Despite its adamant posturing for an end to the Armenian occupation of Azeri territories and vocal questioning of the efficiency of the Minsk Group, Ankara is well aware of its limits in the Caucasus, a Russian sphere of influence for two centuries. It has no choice but to limit its ambitions to gaining some meaningful role on the Minsk platform. It would be ready to join a cease-fire monitoring mission proposed by the Minsk Group about a decade ago if such an initiative finally takes off. Confining the mission to some form of Turkish-Russian collaboration, similar to the Turkish-Russian joint patrols in Syria, would be an even better outcome for Ankara. This, however, would mean Russian acquiescence to role-sharing with Turkey, a highly unlikely prospect.
An escalation in fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region has coincided with Turkey’s becoming more directly involved in the conflict – including by allegedly sending in Syrian mercenaries. Ankara’s more direct engagement has made the intensifying conflict all the more unpredictable. More importantly, it is an indication that Turkey is now
Turkey’s foreign policy activity is probably designed to create an additional platform for foreign policy bargaining with Moscow on issues of interest to Ankara, and by no means only in the South Caucasus. Along with bilateral interaction with Azerbaijan and with the countries of Central Asia, political, economic and humanitarian cooperation within the framework of the “Turkic Council” is being strengthened, Political analyst Andrei Areshev, editor-in-chief of