Azerbaijan faces unwelcome dilemma


On February 19 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to visit Azerbaijan in the framework of the 5th meeting of the Turkey-Azerbaijan High-Level Strategic Cooperation.

The event was scheduled to be held in Ganja but the day before the alleged meeting, Aliyev had left there himself to make sure that the preparations are made properly and being disappointed, announced that the meeting would be held in Baku.

The Turkish president canceled his official visit to the unknown term in the result of blast in Ankara, which killed dozens of people and which was qualified as terrorism by the Turkish authorities.

Erdogan-Aliyev meeting may have had a significant regional importance, as in addition to formal issues on the agenda, it was expected to define Azerbaijan’s stance related to Russia-Turkey day by day growing conflict.

After destroying the Russian plane, when the Russian-Turkish relations first noticeably escalated, Aliyev announced he was willing to mediate to defuse the current tension between Erdogan and Putin, but as we see the Russian-Turkish relations are deteriorating day by day.

It is obvious that Baku will soon face a dilemma, from which it has been avoiding for months, hoping that the official Ankara and Moscow will restore good relation.

Erdogan expects a clear response from Aliyev, whether Azerbaijan is to join Muslim countries’ coalition, initiated by Saudi Arabia.

Joining the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and the coordinated stance with Turkey mean contradiction to Russian interests.

Joining the anti-Russian coalition creates internal threats to the country.

The radical currents of Islam are becoming widespread in Azerbaijan by the sponsorship of Saudi Arabia, some of which are fighting in the Islamic State terrorist organization.

The Islamic opposition in Azerbaijan, where the real opposition members are imprisoned or expelled from the country has started to become stronger.

The Russian side has announced several times on the level of the Foreign Ministry’s representatives that it is not going to do anything harmful to Baku and called for Aliyev to be neutral about this matter.

A pre-cautionary cue can be regarded the discovery of selling offensive arms to Armenia.
Azerbaijan is well-aware that the anti-Russian stance may have a direct impact on the Karabakh conflict peace settlement process, weakening the positions of Azerbaijan.

In addition to the military and political assistance to Armenia, Russia may provoke internal dissentions in the Azeri regions near the border.

Being on Saudi Arabia side means directly striking to Iran.

If Azerbaijan did not participate in the anti-Iranian initiatives by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, this step can be regarded a sign of obvious hostility by Iran.

Azerbaijan actually faces a grave dilemma. Giving preference to any of the parties, large-scale losses are expected from the opposite poll. Either hostility from the two bordering countries or a strike from the ally countries.

By Anna Barseghyan

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