Turkish president Recep Tayyib Erdogan was on an official visit to Russia last week. After bilateral meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyib Erdogan, VI meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council took place. Improving Russia and Turkey relations, implementing "Turkish flow” project, energy cooperation, Syria policy, joint fight against terrorism and others were among the topics discussed during the meeting. One of the noteworthy moments from the presidents’ meeting for us was Erdogan mentioning the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkish president touched upon the subject and said the solution of the conflict demands swift action. According to him, the recent events in the contact line shows how critical the situation is and how high the risk of renewed hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia is. Erdogan also stressed that it was important to start comprehensive talks to resolve the conflict. He noted that, Russia- one of the OSCE Minsk Group members – can play a decisive role in the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In the joint press conference held together with Vladimir Putin, Turkish president stated that they talked about the establishment of Turkey-Russia-Azerbaijan trilateral union during the meetings.
MP Elman Nasirov talked to "Kaspi” about the recent meeting of Russian and Turkish presidents and said the presidents not only talked about bilateral issues during the meeting but also the Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict.
According to MP, both sides voiced the opinion that the time had come for the resolution of the conflict: "It was stressed during the meetings that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was not a frozen conflict and it would, in any event, develop according to the most complicated scenario. Mr. Erdogan voiced opinions along these lines. He pointed out that Russia possesses many serious opportunities to resolve the conflict and is the more decisive party. In my opinion, this is also an important factor for Russia too. In most cases, the USA and France talks from the same perspective with regard to the conflict. But it is clear to everyone that Russia has the most power to pressure Armenia. Thus, improving Russia-Turkey ties can make these sides to have the same position on a number of important issues. And this can open new windows for the settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”.
Elkhan Shahinoghlu, political analyst and head of "Atlas” Research Center, said it was the fourth meeting between Turkish and Russian presidents after the plane downing incident between Turkey and Russia. According to him, the relations between two countries has entered normalization phase and is improving every day: "The main topic of discussion at the meeting was the Syrian conflict. But despite this, Turkish president brought up the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh both in his private meeting with Putin and during the 6th meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council. In general, Erdogan made two statements concerning Azerbaijan in that meeting. His first statement was regarding the formation of Russia-Azerbaijan- Turkey format. His other statement was about, as I mentioned earlier, the importance of accelerating the just resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Erdogan warned that if the conflict was not resolved soon, it could escalate into another war. And Turkish president is completely right. Erdogan mentions Nagorno-Karabakh in all of his meetings with his Russian counterpart. This is very important for us. But I don’t think Russia will make any effort to accelerate the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict after this trip. Erdogan just indirectly implies that the resolution of this conflict benefits Russia. Because if the conflict is resovled, then stability would be restored to the region and new opportunities for cooperation emerges. If Armenia agrees to the "stage by stage” solution of the conflict and ends its occupational policies, then they may even join this format in the future. But instead, they want us to agree to holding a referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange for liberation of 5 occupied towns. And this is not the fair resolution of the conflict. This is another action that favors Armenia. Azerbaijan will never agree to this proposition”.
In Shahinoghlu’s opinion, Putin might agree to Erdogan’s first suggestion about creating Russia-Azerbaijan-Turkey trilateral format. Expert thinks forming such a format works in everyone’s favor: "The trade turnover between Russia and Turkey is currently increasing and the goal is to increase it to 100 billion dollars. There are large projects that make it possible. Turkey is the strategic ally of Azerbaijan while Russia is a partner state. So naturally Azerbaijan wants to be a part of this process. Thus, launching a trilateral format benefits us too. Until now, there were Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan-Turkey, Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, Azerbaijan-Iran-Turkey, Azerbaijan-Russia-Iran formats. We are talking about forming the fifth such format. Occupier Armenia is not a part of any such formats. They are not interesting for anyone. The energy resources, financial potential of Azerbaijan makes it necessary for other countries to cooperate with us. It’s imperative that these countries accelerate the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Unfortunately, we are not seeing any results yet. Co-chairs’ latest visit allows us to make this observation. They show the same attitude to the occupied and the occupier country”.