By pledging unconditional support to Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over Nagorny Karabakh, Turkey’s government is stretching its forces and its budget, but it’s also shoring up its base.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are blaming each other for the latest surge of violence over Nagorny Karabakh. The consequences for the region are unpredictable, but much will depend on the intentions of Russia and Turkey.
Join us for an in-depth conversation about the increasingly vexed relationship between Russia and its neighbors and the wider geopolitical implications of the crisis in Belarus.
Turkey’s involvement, Iran’s proximity, the enigmatic role of Russia, and the presence of major oil and gas pipelines in the region can quickly turn the new violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan into an international headache.
On July 12, skirmishes broke out on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The fighting claimed at least sixteen lives in the most serious outbreak of hostilities in the South Caucasus since 2016. Although the fighting has subsided for now, the situation remains volatile and a war of words between the two countries continues—all of which further complicate prospects for a negotiated solution.
By recycling conspiracy theories and distorted versions of the past, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders only prolong their unresolved conflict over the territory of Nagorny Karabakh.
The dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan remains the most dangerous conflict in the post-Soviet space. Even if political tensions have eased since 2018, the region remains dangerously militarized.
While Azerbaijan will not become a Western-style liberal democracy anytime soon, recent trends point to a society that is changing—and a government that may now recognize the need to change along with it.
Azerbaijan has long been an island of unchanging continuity, but a generational overhaul is underway. With mounting expectations and a resurgent opposition, 2020 will be a testing year for Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Bordered by great powers but with their own distinct cultures, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia lie at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. In his book, The Caucasus: An Introduction, Thomas de Waal explains this fascinating region.