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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Turkey May Not Want Azerbaijan to Become Part of NATO, Russian Military Analyst Says


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Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 14 – Some have suggested that now that Azerbaijan has eliminated the border dispute that represents an obstacle to joining NATO, Turkey and behind it the United States will push Baku to join the alliance. But a Russian military commentator says that Turkey may not want that but prefer to have Azerbaijan be part of a new Turkic military alliance.

            In comments to Moskovsky komsomolets today, Aleksandr Mikhaylovsky notes that the outcome of the second Qarabagh war has changed the political balance in the South Caucasus by expanding Turkish influence and raising the possibility that the West will seek to include Azerbaijan in its alliance system (mk.ru/politics/2020/12/14/ekspert-rasskazal-ob-azerbaydzhane-kak-o-placdarme-dlya-davleniya-na-rossiyu.html).

            That the US has wanted to use Azerbaijan as a base to put pressure on Iran and Russia has long been a given, but in the new situation, Turkey’s position is likely to be critical; and while it may want Azerbaijan to play exactly that role, Ankara may prefer to have Baku as its unique partner rather than having it part of a larger Western alliance, the commentator says.

            The arrangement that has emerged in the wake of the second Qarabagh war, one that gives new content to the idea of “one nation, two states,” may be far more to Turkey’s liking than that. If Ankara is getting what it wants from Baku vis-à-vis both Russian and Iran, “why change anything?” Mikhaylovsky asks rhetorically.

            Such a Turkish stance, he implies, could put both Ankara and Baku at odds with the United States and other NATO members and allies like Israel; but it is also one that Moscow may be able to exploit in order to prevent the West from gaining a new place des armes in the South Caucasus.

           

Window on Eurasia — New Series