Categories: Politics

Erdogan to Armenia: don’t miss this “historic opportunity” for peace

Türkiye has declared its full support for a peace agreement to be signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The latest chapter in this intense diplomatic process, which involved Türkiye and some European countries including Germany, came on February 19 when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Ankara. (Photo: Presidency)

Türkiye has declared its full support for a peace agreement to be signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The latest chapter in this intense diplomatic process, which involved Türkiye and some European countries including Germany, came on February 19 when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Ankara.

“The signing of a lasting peace agreement between the two Caucasian countries will undoubtedly be a new source of hope for peace, tranquility, and stability in the region and the world,” Erdoğan said, emphasizing the importance of this moment.

“With the end of the occupation in Karabakh, a historic window of opportunity has opened for lasting peace in our region. It is very important that this window of opportunity does not close. I believe that Armenia should evaluate this process with a long-term thinking and strategic perspective. We invite third parties to contribute constructively to the process instead of poisoning it,” he added.

Behind-the-scenes diplomacy for Armenia and Azerbaijan

While expressing his support for the potential peace agreement, Erdoğan also emphasized that Türkiye has been “standing shoulder to shoulder” with Azerbaijan throughout this process. However, his words also carried a message encouraging Azerbaijan to compromise.

After all, just a few hours before Erdoğan and Aliyev’s press conference, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ayhan Hajizade reminded Yerevan of a constitutional article. The Armenian Constitution still recognizes Karabakh, which was occupied by the Armenian army in 1993 and retaken by the Azerbaijani army in late 2020, as Armenian territory.

Germany’s role and Paşinyan’s difficult position

On February 17, two days before his meeting with Erdoğan in Ankara, Aliyev met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan through the mediation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Munich Security Conference. It was clear that at least one of the “third parties” Erdoğan referred to was Germany. Aliyev had also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Munich the day before. In other words, coordination between Ankara and Baku continued.

It was clear that Pashinyan was not pleased by Aliyev’s emphasis on the “need to determine borders” during the meeting with Scholz, which resulted in a decision to “continue the talks.”

On the one hand, the Russia-Ukraine war, on the other hand, the Gaza Crisis and the fact that Western governments, led by the US, have focused their diplomatic weight on supporting Israel, have prevented Yerevan from gaining the support it hoped for against Baku.

In addition, the Pashinyan administration’s recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, which issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 1, apparently at the urging of Washington and Paris, drew Moscow’s ire.

The Zangezur Corridor and the US Elections

In a speech on February 2 on Armenian State Radio, Pashinyan said that his country could “no longer rely on Russia (on which it is more than 95 percent dependent) for its defense needs” and that it needed to form a new security alliance with the US, France, India, and Georgia against the Azerbaijani threat.

Russia responded by declaring that Armenia’s stance would further deteriorate relations between the two countries.
After meeting with Aliyev, Pashinyan spoke to the Armenian community in Germany in Munich and touched on another sensitive issue, the Zangezur corridor planned between Türkiye and Azerbaijan. He said that this issue was not included in the 2020 tripartite statement between Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

Azerbaijan’s advantages and the way forward

Pashinyan is clearly hoping for the help of the influential Armenian lobby and diaspora groups in the US ahead of the US presidential election on November 5, 2024. However, as the saying goes, “counted days pass quickly.” It is clear that Armenia’s hand against Azerbaijan will be further weakened after the US election excitement passes, and now that it has also jeopardized its alliance with Russia.

Azerbaijan, on the other hand, is making good use of its geographical advantages, primarily its oil and its proximity to Iran. Yes, Armenia is also neighboring Iran, via the Zangezur corridor, and Iran and Armenia have close ties, but it is questionable how happy the US is about this.

It is clear that improving its relations with both Azerbaijan and Türkiye would be in Armenia’s political and economic interests. If Pashinyan and his supporters show this will and use the current opportunity, it is clear that Türkiye, which is in constant contact with Azerbaijan, will also use its influence towards a peace agreement.

Murat Yetkin

Journalist-Writer

Recent Posts

WB on Turkish inflation: patience is hard but the alternative is worse

The World Bank has been on the agenda in Türkiye for two reasons nowadays. First,…

1 day ago

Behind Ankara’s silence: Türkiye’s cautious response to Iran’s attack on Israel

Ankara's response to Iran's airstrike against Israel on the night of April 13 was notably…

4 days ago

Will Turkish economic policies shift post-election?

The March 31 local elections in Türkiye marked the most severe defeat for the incumbent…

4 days ago

Unpacking Erdoğan’s reply to Özel’s dialogue offer

As promised, Türkiye's main opposition CHP's Chairman Özgür Özel dialed President Tayyip Erdoğan on the…

1 week ago

Türkiye impose trade restrictions to Israel upon public pressure

Public pressure has compelled President Tayyip Erdoğan's cabinet to take action on another front. The…

1 week ago

The CHP’s electoral success and Türkiye’s new era

The disarray following the CHP's electoral victory is not only evident in previously AK Party-held…

2 weeks ago