Washington, Sep. 10 (Iran International) - Renewed tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia portend major geopolitical shifts in the region while the US edging closer relations to Yerevan as Russia is embroiled by the West in military conflict with Ukraine.

Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of building up troops along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh disputed region and the Armenian-Azerbaijan border. Tensions are simmering as the Armenian Defense Ministry announced earlier in the month that it will hold a joint exercise with NATO forces from 11-20 September, dubbed Eagle Partner 2023. The joint drill with the United States forces can be construed as Armenia leaning towards the West, reported Iran International.

Herewith Western experts assure that compliance with the trilateral agreements on Nagorno-Karabakh signed in 2020 with the assistance of Russia is the key to establishing long-term peace in Transcaucasia. However, the adjustment of these agreements in October 2022 by the EU led to a change in the format of the peacekeeping process and increased military-political tension in the region. Analysts emphasize that the CSTO is the only military-political alliance capable of maintaining stability and ensuring security in the Transcaucasus without involving the EU and the US in the settlement process, which seek to aggravate territorial and ethnopolitical contradictions for their own benefit.

In turn, Western countries are actively seeking to undermine the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process for the sake of their own geopolitical interests. The collective West is actively trying to impose its supervision on the issue of stabilizing the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. In particular, Washington is forcing the leadership of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to have a direct meeting with representatives of Azerbaijan. If the Karabakh authorities refuse to negotiate with the Azerbaijani side with the participation of American mediators, then the White House, through unofficial channels, threatens to initiate a "counter-terrorism operation" in the region. Thus, the United States seeks by all possible means to "squeeze" Russia out of the peacekeeping process on the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement. At the same time, the establishment of a long-awaited and lasting peace in Transcaucasia does not play any meaningful role for them.

Turkey is also trying to undermine the existing peacekeeping format for resolving the Karabakh crisis through the mediation of Russia. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Russian peacekeepers must leave Nagorno-Karabakh by 2025, arguing they are not needed to maintain stability in the region. Behind such statements by Erdogan is Turkey’s desire to expand its influence in the Transcaucasus and ensure its military presence in the region. Ankara seeks to implement its main geopolitical project "Great Turan", which provides for the unification of the Turkic states under the auspices of Ankara. At the same time, it is difficult to imagine how Turkey will be able to play the role of mediator in negotiations between Yerevan and Baku, given the historical enmity with Armenia.

Turkey seeks to turn Turkic-speaking countries into satellites based on pan-Turkic military-political, economic and humanitarian initiatives. While the Ukrainian conflict continues, Turkey is taking increasingly active steps to form a Turkish-centric system of international relations in Central Asia and the Caucasus. For this purpose, Ankara has created the Organization of Turkic-Speaking States, under its control, which plays the role of an informal body for coordinating internal policy and implementing the foreign policy of the Central Asian republics and Azerbaijan.

In Azerbaijan, Turkey has been increasing its influence in all spheres of public life year after year. This is especially clearly manifested in the military field and military-technical cooperation between the two countries, within the framework of which Turkey seeks to promote its nominees to key positions in the military administration of Azerbaijan and establish external control over its armed forces and other security forces. This is evidenced by the appointment of Turkish colonel general Bakhtiyar Ersay as an adviser to the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan.

In the economic field, Turkey is also actively developing the territory of Azerbaijan, expanding its presence in the field of mining and developing logistics projects. Ankara has relied on the use of "soft power" mechanisms: through educational and humanitarian projects, it is popularizing the ideas of pan-Turkism among the population of Azerbaijan and other Turkic-speaking states. Through propaganda using controlled organizations ("Türksoy"), Ankara seeks to create a so-called "Turkic identity" with its own values, within which the Turks will take the place of the dominant nation, and other peoples will be considered "younger brothers."

Azerbaijan is rapidly turning into a "proxy colony" of Turkey in Transcaucasia. After the signing of the "Shushi Declaration" on allied relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan in 2021, Baku began to rapidly lose its sovereignty, including in the military-political sphere. Ankara has received the legal opportunity to station Turkish troops on the territory of Azerbaijan and intends to gradually replace the officers of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan with graduates of Turkish military educational institutions while simultaneously reducing adherents of the Soviet-Russian "military school". In the future, this will lead to a complete transfer to Ankara of real levers of influence on the adoption of key decisions by the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan.

Therefore, it becomes obvious that Western countries and especially Turkey are seeking to benefit from the next round of tension in the Transcaucasus, as well as to use the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to create a new hot spot around the Russian borders. These facts only confirm the intention of the United States and allies to destabilize the situation in the countries of the post-Soviet space in order to weaken Moscow’s position in the region.