Towards Turkish peace in Trans-Caucasus - SELÇUK TÜRKYILMAZ

Towards Turkish peace in Trans-Caucasus

There is talk of reports about Azerbaijani forces reaching Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh and, as a matter of fact, that they have indeed entered the city. This is a critical development in terms of the reinstatement of a right to its lawful owners. If, after Shusha, Azerbaijan forces take the militarily critical positions as well and cut off Karabakh’s association with Armenia, it will be possible to advance to a more important stage. This way, part of the lands lost by Caucasus Turks-Muslims in the 1917 chaos atmosphere, will be won back. The winning back in question will be realized when those who lost return to their former homeland, the security concern is completely eliminated, and the Azerbaijan state ensures its authority. The security concern requires attention, because during the chaos era that was onset with the October Revolution in 1917, Armenians committed massacres in almost every province.

We have vast knowledge today concerning the rescue process of Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupied lands, as well as the Caucasus. However, Turkey was not well aware of the murders Armenians committed towards the end of World War I, starting from Eastern Anatolia to lands reaching as far as the Caspian Sea. When Armenians started gaining authority in lands vacated by the Russians, Muslims were highly concerned about security in many places, including Yerevan. Hundreds of Muslim villages were vacated, and foundations were laid for today’s map. The purge of the Zangezur area from Muslims, which separated Nakhichevan from Azerbaijan, is among the events that took place during this period. This also thus cut off land ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

At the time Enver Pasha received Azerbaijan Turks’ request for help, he had no knowledge of Armenians’ preparations for massacres in Eastern Anatolia and Southern Caucasus. Despite this, preparations were made in a swift manner and troops took action. Nuri Pasha reached the city of Ganja on May 25, 1918. On May 28, the Republic of Azerbaijan declared its independence. In the period until the establishment of Soviet sovereignty, Armenians, backed by Western states such as France, the U.K., and the U.S., wanted victory in Nagorno-Karabakh as well.

In negotiations with Tbilisi, the Ottoman side advised Azerbaijan representatives to avoid insisting on 5-10 villages. According to Ottoman representatives, Armenians would achieve their goals in regions where they were the dominant population. This was based on the fact that Armenians were backed by Western states. Therefore, Azerbaijan representatives had to focus on Karabakh and other regions.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan representatives inform the Ottoman side that the problem is beyond 5-10 villages. According to Armenians, Karabakh is a much more comprehensive issue. The Azerbaijani delegation was aware of Armenian plans to take complete control over Shusha, Javanshir, Jabrayil, and Zangezur. Thus, with their terrorization acts, Armenian gangs drive out the Turkish and Muslim public from numerous provinces, including Yerevan. Cold-blooded massacres take place in many villages and cities. Armenians aim for complete control over Karabakh.

Lands, including Nagorno-Karabakh experienced two Armenian attacks in the waning days of World War I and the bipolar world order. The Azerbaijani side experienced defeat in both instances. In the first instance, Zangezur was annexed to Armenia, thus severing Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan’s ties, while in the 1990s, 20 percent of Azerbaijan territory was occupied with Nagorno-Karabakh. This meant the loss of the cities the Azerbaijan delegation was focusing on in 1918. As in every instance, Armenia was backed by Western states in the 1990s as well.

Today we are receiving news reporting that Azerbaijan forces have reached Shusha and, as a matter of fact, that they have entered the city. Shusha is a city along the Khankendi and Lachin corridors. Let us leave the military importance and the effects of the course of the wars to the experts and suffice by underscoring the necessity to conduct an elaborate analysis on the views of Azerbaijan forces and the Azerbaijan administration, as well as the Armenians of Karabakh. Establishing the differences between the diaspora Armenians living in Europe and the U.S. and the Armenians of Karabakh will determine the steps to be taken from now on. Caucasus Turks and Muslims are looking forward to returning to Azerbaijan territory, from which they were driven out. Carrying on this process within the scope of a specific plan and program will bring Turkish peace to the Trans-Caucasus. There is no doubt that this will be a major change.

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