On April 2, Armenia and Azerbaijan declared a dramatic escalation of the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Baku and Yerevan blamed each other for violating ceasefire that has been in place since 1994 and reported heavy fighting in the area, leading to losses from both sides.
Analysts made several assumptions on what could have fueled the escalation in the region.
First of all, the tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh may have been fueled by Azerbaijan, after the row escalated between Moscow and Ankara. The spat broke out after a Turkish jet downed
a Russian Su-24 bomber involved in the military operation in Syria.
Complications between Turkey and Russia have compromised implementation of large-scale energy projects, and today Ankara's political weight is supported only by economic projects initiated by Azerbaijan.
This was again confirmed by President of Azerbaijan Aliyev when he was recently visiting Ankara: "If Turkey is standing strong, we will be strong as well. Our strength lies in unity.
We are together in all international issues."
"Turkey is Azerbaijan's closest ally. Their relations have grown stronger while ties between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated," Viktor Nadein-Raevskiy, a senior fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said.
Yet, Turkish political scientist Hasan Oktay notices:
"Not only Turkey did not cope with the crisis, but failed to prevent its projection on all of the Turkic world. After November 24, when Russian military jet was downed, Davutoglu arrived in Azerbaijan and requested official Baku for help. The Turkic partner could have acted as a mediator in settlement of the Russian-Turkish crisis, but Prime minister's frantic behavior destroyed the entire balance."
Further Oktay points out: "The US worked very hard to drag Turkey into Syrian affair, in which they stuck themselves. In addition, after Iran settled agreement with the Americans, and embargo was lifted, Tehran stepped aside, practically leaving Russia and Turkey facing each other in a proxy war due to irreconcilable contradictions."
The course of events outside of Turkey as well as inside, urges Ankara to accept that it can't rely on support of its Western allies, and in this situation it is necessary to find a way out of the dead-end it found itself in. According to our sources, President Aliyev at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart could have passed a message from Moscow, as the day before he had a telephone conversation with President Putin.
Also, last week, the Turkish government signaled that Ankara was ready to normalize ties with Russia. During his visit to the US, Erdogan said relations between Moscow and Ankara should be restored. On the same day, Turkish media reported that Alparslan Çelik, the militant suspected of killing Oleg Peshkov, the pilot of the downed Russian jet, was arrested in Izmir.
President Vladimir Putin urged the warring sides to immediately observe the 1994 ceasefire and “to exercise restraint so as to avert new human casualties,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Sergey Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister, held an emergency phone talks with his Armenian and Azeri counterparts to discuss the possible solutions to this conflict.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow was keeping in touch with members of the OSCE Minsk group, which is responsible for monitoring the Karabakh truce. The group is currently co-chaired by Russia, the US, and France and also includes Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, and the two conflicting sides.
Сould this proxy conflict lead to a full blown proxy war, only time will tell, but we, certainly, hope for the cautious and leveled approach, despite obvious contradictions.
Proxy war is a conflict between two nations where neither country directly engages the other. While this can encompass a breadth of armed confrontation, its core definition hinges on two separate powers utilizing external strife to somehow attack the interests or territorial holdings of the other. This frequently involves both countries fighting their opponent's allies or assisting their allies in fighting their opponent.