Anti-Armenian decisions on Karabakh not in Russia’s interests – orientalist

11:45 • 07.11.17



Despite their attempts of rapprochement, Russia and Turkey remain politically on opposite poles as Turkey’s membership in the North Atlantic alliance runs counter to Russian geopolitical interests, according to Ruben Safrastyan, the director of the National Academy’s Institute of Oriental Studies.


In an interview with Tert.am, the expert ruled out any Russian-Turkish alliance over Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) without regard to Armenia, which he said is gaining a serious significance for Russia as its only strategic ally in the region.  “Armenia’s significance for Russia is really great as they have a military base here, and also [we] remain their sole ally in the South Caucasus,” he noted.


Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan is meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia next week to discuss, among other things, also the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. In a speech delivered ahead of the meeting, Erdogan shared his positive expectations from the outcome, saying that the problem will be “absolutely easy to solve if Putin really focuses on Karabakh.”


Safrastyan said he neither expects Turkey to repeatedly raise the Karabakh issue nor sees any desire by Russia to meet the country half-way.


“Russia cannot possibly allow the passage of any decision disrespecting Armenia’s interests, because a weaker Armenia would weaken also Artsakh, and a weaker Artsakh would strengthen  Azerbaijan, which would further foster Turkey’s positions. That scenario offers no advantages to Russia in light of its continuing confrontation with Turkey over increasing influence in the South Caucasus,” he added.  


Asked whether the Turkish leader’s statement is an attempt to win over Putin, Safrastyan said he sees that Erdogan often builds his diplomacy “on a rhetoric not always matching his real potentials”.


“Being a charismatic politician, he very often uses that rhetoric inside his country to address his population or to make an impression on other countries, but he is unlikely to succeed this time,” Safrastyan said, ruling out Putin’s possible move to succumb to Eredogan’s temptations.

“The fact is that Russia is a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, so it will continue its mission as a [peace] mediator [in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process]. And a mediator’s mission implies not just consideration of certain countries’ statements but rather a fulfillment of its mission under conditions of absolute neutrality. But I believe the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group have now arrived at the understanding that Azerbaijan’s policies are built on provocations aiming to torpedo the negotiation process,” he added.

  

Asked to comment on the current stage of the Russian-Turkish rapprochement, Safrastyan said he thinks that the country’s policy of constantly changing conditions makes the process of building relations absolutely difficult.  “They all the time change and propose new conditions. Russia wishes to establish closer ties with Turkey because of the problems with the West, and that’s really positive for the country. But on the other hand, we see Turkey’s policy of adventures, so a serious rapprochement with such countries is practically impossible, given especially the fact that Turkey never shows signs of distancing itself from the West. They remain a NATO member and a US ally despite the United States’ repeated criticism of certain approaches by Turkey. I don’t see strategic changes in Turkey’s policies for now,” he added.

Hripsime Hovhannisyan





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