Azerbaijan-Turkey-Russia: A New Model Of Geopolitical Influence In The South Caucasus

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 19 January 2021
Azerbaijan-Turkey-Russia: A New Model Of Geopolitical Influence In The South Caucasus

After the war, some Western countries, including France, have tried to muddy the waters in the region again. Soon after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s "you will see Turkey in front of you again" message followed. Although Turkey's presence in the South Caucasus has seriously irritated some in the West, Russia seems to have long come to terms with this reality.

Now the Kremlin is thinking about possible ways of benefiting more from the Azerbaijani-Turkish alliance in terms of Russia's international and regional interests. It has been unequivocally confirmed that a new situation has arisen in the South Caucasus. In fact, what is happening now is the logical outcome of the 44-day war make a new situation inevitable.

It is interesting that now the international political centers are beginning to reconsider their priorities in the South Caucasus. Although the set geopolitical goals remain unchanged, it is observed that the methods of their realization are being adjusted. In any case, it is an undeniable proof that the traditional methods no longer work.

In the past, the international political power centers preferred to make their interests in the South Caucasus a reality without consulting the regional countries. Simultaneously, even the position and interests of the countries of the region were not taken into account at all. The regional countries were simply offered to take part in geopolitical, geo-economic and geostrategic projects in the interests of the superpowers.

However, now such a regional coercive actions do not seem to work. Now this stage, promised by the regional coercive model, is over and the goals of those, who remain faithful to this method, are doomed to failure.

The reason is very simple. The South Caucasus is under the full control of the states directly connected to the region. This is almost the first time that such a situation has arisen. The new situation and new conditions have created different combinations of actions for the superpowers with interests in the region and it is impossible to avoid it.

We should note that the status of the main center of the geopolitical power in the South Caucasus, which is currently at the beginning of the transition to a new stage, has passed into Azerbaijan’s hands. Now the main decisions on the future of the region are made by the political will of official Baku and after that, those who have interests in the region are obliged to reach an agreement with official Baku, to put the national interests of Azerbaijan in the forefront.

At the same time, Turkey is one of the main participants in the geopolitical processes in the South Caucasus. Turkey's strategic alliance with Azerbaijan stimulates the formation of a new regional superpower and now everyone has to reckon with this superpower.

Actually, the inevitability of accepting this reality was recently acknowledged by one of the influential state leaders. Thus, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that it is inevitable not to take into account the Turkish factor in the South Caucasus.

“Turkey's transformation into a new player in the South Caucasus is a manifestation of new geopolitical conditions. Turkey is a strategic ally of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is an independent state. Therefore, no one can ban Azerbaijan from operating in the alliance with Turkey, including in the common interests of the South Caucasus,” Russia’s Putin said.

Apparently, even if the Kremlin is not completely satisfied with the Azerbaijani-Turkish alliance, they are no longer as irritated as before. They seem to be reconciled to this reality. Even Turkey's presence in the South Caucasus through an alliance with official Baku is perceived as a geopolitical reality.

However, the Kremlin's new approach is not limited to this. Thus, Russia is directly interested in maintaining high-level relations with Turkey. Moreover, the Kremlin prefers Russia and Turkey to cooperate in the ongoing processes in the South Caucasus region and this is an important issue. The point is that both the Kremlin and Ankara are well aware of the fertile ground for regional cooperation between Russia and Turkey. There is no doubt that both countries can benefit from such cooperation.

All these show that the Kremlin does not intend to resist Turkey's presence in the South Caucasus. On the contrary, it is interested in the formation of common geopolitical interests in the region. And the Kremlin does not deny the role of official Ankara in resolving the main conflict in the South Caucasus.

Of course, given all these, it is not surprising that Russian President Vladimir Putin briefed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the results of the latest trilateral meeting in Moscow. The Kremlin understands that nothing can be achieved in resolving the regional conflict by bypassing Turkey's position.

In any case, the recent statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicates many important points. Thus, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement that "Turkey has resolved the conflict that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have not been able to resolve for 30 years in just 44 days" was in fact a direct message to some international political centers of power.

The reading of this is that the Turkish president intends to remind the importance of official Ankara's position in the South Caucasus. In other words, official Ankara is trying to explain to some of them that they will no longer be able to challenge the region without Turkey’s consent and undoubtedly, this is an important message. After the war, some Western countries, including France, tried to muddy the waters in the region again. However, it is still possible to prevent them.

However, it is impossible to guarantee that such attempts will not happen again in the near future. In order to prevent such future attempts, official Ankara is sending the message "you will see Turkey in front of you" and this message of official Ankara is quite powerful.

The point is that over the past few weeks, about 50 Turkish military transport planes have landed in various cities of Azerbaijan. Of course, there is no doubt that these planes are carrying military cargo for the needs of the Turkish-Russian joint observation center.

However, some Western political circles do not hide their suspicion that the military cargoes of the planes is limited to the needs of the common center. Of course, it is not yet possible to say how well-founded these suspicions are and the real truth will probably become clearer in the near future, though it is clear that the West is convinced that Turkey is about to settle in the South Caucasus. The recent statements of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also give them some grounds for such confidence.

From this point of view, it can be considered that the relations between the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance and relations with Russia can play a key determining factor for the future of the South Caucasus. Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement after the Moscow meeting that "the settlement of the conflict in the region can further develop Azerbaijan-Russia relations" shows that the Kremlin is pleased with this model of cooperation.

Therefore, it can be considered that after the Moscow meeting, a new stage has begun for the South Caucasus region. The main driving force of this stage is the relations between Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia. Moreover, this can be considered a new reality or a model of hegemony for geopolitical processes in the South Caucasus.