Alin Ozinian, the Regional Analyst of Armenian Assembly of America, talks to Demokrat Haber about the latest armed confrontations in Nagorno Karabakh. Analyst underlines that the ceasefire agreement reached on Wednesday is an opportunity, once again, to reach a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
How would you describe the latest developments regarding Nagorno Karabakh? After years why now?
Since the ceasefire agreement of 1994, Azerbaijan has regularly and increasingly attacked the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia. During those years, Azerbaijan was enjoying its oil revenues, living well, and continuing its Armenophobic rhetoric. In recent years, allegations of corruption such as the most recent in the Panama Papers, egregious human rights violations, and the social-economic crisis in Azerbaijan are all reasons for which Aliyev may have decided to divert attention to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
While a ceasefire is in place, Azerbaijan continues to violate it, demonstrating, yet again, that it has no political will to pursue a peaceful solution.
What Aliyev’s regime still does not accept is that there cannot and will not be a military solution to this conflict.
What is the role of Turkey?
Turkey has always taken on the role of “big brother” to Azerbaijan. Yet, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, Turkey must remain impartial. It clearly is not. Congratulating Azerbaijan on its attacks against Armenia is not acceptable. Turkey’s president and prime minister have lost control with their statements regarding their support of Azerbaijan and its attempts to conquer Nagorno Karabakh. Turkey and Azerbaijan clearly do not understand that Turkey’s non-impartiality is not accepted by the international community.
For over 20 years, Turkey has supported its little brother militarily and continues to do so through joint military exercises, training and much more.
Turkey would do well to pay attention and address its own internal problems and issues. Ignoring democratic values and humanitarian rights, jailing academics for speaking their minds, attacking and jailing journalists in Turkey, as well as attacking them in the USA, prove to the world that the Turkish Republic does not value these rights. Confiscating Armenian churches and destroying Kurdish-populated cities are outrageous steps taken by the Turkish government. Like Azerbaijan, Turkey is trying to divert attention from its own internal problems to another front – that of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
What will happen next? Clashes will continue?
First, we must be very clear. These were more than “clashes”. Serious armed confrontations, attacking soldiers, civilians, schools, and much more – all initiated by Azerbaijan — took place. The Nagorno Karabakh Republic has a right to defend its citizens and to live freely without being subjected to Azerbaijan’s tyranny.
The “unilateral ceasefire” that Azerbaijan declared on Sunday was a public relations ploy. Immediately following the Azeris’ announcement, they attacked Martakert in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
As the Armenian Assembly of America has stated, “Azerbaijan must be held accountable for its egregious human rights violations… No further U.S. assistance should be provided until it ceases all military hostilities against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and agrees to a path for a peaceful and just resolution of the conflict… Nagorno Karabakh should resume its place as a negotiating party in the Minsk process.”
The ceasefire agreement reached on Wednesday is an opportunity, once again, to reach a peaceful settlement to the conflict. This is about the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno Karabakh. It is more than clear, that since 1988, the people of Karabakh have defended that international right. Azerbaijan and Turkey must learn to respect this. Diplomatically and militarily Karabakh has defended itself, and will continue to do so. Azerbaijan sings its song – “Karabakh is ours” – to international audiences. But, it is being defeated diplomatically, just as it is being defeated militarily.