of a question and with the final draft of the document, it is simply impossible without it…”, said Sergey Lavrov. And although at the end this sentence he added, "… at least, it is obvious for me”, whatever is "obvious” for the Minister of Foreign Affairs of any state is "obvious” to his government, as we know.
Recall, for the better understanding of this Lavrov’s statement that during Lavrov’s visit to Yerevan, Defense Minister of Armenia S. Ohanyan visited Moscow. We also recall the recent statements of OSCE secretariat on the increasingly frequent official Baku’s bellicose statements. And during this day absolutely not randomly conducted press conference of NKR Defense Minister M. Akopyan who stated: "peace in our region remains exclusively due to the power of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s Defense Army”.
Baku loses one after the other its potential allies and it is in an unenviable position. Until recently Azerbaijan organized agitation around the financial assistance allocated by the US Congress to Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Failing to get any results Baku has taken several steps to demonstrate the possibility of changing its foreign policy from west to east. In particular, Azerbaijan declared its readiness to sell gas to Russia; it aggravated the problem of building conceived by the West plan to build the "Nabucco” gas pipeline”.
However, now Russia has declared its readiness to contribute to the solution of Nagorno- Karabakh conflict taking into account the interests of both Armenians and the Azerbaijanis. In Baku they should understand well what this statement means "the interests of two sides”. And, nevertheless, S. Lavrov, for greater clarity explained it in Yerevan. Responding to a reporter’s question whether Russia can put its energy questions with Turkey, above the rights of Nagorno Karabakh’s Republic people, Lavrov answered: "No, it can’t”. It is hard to imagine clearer answer and clearer signal for Baku.
Azerbaijan, for more than two decades tried to find an ally; finally drove itself into the political blind alley. Azerbaijan has troubles, because it doesn’t want to recognize the fact of presence on the South Caucasus map state called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, all these years Baku was in search of allies against Armenian states. Practically the only criterion for having allied relations with Baku was partner agreement on "strong condemnation of Armenian aggression”. Practice shows that flawed strategy begins to falter. Flexible and open policy of Yerevan and Stepanakert appears considerably more attractive than full of bile and hatred ideology of Baku.
P.S. One of the Azerbaijani newspaper published report on the meeting of V. Putin with R. Erdogan under the headline "Putin broke all Erdogan’s expectations about possible and fast solution of Armenian- Azerbaijani conflict”. Baku still doesn’t want to understand that there were broken not Erdogan's hopes but reactionary and revenge plans of Azerbaijan.