The most dangerous probability of a ‘Russian-Turkish’ war over the on-going war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, where the former was with Armenia and the latter with Azerbaijan, has been averted as Russian president Vladimir Putin called both the warring nations foreign ministers to Moscow and both have decided to call for a truce.
The 14-days war which saw hundreds killed has come to an end, well almost, after 10 hours of talks, and a ceasefire agreement.
The picture emanating from the theatre of Nagorno-Karabagh war zone is that Turkey has emerged as a clear victor as Ankara went ahead with its full support towards Azerbaijan while Armenia who was beleived to be supported Russia and European Union could not find any help coming, especially from Moscow.
On October 10, 2020, a report at News.Az reported that Azerbaijan had destroyed Armenia’s S-300 system and it was here when Russia decided to call for a halt.
However, as a matter of fact, the Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan played his cards well as Iran which was initially playing ‘neutral’ in the conflict become jittery over the possibility of an ‘unrest’ by around 20 million Azerbaijani Turks living in Iran, which made Tehran draw its feet from openly supporting Russia, which was a way to support Armenia.
Hence, before things were to go-out-of-hand, Putin, Erdogan, Iranian president Rouhani – the major players in the conflict, decided to douse the fire! As after all, if this battle was to escalate then it would have meant all the anti-US forces fighting amongst themselves.
Turkey and Russia have also been lately engaged in joint military drills in the Mediterranean sea which is on both the sides of Cyprus and had thus, silenced Greece and other European allies, particularly France and the UAE, in their ‘front’ against Turkey.
Turkey on October 8, 2020, detected Greek F-16 fighters by its Russian supplied S-400 which obviously has enraged the US senators who have pressed for sanctions against Turkey and going the stride with which Turkey is moving, it won’t be a surprise that Turkey may even shoot-down US-origin F-16, which would be considered as something unprecedented in the history of modern warfare, and could change the entire power dynamics in the European region.
No wonder voices are gaining in size to expel Turkey from NATO of which it is a member since 1952.
Russia gauged the escalating situation and did not let the conflict ‘spar over’ as Azerbaijan supported by Turkey was in an advantageous position over Armenia. Russia also analysed that it may lose Iran as ‘a long time ally’, as Tehran was constrained by its Azerbaijani Turk population.
Erdogan, meanwhile also visited Qatar on October 7, 2020, for financial-assistance, according to a report by Al Jazeera where he was given an assurance that Qatar would provide the financial bulwark to Turkey as it has done in the past.
Turkey considers Qatar as its vicegerent to its erstwhile Turkish Empire or Caliphate which came to an end after World War-I. Here, after this ceasefire brokered by Russia, the Arab-states which are now head-over-heels with Israel will be further deterred by the rising presence of Erdogan as he did not ‘back-out’ from supporting Azerbaijan despite being a strong ally of Russia.
The ‘cessation of hostilities’ charted by Russia is surely a victory for Azerbaijan which by extension is a victory of Turkey. Turkey is now clearly straddling towards its leadership goals and has taken Pakistan in its stride and has time and again echoed the Kashmir sentiment from Pakistan perspective which has spelt a wrong message for India.
All the Arab-states are now in the bloc against Turkey which is raring to make another bloc with Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran with Russia and China support against the ‘unofficial bloc’ which has the Arab states along with India, Israel, US, Japan, Australia etc.
Pakistan, therefore, quite understandably stood by Azerbaijan, more particularly so, as Azerbaijan had offered to supply oil to Pakistan as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had decided to scrap oil on deferred loan to Pakistan, on August 14, 2020.
China has already pushed Russia to sell S-400 to Iran, informs Eurasian Times on October 9, 2020, and the possibility of Pakistan accruing to them in any near future cannot be ruled out, as China considers Pakistan ‘quite-close’ to it. India is slated to get to S-400s by 2021.
Russia had to get its act together and acted swiftly to avert any dangerous situation which could have disturbed its polity, as it has come to be known, through a report via En.Armradio.Am on October 7, 2020, that Afghanistan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was ready to send Afghan mercenaries to Azerbaijan and also that the Russian intelligence chief had apprehended that Azerbaijan could become a launchpad for Islamic militants to enter Russia.
Penned By Haider Abbas. The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics.