The historic speech of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who paid a visit to Baku to celebrate Azerbaijan’s Karabakh victory, which was crowned with great heroism and sacrifices, included a message for the simultaneous meeting discussing sanctions against Turkey at the European Union Leaders’ Summit. The message was sent not only for the EU but also the U.S.
This is because at around the same time, decisions were being taken in the U.S. with respect to the sanctions that will imposed on Turkey. By Thursday evening, reports that these sanctions “are ready and could be announced any moment” were circulating. Meanwhile, the Turkish president was saying the following with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, whom he refers to as “my brother”:
“A six-country platform that Russian President [Vladimir] Putin also agreed to join has been formed. What is this platform? Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Georgia and, if it complies, Armenia may also take part in this platform. It was thus said, ‘Let us establish regional peace in the sextet platform.’ Now, there were burdens that regional peace would put on the shoulders of the countries in this region. These countries had numerous infrastructural, super-structural, political, as well as diplomatic burdens. I told my brother again today: Provided that positive steps are taken today regarding this matter, we will open our closed doors. As long as positive steps are taken. We don’t plan to specifically “keep our doors closed to Armenia.’ Because we want to take steps towards peace. We hold no grudge against the Armenian public. The problem is with the Armenian administration.”
Azerbaijani President Aliyev also backed this call and perspective in his own speech.
This is an invitation. But before that, it is the presentation of a new geo-policy.
When you make an offer, an attempt, to build such a platform anywhere in the world, but especially in this region, out of reflex, those “on the outside” become curious about the answers to some questions.
“Whom is this platform against or to whose side is it on?”
Will the West, the U.S. and Europe consider this platform suitable for its own interests/objectives or will it consider it an enemy? Will China consider this platform friend or foe?
It should be acknowledged that the Azerbaijani nation and military’s 44-day victory marathon set the stage for new geopolitical opportunities and risks. When looking at the bigger picture, the situation in the Caspian and Caucasia can be interpreted as the U.S. and the West being warded off and purged from the region…
The first objection point of those who see certain challenges in the realization of this platform is Russia’s claim that primarily Armenia, its traditional and established position in the region will not allow this.
The simple answer to this is the statements that Russia was leaning toward this platform prior to the Baku-Yerevan clashes. The challenging response, on the other hand, is the call to contemplate the acceptance that Russia’s backyard policy is fixed, and that it will remain fixed even in the event of a change in any strategic condition.
The U.S. and the world with Biden as leader, indicates that Washington’s threat ranking, positions one and two, consisting of China and Russia, changed places, with Russia topping the list, and that China will be next when its “time” comes. The serial developments ranging from the UN General Assembly’s decision taken last week saying, “Russia should withdraw from Crimea,” to the certain reform packages with respect to NATO turning towards this trajectory, signal that this policy is fast-approaching.
We must recall the trauma Putin never lost sight of when determining his country’s position in global politics: the reality that the countries comprising of Russia’s front and back yards were lost one by one, contrary to the deal made with the U.S. upon the fall of the Berlin Wall, which developed, starting from 1989, throughout the 1990s, and into the 2000s. The Kremlin is now gravely concerned that history will repeat itself during Biden’s term. He also thinks that the Caucasus/Caspian region will encounter systematic attacks as one of the main fronts of this plan.
Everybody sees that this line, which is also the main route to China’s paths and zones, is a “checkpoint” “against or in favor of” both Washington’s and Beijing’s interventions.
In other words, regional strategic conditions are changing! Is Russia truly so far from taking a step in the name of forming regional structures within this conjuncture and so that it could be under its own control? What did its support of Turkey and Azerbaijan’s legitimate cause signify, in the name of being punished against the Armenian leadership’s likelihood of joining the West, and in fact NATO?
We do not know if there is any alliance between Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, but if so, which power in the region can endure this weight?
Furthermore, it is uncertain where China, Iran, Pakistan, and the U.K. – which has major investments in the region – will stand. It should also be remembered that the stance of Central Asian republics that have gained independence with their geographical connection to China, and have developed relations with Russia and Turkey, remains unknown.
It is also ambiguous whether Georgia is suitable for this platform, whether it will object; and even if you add it to the “list of challenges,” the real issue is that this sextet cannot be explained through regional/micro interpretations. This newly emerged ground needs to be analyzed based on its position in the “global power competition.”
Where is the new platform situated in the context of China-U.S. relations? Where does the new platform fit in within the scope of Russia-U.S. relations? Where do the Middle East, the Gulf, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan fit in the new platform, which is already being followed by Israel’s shadow?
These are tough questions, but Turkey is willing to solve them.