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Turkey pushes Azerbaijan to fight Armenia: Professor

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) hugging after signing bilateral agreements at the Presidential Complex in Ankara. (Photo by AFP)

Press TV has conducted an interview with Vladimir Golstein, a professor at the Brown University from Phode Island, about the tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: It seems that the potential of this current situation to get extremely dangerous and exacerbate further is there; however, is there the possibility of coup prevailing?

Golstein: Yeah, it is a very explosive situation because the rivalries or enmity between the Armenians and Azerbaijanis run very high. And Azeris actually recently they were very nationalistic and they were modeling their behavior on Erdogan’s behavior, on Turkey’s behavior, and which is also nationalistic.

So, they have a vested interest in this conflict. However, they do stand to lose a lot. If for some reason the conflict escalates and Armenia gets involved and Armenia is part of this collective security treaty organization and more or less like Russian equivalent of NATO, and Russia has these former Soviet republics under its control.

So, if Russia gets involved then they basically march all their way to Baku. And definitely the Azerbaijani leader doesn’t want it. So, my hope is that after he will see some resolve coming from both Armenia and from Russia, the leader of Azerbaijan will back off and cooler heads will prevail. That’s my hope.

Press TV: What is driving this conflict if you could just point out the root causes over here? What would you say they were?

Golstein: Well, I’m specialist in literature and I like Tolstoy analysis in War and Peace where he argues that there are usually a number of forces. There is no one cause, never. It’s somewhere he calls parallelogram of forces.

So, what we see here is definite frustration of Erdogan and Turkey. They will bet. They didn’t succeed where they wanted to succeed in Syria. So, he has this dream, Erdogan, and he has a dream of reestablishing Ottoman Empire. And so, he sort of wants to reassert himself. He’s losing popularity and resort to tension in the country, he’s not in a good standing with the United States.

So, he wants to reassert himself and nationalism and military sort of escalation usually good way of reasserting himself. So, he’s pushing his smaller twin brother Azerbaijan in the activity.

The same thing can be said about Azerbaijan. They have certain interest. One thing we know that the oil prices go down; so, their incoming sort of falling down. Economic situation is not that good. So, the fideistic way to deflect the interest of population into this nationalism and militarism and that’s what he was doing.

Press TV: We do know that the Minsk group is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the situation, will they be able to present a viable solution?

Golstein: I think they will be as long as they will make clear, make sure, that it might be involved, Russian military involvement, one sort of Aliyev realizes, Aliyev is the leader of Azerbaijan, that Russia is resolved. I think he will back off and they will sit at a table to negotiate.


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