Russia may have triggered the coup attempt in Yerevan - Exclusive interview | Eurasia Diary -

21 April, Wednesday

Russia may have triggered the coup attempt in Yerevan - Exclusive interview

If Pashinyan leaves power, tensions in Karabakh and the South Caucasus will increase

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Tensions continue in Armenia over the overthrow of the Pashinyan government. The protests, which began a couple of days ago with a statement from the General Staff of the Armed Forces in Yerevan, reached a peak in the evening and turned into a continuous protest to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister. Sensing that the situation would lead to a coup, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gathered his supporters in the capital's square.

It should be noted that many countries have commented on the events, and Turkey's position in this issue is particularly interesting. Ankara, which has no diplomatic relations with Yerevan, expressed concern and said the military coup was unacceptable. On the contrary, Russia, Armenia's closest ally, said the incident was an internal affair and said it intended to step aside by not openly supporting the legitimate government. Many saw this as official Moscow's support for Pashinyan's resignation.

Doğacan Basharan, an expert on International Relations at the Ankara Centre for Crisis and Policy Research (ANKASAM), gave an exclusive interview to Eurasia Diary.

- Yesterday's coup attempt in Armenia concerned Ankara even more. What is the main reason behind this concern?

- First of all, I would like to note that Turkey, based on international rules and democratic principles, condemns the coup in any case. Turkey shows that it does not turn a blind eye to what is happening in Armenia, as in countries such as Egypt and Sudan. These views can be heard in the statement of the Turkish President's Chief of Public Relations Fahrettin Altun.

I would also like to note that Turkey is concerned about the risk that a possible coup in Armenia could destabilise the region. Because, first of all, Pashinyan is a leader of the Armenian government, which lost the war in Karabakh. Another issue is that Pashinyan is pro-Western and has limited relations with Russia. Therefore, if Pashinyan leaves power, there is a danger that Russia's influence in Armenia will increase, and Russian and pro-Armenian forces will be able to create chaos, especially in Karabakh and the South Caucasus.

Moreover, it is clear that if the army seizes power, the administration will be militarised. Of course, Turkey does not want such a situation. In addition, if Pashinyan manages to stay in power, Turkey and Azerbaijan can reduce Moscow's pressure in the region by forming an alliance with Russia against Armenia. At the same time, these relations can help Armenia to renounce its aggressive claims and gain the image of a more peaceful country.

- Apparently, Russia was trying to stay away from yesterday's events. Do you think Russia may be interested in Pashinyan's resignation?

- Russia's silence in this process can be expressed as support for the coup attempt. Even Moscow's more neutral stance during the Karabakh war was partly motivated by its desire to punish Pashinyan. His pro-Western attitudes are perceived by Russia as a matter of concern. For this reason, Moscow did not condemn the coup attempt, interpreting the process in Armenia as an internal matter of the country. At this point, the statements of the Prime Minister of Armenia on the failure of the "Iskander" missiles purchased from Russia should not be ignored. In addition, we must not forget that most of the personnel of the Armenian army were educated in Russia.

- If the opposition comes to power in Armenia, what effect will it have on relations between Turkey and Armenia?

- I think that in the event of a change of government in Armenia, Vazgen Manukyan will be prime minister. In this situation, Russia's reputation in Armenia will grow to the utmost. It should not be forgotten that the opposition protests began after the signing of an agreement ending the Karabakh war. Their main concern is the end of 30 years of occupation. A possible change of the power in Yerevan could lead to a ceasefire violation and the intensification of revanchist tendencies. This is a matter of serious concern to Turkey. Because official Ankara wants a strong, independent Azerbaijani state that has achieved territorial integrity. In this regard, Turkey is always with Azerbaijan. That is why Turkey is concerned about the possible undemocratic change of government in Yerevan.

By Elnur Enveroğlu 

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