South Front

The Second Nagorno-Karabakh war ended, but the hard times for the Armenians do not seem to be nearing end anytime soon.

On December 10th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gifted Azerbaijan with the great honor of hosting him as a special guest at Baku’s “Victory Parade”. Turkish and Azerbaijani troops accompanied by various equipment, including those captured from Armenians, marched through the Azerbaijani capital as the Sultan-in-Chief and his Pasha gave speeches from the tribune. In all, from all what was said at the Baku parade, Armenia should likely prepare for a new war immediately.

Aliyev emphasized the importance of the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance and claimed that “Yerevan, Zangezur, Sevan are” the “historical lands” of the Turkic people, while Erdogan commemorated Ismail Enver Pasha and members of the Islamic Army of the Caucasus. Enver Pasha was one of the principal perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, of the Assyrian Genocide and of the Greek Genocide.

On top of this, the Turkish leader routinely said that the Armenians are the source of the instability in the region and even blamed the Western militarism. Somehow, Mr. Erdogan forgot that Ankara is one of the founding NATO states and a part of that same militarism. Nonetheless, admitting the facts is not the strong side of the modern Turkish diplomacy.

Turkish media are already setting ground for the new escalation with Yerevan by depicting large Armenian territories as a part of Azerbaijan. For example, Turkey’s TGRT Haber showed the entire chunk between Azerbaijan mainland and its Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in this way adding the title: “Armenia has no money. Let’s give Zangezur”. The title referred to claims of Azerbaijan that Armenia must pay a $50bn ”compensation’ for what Baku calls ‘crimes against the Azerbaijani nation’ in Karabakh. So, now, Turkish and Azerbaijani media promote the idea that Armenia should pay this ‘compensation’ with some territories.

And these claims do not limit to Armenia, but likely extend to the entire Caucasus. The Islamic Army of the Caucasus promoted by Erdogan during the parade was the pan-Turkic, Ottoman effort to capture the region, including the south of modern Russia, exploiting the civil war that started in the Russian Empire in 1917.

Mr. Enver Pasha also had bad relations and notable ideological differences with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkey that appeared after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and was in fact in the foreign opposition to Ataturk. The decision of Erdogan to promote this figure on the highest level in Baku indicates that the modern Turkish leadership is moving away from the legacy of Ataturk, including the concept of secular state. The Erdogan-led Turkey has been shifting towards the Neo-Ottomanism accompanied by pan-Turkic and Islamist ideas. This format of the official ideology lefts Erdogan little freedom to maneuver on the international scene and pushes Ankara towards further military adventures.

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