Editor’s Observe: This short article was initially released in German at Nachdenkseiten.
The Armenian claim to Nagorno-Karabakh
The Armenians, who shed 90% of their settlement area to Turkey right after the genocide of 1915-1922, have a suitable to shield the little land in the Reduced Caucasus that they continue to have left. This involves Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been inhabited by Armenians given that 2,500 decades ago, when the Turks rode by means of the steppes of Central Asia as nomads and the Germans lived in primitive wooden huts.
The superb monasteries in this landscape are eloquent testimony to the ancient Armenian historical past. Contrary to in Kosovo or in the neighboring Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan, no substantial ethnic shifts in favor of the Turkish or Muslim side have happened in Nagorno-Karabakh in excess of the generations.
From the standpoint of intercontinental regulation, the preliminary interval of the Karabakh conflict is not that of the disintegration of the Soviet Union all around 1990, resulting in massacres (as in 1915-1917, primarily of Armenians), the Nagorno-Karabakh War (resulting in a significant selection of displaced people on both equally sides), and the declaration of independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, but alternatively the early 1920s, and specifically 1923. The annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan in that yr was pushed ahead by the then-Commissioner for the Nationalities of the Soviet Union, the Georgian Josef Vissarionovich Stalin.
Among Stalin’s motives were doubtful promises as perfectly as unfair treaties with Turkey, with which Moscow had by now betrayed the Armenians since the Armenian-Turkish war of 1920 in the aftermath of the German-imposed peace of Brest-Litovsk in 1917, and his calculation that both of those republics and the peoples of Armenians and Azeris, ethnic Turks, would fight versus each other forever through the unresolved conflict, so producing it simpler for Moscow to govern. This strategy of divide-and-rule by attaching personal territories to the states of their mortal enemies had also been pursued in other places in the Soviet Union, as in the circumstance of Ossetia, which had declared independence from Ga in 1920, or in the Fergana Valley with the Uzbek-populated metropolis of Osh, which was annexed to Kyrgyzstan.
For Azerbaijan, the Stalinist annexation of 1923 cannot give rise to any assert underneath international regulation to the Armenian-populated territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azeris who had been pushed out of the semi-military villages close to the Armenian mountainous area all through the Nagorno-Karabakh War, which have been crafted just after 1923, obviously do have a proper to return. Also, an exchange of territory not belonging to Nagorno-Karabakh, which was occupied by Armenians, is rightly the matter of negotiations concerning Azerbaijan and Armenia. But a reintegration of Nagorno-Karabakh into the state of Azerbaijan can’t be a issue of debate from the viewpoint of worldwide law.
The position of the West
So why does the West, whose governments are dominated by legal professionals, not recognize the crystal clear lawful position in favor of the Armenian declare around Nagorno-Karabakh and defend a Stalinist injustice?
The solution, as just about usually when intercontinental law is damaged without the need of hesitation, is geopolitics: the political predicament that arose from the secession of Nagorno-Karabakh is now getting utilised by Washington and London, as very well as their followers in Berlin, to maintain the conflicts in the Caucasus in standard boiling and to assault Moscow via its proxies in Ankara and Baku. The economic issue is oil and gas pipelines north and south of the Larger Caucasus. It is about the great east-west geopolitical axis that runs as a result of Tbilisi and Baku in the middle of Halford Mackinder’s heartland of geopolitics, to Central Asia, and intersects in the Caucasus with the north-south axis among Moscow, Tehran and Baghdad.
Any strengthening of Armenia, no issue how smaller and insignificant the territorial alterations, is in the way, even if the latest president in Yerevan stands for a political rapprochement of the place to the West. Whoever drives the few kilometers from there to the beautiful monastery of Khor Virap stands in the middle of this geopolitical conflict on a border in between Armenia and Turkey, which is additional impenetrable than the inner-German border of 1961-1989 ever was—with orders to shoot, but with no any border targeted visitors and with mutual full blockade. The Armenians can only appear longingly at their holy mountain, Ararat, or further north at their outdated capital Ani, both equally of which are on Turkish territory—they can’t go there. That this is and stays so is politically sought after in the West.
I can confirm this personally due to the fact I know the mind-set first-hand, in particular from London circles. A 10 years in the past, immediately after the Kosovo war, which led to a consequence not acknowledged by Serbia, I wrote a commentary in which I proposed a ‘Kosovo-Karabakh trade,’ i.e. a reconciliation of pursuits between the Turkish Muslim and Slavic Orthodox sides, prolonged to the non-Slavic locations of the Caucasus, by way of the trade of disputed places in several spots. Such exchanges, with the goal of a lasting peace, have a very long diplomatic tradition. They are an financial requirement for the international locations concerned. Serbia and Kosovo have now comprehended this and in the past several several years, 15 decades just after the war, have produced terrific strides in negotiations on the exchange of territories.
The answer, which arrived at that time from the London journal The Economist, which can be known as without the need of offense the mouthpiece of the British govt and its geopoliticians in the army and top secret products and services, was an post that can be summarized in a single phrase: NO. It was composed by an editor who comes from a high-ranking British military services relatives and who also individually educated me of his rejection. And the latest response from NATO and the EU to the highly developed negotiations with Serbia and Kosovo is, as we know, also a NO.
So the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict could have been fixed a long time ago by easy diplomatic implies, which Prince Bismarck currently mastered at the Berlin Meeting of 1878 that partitioned the Balkans. But there is obviously no desire in the West in earning this possible. The victims are the persons in Armenia and Azerbaijan, who are inundated with phony ‘mediation’ formats this sort of as the Minsk Group which do not make true peace answers, and who go on to be betrayed in the backrooms with arms discounts and political alliances that instigate tensions as a substitute of building peace. This goes as considerably as the absurdity that Israel, the nation in which the survivors of the Holocaust found a dwelling, is now the most important supplier of weapons to Azerbaijan, which makes use of these weapons to attack the Armenian survivors of one more genocide.
The abuse of Turkey
Turkey, which is coordinating Azerbaijan’s assaults on Armenian Karabakh’s territory militarily and thus actively intervening because the Azerbaijani army experienced proved incapable in the past and experienced always been overwhelmed by the Armenians, is after all over again an aggressor in the recent disaster. It ought to not be overlooked however that the glowing nationalism and earlier mentioned all Islamism that drives Turkish President Erdogan to attack Christian Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh is the outcome of a geopolitical calculation. The aggressors act from the track record.
Even in advance of the founding of Israel in 1948, the colonial ability Britain experienced correctly divided the Arab earth, which was on a training course of socialism and pan-Arabism, by creating the extremist Wahabi Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1924. This was followed by the American-backed seizure of electric power by the Islamist armed forces ruler Zia ul-Haq in 1978 in Pakistan as the japanese cornerstone of Islamism in the location. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan then jointly released the assault planned by the U.S. and Britain on the Central Asian geopolitical heartland of Afghanistan, plunging the state into what is now a 40-12 months civil war.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia experienced also supported the West in the conflicts more than the oil and fuel pipeline routes in the Caucasus, especially in the Chechen wars of the 1990s, which were aimed at disintegrating Russia. In this conflict, a youthful Turkish Islamist named Recep Tayyip Erdogan also attained his first spurs as a servant of Western pursuits. The transformation of secular, Kemalist Turkey by Erdogan and his AKP social gathering into an ever more radical Islamic republic because 2003, which is waging war or threatening war against virtually all its neighboring states, is no coincidence in see of its predecessors Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It is the outcome of clever geostrategic scheduling. Mark Curtis has explained this at first British technique of building Islamism, which goes back again to the 19th century, in detail and knowledgeably in an great e-book.
Very little is a lot less in Turkey’s national curiosity than to continue to pursue exactly what it is executing under Erdogan with its neighbors, from Syria to Iraq and Armenia. The last detail a rationally governed Ankara will want is another ethnic cleansing of still much more Armenians just after a ‘successful’ attack on Nagorno-Karabakh. The attacks on the towns in northern Syria—inhabited by, amid other folks, refugees of the Armenian genocide of 1915—since 2011 by Islamist terrorist groups, with the consequence of hefty losses in the civilian inhabitants, have currently massively ruined Turkey’s reputation in the Arab earth and the greater educated areas of the West.
For instance, Saudi Arabia’s present financial sanctions from Turkey are not only similar to the conflict above the murder of Jamal Kashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, but also to Turkey’s continuing profession of Arab land in Syria. The United Arab Emirates have also taken a clear position towards Turkey. Equally international locations have turned in opposition to Islamism not long ago. In the Arab nations, the interests of Armenians and other peoples in conflict with Turkey, who have been generously obtained as refugees in nations around the world like Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan in the previous, are viewed with sympathy.
To be fair, it need to be mentioned that Turkey was incited by the West to support Islamist terror in the Syrian war. In the conclude, having said that, Ankara will have to confess that it has been lured into a trap: that of permanently destroying relations with its neighboring nations around the world and diminishing its purpose in a region the place Turkey could have the likely to develop into a central financial and regulatory electrical power.
A repetition of Syria’s activities in Armenia should hence be prevented for Turkey at all costs. The implications of ethnic cleansing of the Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh for the country’s status would be distinctive from the activities in Syria, which have been swept beneath the carpet by the Western media. They would be devastating and would very last for generations. Not only the door to the Arab world, but also the door to Europe would be shut for great.
Economic sanction actions would be one consequence that could really properly ruin a Turkish financial state currently in deep disaster. The German political place on such steps, whichever the present-day geopolitical footnotes of Washington and London’s Chancellor Merkel may perhaps at present say, would in this case, below the pressure of general public opinion, shift in direction of that of France, which has built its placement on the safety of the stays of the Armenian lands unmistakably crystal clear.
The dilemma for Turkey is thus whether or not it wants to continue to stand with people who want to continue the Karabakh conflict in purchase to additional destabilize the Caucasus and attack Russia, or irrespective of whether it desires to solve the conflict in order to lead to the enhancement of the Caucasus area and build superior relations with all its neighbors, thus strengthening its possess possibly foremost purpose in the wider Center East location.
As issues stand now, the best possibility for Turkey, and for peace in the entire location, is to retain the West, which would seem eternally caught up in geopolitical power online games, out of the conflict above Karabakh as a lot as achievable and to find a popular resolution with Russia based on a affordable interpretation of international legislation. International Minister Lavrov, possibly the ideal international minister of his era, a half-Armenian, seems to me to be a good get in touch with human being here. Regardless of whether he will be so with or with out the servant of the West, Erdogan, is the significant concern. No matter, these types of a regional solution would unquestionably be in Turkey’s greatest national desire.
Hans-Joachim Duebel is a previous Globe Lender personnel who has labored as a housing and money sector professional for 25 several years with equally Turkey and Armenia, as properly as in each and every nation about Turkey, the Balkans, the whole Middle East and Central Asia.