Aliyev Plays Va Banque: U-Turn in Nakhijevan Issue


“Given the complicated geographical position of Nakhijevan, the fact that the country has been in blockade for years already and is surrounded from three sides with enemies, we focus our attention on security. In the recent years we undertook serious steps towards army building. The army of Nakhijevan is armed with ultra modern weapons,” the Azerbaijani president announced during his meeting with Talibov,  the president of the Supreme Assembly of Nakhijevan, Radio Liberty informed.

During his meeting with Talibov Aliyev made some interesting statements which indicate his worries about Nakhijevan and the regional setting in general.

The president of Azerbaijan states that Nakhijevan is surrounded by enemies from “three sides”. Geographically, Nakhijevan has shared borders with three countries: Armenia, Iran, Turkey. It is not a surprise that Aliyev talks about Armenia as an enemy. Whereas the references to Iran and Turkey are interesting.

Whom does he mean when he says that Nakhijevan is surrounded by enemies from “three sides” if not Iran and Turkey, two of the three neighbor countries? If he means not only bordering countries, what other countries does he mean?

Meanwhile, it is also known that in Nakhijevan Azerbaijan has formed a separate army which includes Turkish subdivisions as well. Moreover, the relationship between Nakhijevan and Turkey is bigger in the social and economic part. The people of Nakhijevan work in Turkey. The social and economic relations with Iran are also significant though they come after Turkey but most probably are ahead of Baku.

By the way, Aliyev’s other statement is that Nakhijevan must pursue growth of its own social and economic capacity and reduce its dependence on Baku’s subsidy. He also hints that Nakhijevan is practically divided between Turkey and Iran. And if add to this the Turkish factor in the military or political military aspect, it appears that de facto Nakhijevan does not belong to Azerbaijan.

On the other hand, speaking of enemies from three sides, Aliyev perhaps means a different arrangement which includes Russia as well. The question is whether Aliyev counts Russian instead of Armenia, Iran or Turkey among enemies surrounding Nakhijevan.

Nakhijevan was annexed by Azerbaijan under the Russian-Turkish treaty and though the treaty stipulated that Nakhijevan cannot be united with a third party, the treaty was signed for 100 years, and the end of the treaty is nearing, and Russia and Turkey will either prolong this treaty or face other arrangements with other perspectives.

This is the primary question for Aliyev because the centennial treaty on the Russian-Turkish relations has not been matching the actual regional setting for the past quarter century thanks to the Armenian victory in Artsakh. And it is beyond doubt that either victory is reversed or the framework for the Russian-Turkish relations, which already most probably brings forth the issue of Nakhijevan. It is obvious to Aliyev that in the context of the geopolitical tendency any significant U-turn is facilitated with regard to the issue of Nakhijevan rather than the issue of Artsakh.

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