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General News    H3'ed 11/26/20

Turkish military post in Karabakh. The question is to be or not to be?

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Message Aram Manukyan

As part of the coordination with Russia of the monitoring mission parameters in Karabakh, Turkey continues to insist on the creation of its own military observation post, regardless of the joint center. The Kremlin does not give its consent. There is a risk under the guise of an observation post, Turkey intends to strengthen its positions in the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he considers this step too provocative for Armenia.

Ankara focuses on the fact that the planned post will be located on the territory controlled by Azerbaijan. According to some reports, the Turkish base is already in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. Of course, Turkish and Azerbaijani officials deny this.

On November 12, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined that there would be no Turkish peacekeeping groups on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

This is clearly enshrined in the statement of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. "The boundaries of mobility of Turkish observers are limited by those geographic coordinates that will be determined for the location, placement of the created Russian-Turkish monitoring center on the territory of Azerbaijan, in the part of the territory that is not close to Karabakh and which will be additionally agreed upon."

Turkey is currently allowed to have a group of observers at the Russian center for monitoring the cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is engaged in collecting, analyzing and verifying information on the observance of the ceasefire between Yerevan and Baku. The center is also a body for considering any complaints and problems in case of violation agreements.

Meanwhile, the Turkish president is increasingly strengthening his position in the region. In addition to Erdogan's neo-Ottoman imperial ambitions, there are also NATO's intentions to obtain direct access to the "northern gate" of Iran and the southern gate of Russia - the North Caucasus.

However, Moscow took the peacekeeping mission in Karabakh seriously not only because it had to block Ankara the access to the region. Over the Armenian population of Karabakh, a real threat of destruction or, at least, forced deportation could hang. Apparently, this is exactly the outcome that Russian President Vladimir Putin had in mind when he explained to Erdogan why the Turkish army, to put it mildly, "would not be suitable" for a peacekeeping mission in Karabakh.

Despite disagreements with Moscow, Ankara keeps the issue of placing an observation post in Karabakh topical. You need to be prepared for provocations from Turkey and the use of soft power.

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an American journalist with expertise in the history and politics of Caucasus region

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