"No excuse for peacekeepers to stay in Karabakh if there are no Armenians" - Expert | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

9 March, Tuesday

"No excuse for peacekeepers to stay in Karabakh if there are no Armenians" - Expert

Russian peacekeepers forcibly bring Armenians to Karabakh so that they can continue their existence in that territory

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The rising numbers of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh and the statements made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the end of the year have been on the agenda of Azerbaijan in recent days. In particular, the future of Karabakh, along with the media and the public, is of serious interest and even concern to every citizen of the country, including young and old generations.

Azerbaijan, which recently won a great victory on the battlefield, is now on the verge of a greater struggle. This struggle is being waged in the face of giant states; it is a diplomatic struggle that requires patience, restraint and great intelligence. However, taking into account the current situation in Karabakh, the following opinion is formed: - On the one hand, the bloody war, on the other hand, the return of the warring parties to the liberated territories.

To clarify these issues, Eurasia Diary had an exclusive interview with political expert and Chairman of Atlas Research Centre Elkhan Shahinoglu. We are presenting you the interview.

Dear Shahinoglu, according to the latest information provided by the Russian Interior Ministry, the number of Armenians returned to Karabakh to date exceeds 50,000. We would like to know your views about this.

It is true that Armenians were brought to Karabakh by peacekeepers, but the distortion of statistics is not excluded. In fact, the Russian peacekeepers seem to have set a goal that all Armenians who once lived in Karabakh must be returned. However, it is clear that the Armenians themselves do not intend to live in Karabakh. On the contrary, they want to either stay in Armenia or move to Russia. Some of them may be forcibly brought to Karabakh, but they do not want to live with Azerbaijanis. As a visual proof of this, I can say that even then, when the separatists invaded Karabakh, they also seized the surrounding areas. This meant that Armenians wanted to keep a distance of about 200 km (185 mil) between us and themselves.

In general, the victorious Azerbaijani soldier liberated Karabakh from occupation, and when it comes to living together, any Armenian who agrees to carry an Azerbaijani national passport in accordance with Azerbaijani legislation, and then they can easily come and live in Karabakh. However, I would like to note that today there is no Armenian who will accept these conditions, and they are under the influence of separatists. Peacekeepers forcibly bring Armenians to Karabakh so that they can continue their existence in that territory, otherwise there will be no excuse for peacekeepers to stay in Karabakh if there are no Armenians.

In his statement, Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov also touched upon the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. If Russia initiates this, what will be Turkey's reaction to it?

Even before the war, we proposed giving Nagorno-Karabakh a high level of cultural autonomy. But they did not accept it. I even researched and wrote a book about it. I can cite the example of the Aland model, the Triol model and other such models of autonomy, but the Armenians did not want any of them. They demanded full independence for Nagorno-Karabakh and were consequently defeated by our glorious army. That is why there is no autonomy in Karabakh today. As for the status issue, as President Ilham Aliyev stressed, we are not interested in their wishes. We have so many ethnic minorities who are peacefully living in Zagatala, Guba, Lankaran and so on. They can live in Karabakh in the same way as those citizens of our country living in our region without status. So, we are not talking about any status now. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may comment on this, and even the Minsk Group has repeatedly touched on this issue, but we do not care what they say. Not only Russia, but also the United States and France will not be able to force the status issue on Azerbaijan, and Turkey will not allow it unequivocally.

Do you think the reason for Russia's influence in the Caucasus, especially in Azerbaijan, is based on external or internal factors?

I do not think that Russia has a great influence in Azerbaijan. Yes, Russia is a neighbour of Azerbaijan, and we have big joint projects with it, and many of our Azerbaijani citizens work and live there. Of course, we take all this into account, but due to Russia's current policy, I do not believe that it will have any influence in Azerbaijan.

Let's just make a survey among young people on the street whether they like Russia's policy in the region and relations with Azerbaijan. I am sure that very few people will be satisfied with this. The vast majority will be dissatisfied with Russia's policy, especially given the increase of peacekeepers in Karabakh and the sharing of photos with separatists. Russia has neither such authority in Azerbaijan nor in Armenia. Concerning the current situation between Armenia and Russia, Armenia is simply Russia's servant not only because it is afraid of Russia, but also because it is afraid of Turkey and Azerbaijan. If Armenia had good relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan earlier, they would not be dependent on Russia.

As for the pro-Russian forces, yes, such elements also exist in Azerbaijan, and they always interfere in state policy and support Russia's leading role in Karabakh and in all areas. But these are not many. Taking this into account, we also have our own political strategy, which is to strengthen the national alliance with Turkey. For this reason, the Turkish army must be in the Karabakh region, especially in Aghdam.

Many discussions claim that a new war will break out in Karabakh and that Turkey will play a leading role here. How realistic do you think this is?

Yes, war is a reality, and the main reality is that we have taken back our Karabakh. However, some separatists are still hiding there and trying to sabotage. They are being pursued by the Turkish military as a joint struggle. However, the fight against them can be called not a war, but simply a fight against terrorism. As you know, we have conducted several anti-terrorist operations since November 10, and as a result, 162 terrorists from the separatist forces have been disarmed. In another operation, about 6 members of terrorist groups hiding in the woods and killing our servicemen were killed by our army. All this cannot be called a war. On the other hand, Armenia, which has lost more than 6,000 villages and about 14,000 people, has no potential for war, and even this is a great tragedy for a country of 2 million populations. However, if Armenia does not stand still, that is, as the President noted, if even a bullet is fired at us from the Armenian side, the iron fist operation is still valid.

Finally, a glance at the internal policy of Russia; the protests of Navalny’s supporters against the Putin Administration.

If Alexei Navalny's supporters gain an advantage in the government, would it have any advantage in Karabakh?

Today, there are two types of opposition in Russia, one of which is in parliament and is in constant dialogue with the government. Among them there are Zhirnovsky's supporters, the Liberal Democratic Party and another opposition group leading the Communist Party. However, the second type of opposition I mentioned in Russia is the out-of-system opposition, and its leader is Alexei Navalny, who is currently in prison. It is undeniable that he has influence in Russia. Each of his interviews and posts are followed by millions of people. Even in Russia, all liberal youth follow him. But this does not mean that these liberal youths can have any strong influence on Navalny's rise to power. In addition, I do not think that even if Navalny comes to power, he will make any contribution to the Karabakh issue, but being pro-Western like Pashinyan might even cause a destabilisation in the region.


Interviewed by Elnur Enveroglu 

Eurasia Diary

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