Hurriyet Daily News: Russian-Turkish moves to strengthen Armenia’s isolation

PanARMENIAN.Net - Signs of shifting balances in the Caucasus have been sending alarming signals to Armenia, strengthening its feeling of isolation as the result of new moves by key regional players Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, Barcin Yinanc writes in Hurriyet Daily News.

“Russia has recently made efforts to improve its relations with Azerbaijan, while Turkey has sought to mend fences between Baku and Tehran over Iranian-Armenian relations, an irritant for Azerbaijan. Iran provides an important economic outlet for Armenia, which suffers from the blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan. The Islamic Republic supports its Christian neighbor politically as it feels its large Azerbaijani minority makes it vulnerable in relation to Baku. Ethnic Azerbaijanis are the largest minority in Iran, comprising about a quarter of the population. Foreign ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran met two weeks ago in the northwestern Iranian city of Urmia to try to improve relations,” the article says.

“Efforts by Russia, another country with close relations with Armenia, to improve its ties with Azerbaijan have not gone unnoticed in Ankara, where Turkish diplomats note that the war in Georgia in 2008 has affected Moscow’s overall policies in the Caucasus. Russia wants to improve its relations with Azerbaijan in order to further encircle Georgia, and to create another avenue for reaching out to Iran, the diplomats said. A recent agreement signed between Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran is seen as another indicator of Moscow’s new policies.”

The article goes on saying: “The three countries agreed in February to form a joint venture that will be responsible for constructing a 350-kilometer railroad line from Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, to Rasht and the Caspian Sea port of Astara in Azerbaijan. The new line will drastically reduce the distance by rail between Tehran and Baku, while creating a much shorter route between Russia and Iranian ports.”

The author also notes that Russia has meanwhile been equally active in trying to find a solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

“Not all the details are shared with us. But we understand that Russian diplomacy has brought some creative ideas to overcome the deadlock,” he quotes a source as saying.

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