Azerbaijan’s Slow Drift Toward Turkey

This month’s flare-up may represent more than another clash between Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

On July 12, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces clashed in the Tovuz border region – far from the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, where such clashes usually take place – and the sporadic violence has continued ever since. At first, the countries’ two larger neighbors with a geopolitical interest in the region, Russia and Turkey, did not interfere. On July 23, however, Russian forces took part in pre-planned exercises with Armenian troops. The Azerbaijani government promptly announced that it would host large joint air and ground exercises with Turkey. Armenia’s position against Turkey is fixed, a product of a century of bad blood, but Azerbaijan has traditionally attempted to balance between Russia and Turkey. This month’s flare-up, however, may represent more than another scuffle between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. It may instead mark the beginning of a gradual realignment by Baku away from balancing and toward Ankara. Turkey’s Ascent, Russia’s Descent Turkey’s and Russia’s interests intersect in the Caucasus. For Russia, having allies in the South Caucasus guarantees a degree of stability in its border regions. Moreover, Azerbaijan provides Russia with strategic access to the Middle East. Turkey, which is enmeshed in the gradual construction of a neo-Ottoman project to establish its dominance in the […]

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Ekaterina Zolotova
Ekaterina Zolotova is an analyst for Geopolitical Futures. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Zolotova participated in several research projects devoted to problems and prospects of Russia’s integration into the world economy. Ms. Zolotova has a specialist degree in international economic relations from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Ms. Zolotova studied international trade and international integration processes. Her thesis was on features of economic development of Venezuela. She speaks native Russian and is fluent in English.