Military unit opens in Gubdali; Turkey interupts “regional power inertia”

Azerbaijan opens military unit in Gubadli; Armenia makes Karabakh vow

Rachel Brooks

April 15, 2021 

Above, Putin and Erdogan standing in front of a map of what was once the Soviet Union. “File:Putin Erdogan Berlusconi.JPG” by Presidential Press Service is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Azerbaijan has opened a new military unit in the Gubadli district. This was reported by Azer News on April 15. The new military unit opened in the liberated Gubadli region on Armenia’s border on April 14. State Border Service’s Deputy Head Ilham Mehdiyev stated that the unit was opened to protect the security integrity of Azerbaijan’s newly liberated region. This follows a series of military units opening in the Gubadli region on March 19, April 1, and April 7 as the country ramps up its security defense along the border. 

Armenian Foreign Minister makes “vow” for Karabakh 

Also on April 15, Armenian media outlet PanArmenian quoted Armenia’s Foreign Minister’s recent statements vowing Karabakh “would never be subordinated to Azerbaijan.”

 

Foreign Minister Davit Babayan likewise echoed the Armenian rhetoric that the conflict would not be resolved until the settlement of Artsakh was recognized by the international communities. Artsakh was the name given to the Armenian illegal settlement in the territory of Karabakh. Many of the settlers in the illegal settlement have since been repatriated to Armenia. 

“During the meeting in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, Babayan said the security and self-determination of the people of Artsakh are the key components of the conflict settlement,” said Babayan,” signaling that Armenia does not consider the conflict resolved. 

AzerNews, in its report regarding the military unit openings in Gubadli, detailed the ceasefire agreements language confirming the return of occupied lands in “Artsakh.”

“The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan’s Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historic Shusha city. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s,” wrote AzerNews on April 15. 

Any action on the Armenian government’s part to return to the lands detailed in the Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement would violate the ceasefire. Western critics and observers of the conflict look onward in fear that the continued hostility between the two South Caucasus nations could draw into a proxy conflict between Turkey and Russia. Russia was considered a backer of Armenia during the conflict, whereas Turkey has expressed categorical support for Azerbaijan’s UN-recognized claim to the lands in question. 

Heated rhetoric continues, post-conflict zones exhumed 

Heated rhetoric continues between the two countries as the post ceasefire status of the conflict shows that the conflict is hardly resolved in terms of de-escalation of animosities. Yet, as the aftermath of the 30-year conflict is weighed, Azerbaijan has opened regions such as Aghdam up to be toured by local religious officials and the press. 

Politicization soars, as foreigners view the conflict through the lens of Turkish-Russian proxy conflict

The politicization of war-era issues continues to soar, as both sides continue to accuse one another of genocidal policy. The Turkish news outlet Daily Sabah wrote on April 15 that the Turkish Commission has approached the U.N. and demanded that the organization review the Armenian war crimes committed in Karabakh. The Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission issued a report on Thursday calling for the appointment of a special rapporteur to investigate war crimes committed by Armenia against Azerbaijan in Karabakh. The report demanded that the Armenian officials responsible for war crimes be held accountable in an international court. The bombing of Ganja, a city far outside the firing line of the Karabakh border conflict, was on the list of war crimes the statement demanded inquiry for. 

As foreign outlets looked on, some even stipulated that Turkey’s intervention in the conflict might be in the best interests of the EU. Global Risks highlighted Russia’s post-Soviet interest as an influencer and mediator of the region. The outlet noted that Russia has continued to play its influence to guarantee an equal balance of interest of the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides. Global Risks noted that the Turkish intervention in the conflict tipped the power scale, allowing Ankara to become the new security actor of the region. While Russia continues to maintain its stance for the purpose of continuing to be the major global power in the region, the Turkish interest is in its kindred nation of Azerbaijan. Global Interests stated that this disrupted the equilibrium that has kept the conflict in inertia since the Soviet collapse. 

The outlet noted that Turkey and Russia, as major powers, have both become security balancing forces of the conflict. This continues in the foreign outlook of the conflict not as a domestic territorial conflict between two neighbor nations, but as a proxy war between Turkey and Russia.