Azerbaijan may renew full-scale military actions against Armenia in 2018 - Turkologist

16:42 • 25.12.17

The past year did not contribute to a higher level of security in our region, an Armenian Turkologist said Monday, not ruling out the possibility of large-scale Azerbaijani military aggression against Armenia in 2018.

Ruben Safrastyan, Director of the National Academy’s Institute of Oriental Studies, also regretted to note that Azerbaijan’s failure to abide the St Petersburg and Vienna arrangements blocked all the chances of progress over Nagorno-Karbakh (Artsakh).

“It is largely due to Azerbaijan’s provocative actions along the Line of Contact, which aimed to hamper the negotiation process. The Minsk Group has a real work to do in this connection, as we didn’t manage to realize the arrangements reached in 2017. We didn’t succeed in the plan to enforce the [ceasefire] monitoring mechanisms and hence to also guarantee a higher level security in the region,” he told reporters.

Safrastyan said he also sees real hazards behind the Azerbaijani authorities’ belligerent rhetoric. “Military operations should never be ruled out,” he said, hesitating to predict specific timeframes for possible renewed hostilities.

As a positive dynamics, the expert highly praised the national army’s effort towards raising its efficiency.

“We managed to furnish the military with more advanced weaponry, which I think is very important against the backdrop of regional developments. This allows us to more resolutely look upon 2018 given that the military is the key element of our security,” he said.


As for Azerbaijan’s persistent attempt to consolidate the Islamic world in an anti-Armenian propaganda, Safrastyan considered the policy absolutely normal but ruled out the chances of realizing it in 2018.


“Why should they succeed in 2018, if they haven’t succeeded so far? Pakistan appears to be the only [country] capable of committing such actions, but there aren’t any preconditions now. I don’t think 2018 will mark a period of fundamental changes,” he added.


The expert further highlighted the EU-Armenia framework agreement as a major cornerstone achievement of the past year, describing the deal as a good opportunity to upgrade the foreign policy to a new level.


“The fact that Armenia opted for signing such an agreement with the EU demonstrated that the EU’s political thought understands Armenia’s role perfectly well, relying on the historical experience,” he added.

The Turkologist said he also believes that Armenia should have long annulled the Zurich  protocols signed in 2009. “This should have been done much earlier as Turkey had no intention at all to normalize its relations with Armenia. No other development is visible to me, as I do not see any sign that Turkey is likely change its actions. As long as we are facing that situation, the protocols should be considered null and void I believe,” he added.


Safrastyan also addressed the global developments, noting that the end to the Syrian crisis contributed to a certain degree to global security and stability.


“The Syrian crisis was settled to an extent, with the military confrontation transforming itself into a negotiation process. That, universally, was the most important phenomenon which I believe increased the level of security,” he said, warning further of the threats linked to the unresolved North Korea crisis.


 “The existing trends give ground to assumptions the crisis will be heated in 2018,” Safrastyan added.

Ani Ohanyan

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