Ahead of the Turkish leader’s arrival, the Azerbaijani army marched through the streets of the capital Baku with devices and weapons seized from Armenians during the six-week conflict in the fall of 2020, rehearsal of a larger parade planned. Thursday which Mr. Erdogan will attend.
“The visit is an opportunity to celebrate together the glorious victory” of Azerbaijan in this conflict, welcomed Tuesday the Turkish presidency in a statement.
During this official trip, Mr. Erdogan will also meet with his counterpart Ilham Aliev.
The Turkish presidency also indicated that the visit should strengthen the ties between the two “brother countries” and will address the “legitimate right of Azerbaijan” regarding its claims on Nagorny Karabakh, Armenian separatist territory in Azerbaijani territory.
Turkey has firmly supported Azerbaijan in its deadly war against Armenian forces in this decades-long disputed mountainous Caucasus enclave. The fighting resulted in a cease-of-hostilities agreement negotiated under the aegis of Moscow, which recorded an Armenian military rout and granted important territorial gains to Baku.
This humiliating defeat for an Armenia which defeated Baku’s forces in a first war in the 1990s, has sparked celebrations in Azerbaijan and fury in Yerevan, where the opposition is now campaigning for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian .
Thanks to this agreement, Nagorny Karabakh, whose status is not settled, continues to exist, diminished and weakened. Russian peacekeepers are deployed in the region.
“One nation, two states”
Turkey, which through its support for Baku has reinforced its geopolitical weight in the Caucasus, a Russian precinct, will also participate in the monitoring of the ceasefire via a joint center with Russia, based in Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan would not have been able to achieve military success in Karabakh without Turkey’s open political support,” analyst Elhan Shahinoglu of the Baku-based Atlas think tank told ..
According to him, without Erdogan’s support, Russia, a regional power and an ally of Armenia, would have managed to put pressure on Baku and put an end to the fighting, as has been the case in other scuffles in recent years. .
During the war of recent months, Armenia accused Turkey of being directly involved in the fighting, which Ankara denies. Several countries including France have also denounced the sending to the front alongside the Azerbaijani forces of pro-Turkish fighters from Syria.
Turkey is seen as the hereditary enemy of Armenia, Yerevan keeping the memory of the Armenian genocide of the last century. The two countries closed their borders in 1993 and have had no diplomatic relations since.
Armenians estimate that 1.5 million of theirs were systematically killed by Ottoman Empire troops during World War I.
Turkey rejects the term genocide, citing reciprocal massacres.
In 2009, Erdogan rejected efforts at reconciliation with Yerevan under international auspices, insisting that diplomatic relations could only be restored after the Armenian forces withdrew from Nagorno Karabakh.
Usually symbolized by the slogan “One nation, two states”, the alliance between Turkey and Azerbaijan, a Turkish-speaking Muslim country, was forged when Baku gained its independence from the USSR in 1991 and was further strengthened under the presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The political, economic and military cooperation between the two countries has notably seen Turkey help Azerbaijan to train and equip its army and to facilitate the exports of hydrocarbons to Europe by bypassing Russia.