|TURKISH INITIATIVE: BLUFF OR REAL POLITICS?|
|Wednesday, 29 August 2012 15:56|
Due to the summer vacations’ season, a kind of "dead season" has reigned in the world of politics. But, as life in general and, in particular, the political one cannot stand still at all, this calm is disturbed by some political event or statement attracting certain attention. The latter, perhaps, can include also the proposal of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu on the organization, in Istanbul, of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which he made within the August 23 Summit of the Council of Turkic-speaking States’ Cooperation held in Bishkek.
Surely, Turkey as a regional power has always played a prominent role in the South Caucasus. Moreover, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which led to serious geopolitical changes and emergence of a completely new situation, Ankara intensified its foreign policy in order to strengthen its role as an influential regional player. Let us remember, in particular, the initiative of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on the creation of an alliance - "Platform of Stability and Cooperation in the Caucasus", which, as expected, in addition to Turkey, would include Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. Let’s recall that it was launched on August 12, 2008, that is, immediately after the military phase of the crisis in the South Caucasus caused by the Russian-Georgian war. Frankly, it was already clear that the Turkish initiative would be dead in its tracks, as deep confrontations existed between the member-states of the expected alliance (between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia and Georgia), which would hardly allow enabling the peacekeeping potential of the "Platform" members. Life has confirmed the validity of such a forecast - today, exactly four years later, the noted initiative of Ankara has been successfully forgotten.
How real is the realization of Ankara's new initiative? Let’s say at once - in search of an answer to this question it is extremely difficult to get rid of skepticism. Here is why. Davutoglu’s proposal cannot be taken seriously, especially because Turkey, by definition, cannot be an impartial and objective mediator in the Karabakh settlement process. It is Turkey that in tandem with Azerbaijan exerted and continues to exert efforts to isolate Armenia, initiating and implementing regional and international economic projects without its participation. It is Turkey that still continues to blockade Armenia and keeps close the border with it, which is qualified as an element of military operations by international law. It is Turkey that in the period of Azerbaijan’s armed aggression against the NKR provided it with military-technical assistance and today, continues to openly take a pro-Azerbaijani position in the process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. Moreover, Ankara has never concealed its alliance with Baku, which is legally documented today. President Abdullah Gul stated directly: "We always stand for Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s problem is my problem. There cannot be any other option”.
Let’s note after the President of Turkey that there cannot be any mediation by Ankara. However, the author of the initiative Davutoglu is also well aware of it. With the above mentioned luggage of grave sins (we cannot do without euphemisms - frank crimes), it is unreal to claim to be a peace-loving dove. What, then, Ankara expects and what are the true motives of its mediation?
Surely, it is naive to believe that by offering such an initiative, Turkey was filled with purely pacifist ideas and concern for peace and stability in the region. Such, if I may say so, diplomatic activity is, above all, conditioned by own interests. And they are that, first of all, to demonstrate to the international community its tolerance and willingness to act as a fair peacemaker, expecting to gain political dividends from its initiative. Second, it expects to earn the reputation of a regional leader able to solve international problems. Third, putting forward, in fact, a claim to the competence of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship, under the aegis of which the Karabakh settlement process is going on, Turkey is again trying to squeeze into the format of negotiations in order to influence the process and to achieve the desired outcome for itself and Azerbaijan in the conflict resolution. Besides, it tries to accuse indirectly the Minsk Group of the mediation disability, which Ankara and Baku have repeatedly done, and tries to bring down the tendency of international support for the self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Alas, Turkey, with its Bishkek initiative, will inevitably be disappointed. Authoritative international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union and others, pointed directly to the inevitability of the OSCE Minsk Group, the format of which will not be changed in the nearest future, even if Ankara and Baku wish this. And Armenia itself will hardly respond positively to the proposal of the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs. Surely, Turkey also understands this, and hence its initiative on Ankara’s hypothetical mediation is open bluff, which has nothing to do with real politics.
Editor-in-Chief of Azat Artsakh newspaper
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