Sunday, 11 April 2021

E Editorial

What’s going on with our neighbors?

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In recent years, the presidents of the two Turkic states, Turkey and Azerbaijan are increasingly voicing public complaints that everyone around wants to destroy their states and take their “primordial lands” from them. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has plans to revise the Lausanne Treaty, warns the US that “the strong do not always win,” and that, “the Americans haven’t see the Ottoman fist.” His Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev publicly voices the strategy of returning Yerevan and other “primordial Azerbaijani lands.” And the more intensive the international military-political processes in the Middle East become, the louder are the voices of these two figures.

The question arises: are the actions of these politicians a sign of some concern, or are we dealing with some other intentions of these states—strategic allies? After all, the complaints are addressed to the great powers, and not to other entities to which there are territorial and other claims. Then what do Erdoğan and Aliyev want from the great powers? It seems that they don’t want much at all – just to recognize their rightness in everything. Then what do they hope for? And what is the Turkish-Azerbaijani truth?

Those are not pointless questions. We are dealing with countries and peoples that have great claims to the whole world and disproportionate ambitions. Plus, we are dealing with peoples who have little regard for the rights of others. It happened so historically. Accordingly, all other nations should think about how to treat these countries. The existing opinions that the behavior of these allies is insignificant and should not be of particular concern—are not entirely convincing. Yes, these countries don’t have sufficient scientific, technological, military-political potential to realize their excessive ambitions. In the twenty-first century, in the context of growing interdependence of everything in the world, they are not even able to make any independent decision. But this doesn’t tell anything.

There is one resource that is inexhaustible: every Turk is always sure that he will always be able to achieve his goal by serving some powerful center of power. The whole recent history of the formation of the Turkic peoples (Turks and Azerbaijanis) confirms the opinion that the key political principle of these peoples was and is the principle of providing services to strong players in response to receiving permission from them or a blessing to “arbitrariness”. The Turk goes ahead only after receiving an invitation, and also, being sure that the hands of his particular enemy are bound by someone from the side. And confidence in the effectiveness of such a policy is associated with the fact that “the great powers of this world” will fight each other some day and turn to the services of the Turk. Erdoğan’s phrase that “the strong does not always win” shows exactly this conviction. Of course, those who are always ready to render an invaluable service to someone on the side often win. It’s enough to look at the numerous facts of the distant and recent years to see this.

Of course, times are different now: Turks and Azerbaijanis are increasingly becoming a headache for many, and not only in the region. And yet, in the current global changes, the factor of political cowardice among various power centers can’t be ruled out. Even President Aliyev’s statement about plans to return to Yerevan could be the result of getting preliminary “permission” from someone. It's unlikely that Aliyev believed in his power - this is not in the traditions of this nation. After all, other features of the Turkic identity are known - the Turks are not able to defend themselves when someone is not backing them. The history of the Karabakh war of the 1990s clearly demonstrated this characteristic of Azerbaijanis - as soon as there was a danger, no one defended their settlements. All silently and amicably went away to safe places.

So, you need to know you enemy well. “Be friends - but don’t put away the stick” - as stated in the Armenian proverb. And with the ones that use indecent services of Erdoğan and Aliyev, serious political work must be conducted.


The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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