October 17, 2020 - 15:22 AMT
The National Interest: Turkey instigates Karabakh war with old ambitions

There is significant evidence that Turkey is the main instigator of the current Karabakh war: the country has been involved in every step of the way from the preparation to the execution of the Azerbaijani war plan, according to a fresh article published on The National Interest.

Satellite imagery of Azerbaijan’s Ganja International Airport from the New York Times revealed the presence of Turkish F-16 fighter jets, to which Aliyev later admitted in an interview on CNN. These jets were used by Turkey against Armenian forces early in the war. Moreover, according to credible media reports and assessments by French and Russian intelligence, Turkey has been busy shuttling mercenaries and jihadists from Syria and Libya into the conflict zone, including members of the Syrian Nusra Front.

"Ankara’s foray into Karabakh is only the latest episode of its imperial adventurism. [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's] bullish intervention in Karabakh risks transforming a localized interethnic conflict into a major regional war, if not a world war," the article says.

The Turkish president made his intentions clear in a July 2020 speech in which he declared that it was up to him to continue the mission of the Ottomans in the region. Some observers interpreted his remarks as a not-so-veiled threat against Armenians in the context of the Armenian Genocide. However, his ominous statements refer less to 1915 and more to another related historical event, no less traumatic for Armenians—the Ottoman military invasion of Transcaucasia in 1918. In that episode, the Ottoman Empire sought to stake out a claim to the Caucasus amid the ongoing Russian Civil War.

According to the article, his aim is to use a new war in Karabakh to send a message to Moscow and, if possible, to undermine Russia’s historical influence in the Caucasus and even to potentially supplant it with Turkish influence. Karabakh presents Erdogan with an opportunity of a lifetime to turn a barrage of insults into a barrage of injuries.

"The strategy of deliberately targeting civilians comes directly from the playbook of Erdogan. As Amnesty International has reported, he has used this precise strategy repeatedly against the Kurds in his own country and in Syria and Iraq," the feature adds.

Kommersant, meanwhile, published an article on Friday, October 16, revealing that a significant number of Turkish servicemen have remained in Azerbaijan after joint military drills this summer, to coordinate and direct the planning and execution of the offensive operations against Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan, with help from Turkey and Syrian and Libyan mercenaries deployed by Ankara, started a war against Karabakh (Artsakh) in the morning of September 27. The Armenian side has reported deaths and injuries both among the civilian population and the military. Foreign and local journalists too have been injured in Azeri shelling of towns and villages.