On June 9 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that after attending the NATO summit in Belgium on June 14, where he will once again be fêted as the guardian of NATO’s southern flank, he will pick up his brother (his exact word) Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku to tour part of conquered Nagorno-Karabakh. The two pan-Turkic expansionists of the new “one nation, two states” Turko-Azeri superstate will visit Shusha, “a historic city that was liberated by Azerbaijani forces in the closing days of the Karabakh war,” according to Turkey’s Daily Sabah. This is while Azerbaijani troops remain not only in Nagorno-Karabakh but in Armenia also after illegally entering the latter country in May. (The Turkish daily also referred to conquered Shusha as “the pearl of Nagorno-Karabakh.”)
Last year’s war by Azerbaijan and Turkey against defenseless Nagorno-Karabakh (with a pre-war population of 145,000) was celebrated by the president of Azerbaijan in April with comments like, “We have created a new reality by shedding blood,” “Everyone should reckon with us today” and “Our victory is not only the victory of our people, the entire Turkic world is proud of it.”
Although there are thirty Turkic-speaking nationalities in Russia that Turkey and its Turkic Council allies (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) are eager to “liberate,” the government of Vladimir Putin recognized Azerbaijan’s seizure of Shusha and other parts of Nagorno-Karabakh despite its military commitment to fellow Collective Security Treaty Organization Member Armenia, part of whose territory (see above) is currently occupied by Azerbaijani troops. (Erdoğan has hardly been shy in demanding that Crimean Tatars be “liberated” from Russia.)
The Russian state news agency TASS yesterday ran the headline Russian, Turkish diplomats discuss Syria, Karabakh, Ukraine – Russian Foreign Ministry for a story with the subhead of Moscow and Ankara reaffirmed their commitment to further coordination of efforts to strengthen peace and stability in those regions. One wouldn’t know from the language used that Turkey opposes Russian interests in all three areas; that in fact Turkey is supporting governments and rebels in armed conflict with Russian allies in the three instances.
Yesterday’s Ukrainian press reported that the nation’s cabinet approved a deal to stick a thumb in Moscow’s eye in revealing that “Ukraine and Turkey will cooperate on the construction of housing for the Crimean Tatar people, internally displaced persons, participants in the Joint Forces Operation area.” Joint Forces Operation is the current name for what for years was called the Anti-Terrorist Operation: the war against the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the Donbass. The government and armed forces of the two republics are still uniformly referred to as terrorists by the government of Ukraine, Turkey’s strategic ally, to which Ankara has recently supplied Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (which it will provide to Poland shortly; the first time to a NATO nation), which were used by Azerbaijan in its war against Nagorno-Karabakh last year. The Turkish-Ukrainian agreement on constructing housing for Crimean Tatars and relatives of Ukrainian soldiers was signed on April 21st of this year.
After a meeting of the leader of the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Maria Mezentseva, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on June 8, the Ukrainian participant was quoted saying: “Our meeting took place on the eve of the NATO summit, so we discussed the prospect of Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance in general, and the text of the communiqué, which will be adopted following the upcoming meeting in Brussels in particular.” The National News Agency of Ukraine (Ukrinform) offered this opening paragraph in reporting on the meeting: “Turkey supports Ukraine’s aspirations for obtaining candidate status and further permanent NATO membership, consistently supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and does not recognize annexation of Crimea by Russia.”
The Ukrainian parliamentarian also thanked the Turkish foreign minister for his initiative to provide healthcare services for “children whose parents died or were injured in ATO/JFO [Anti-Terrorist Operation/Joint Forces Operation] area,” saying that over a thousand children had already been enrolled in the program.
Turkey’s neo-Ottoman, anti-Russian (Erdoğan annually denounces Russia’s treatment of Muslim Circassians following the Crimean War some 120 years ago) expansionist crusade will not end with the “liberation” of Nagorno-Karabakh, northern Iraq, northeastern Syria and Cyprus. Apparently no one in Moscow has figured that out yet.
Rick Rozoff is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.