NAGORNO-KARABAKH CONFLICT (It is recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it is controlled by ethnic Armenians)



In the 1920s, the Soviet government established the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region—where 95 percent of the population is ethnically Armenian—within Azerbaijan. Under Bolshevik rule, fighting between the two countries was kept in check, but, as the Soviet Union began to collapse, so did its grip on Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 1988, the Nagorno-Karabakh legislature passed a resolution to join Armenia despite the region’s legal location within Azerbaijan’s borders. As the Soviet Union was dissolving in 1991, the autonomous region officially declared independence. War erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region, leaving roughly thirty thousand casualties and hundreds of thousands of refugees. By 1993, Armenia controlled Nagorno-Karabakh and occupied 20 percent of the surrounding Azerbaijani territory. In 1994, Russia brokered a cease-fire which has remained in place since.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been a frozen conflict for more than a decade, but artillery shelling and minor skirmishes between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops have caused hundreds of deaths. Early April 2016 witnessed the most intense fighting since 1994, killing dozens and resulting in more than three hundred casualties. After four days of fighting, the two sides announced that they had agreed on a new cease-fire. However, a breakdown in talks was followed by repeated cease-fire violations, and tensions have remained high.

Negotiation and mediation efforts, primarily led by the Minsk Group, have failed to produce a permanent solution to the conflict. The Minsk Group, a mediation effort led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), was created in 1994 to address the dispute and is co-chaired by the United States, France, and Russia. The co-chairs organize summits between the leaders of the two countries and hold individual meetings. The group has successfully negotiated cease-fires, but the territorial issues remain as intractable as ever. In October 2017, the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Geneva under the auspices of the Minsk Group, beginning a series of talks on a possible settlement of the conflict. However, talks have yet to produce concrete results.

Because Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenian military forces are positioned close to each other and have little to no communication, there is a high risk that inadvertent military action could lead to an escalation of the conflict. The two sides also have domestic political interests that could cause their respective leaders to launch an attack.

Armenia is majority Christian while Azerbaijan is majority Muslim. Turkey has close ties to Azerbaijan, while Russia is allied with Armenia – although it also has good relations with Azerbaijan.
Moreover, Turkey has no official relations with Armenia. In 1993 Turkey shut its border with Armenia in support of Azerbaijan during the war over Nagorno-Karabakh.


Recent Developments

In 2018, Armenia underwent a peaceful revolution, sweeping long-time ruler Serzh Sargsyan from power. Protest leader Nikol Pashinyan became the prime minister after free elections that year. Mr Pashinyan agreed with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to de-escalate tensions and set up the first military hotline between the two countries.

But in August 2019 Mr Pashinyan told crowds of ethnic Armenians assembled in the main city in Karabakh, Stepanakert, that “Artsakh is Armenia, full stop.” Artsakh is the Armenian name for Karabakh. The remarks angered Azerbaijan and were repeatedly condemned by President Aliyev.

The risk of military conflict is escalating in Nagorno-Karabakh, the border region claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan, due to the failure of mediation efforts, increased militarization, and frequent cease-fire violations. In late September 2020, heavy fighting broke out along the border—the most serious escalation since 2016. More than one thousand soldiers and civilians have been killed, with hundreds more wounded on both sides. Armenia and Azerbaijan initially rejected pressure from the United Nations and countries like the United States and Russia to hold talks and end hostilities, and instead pledged to continue fighting. Tensions escalated further when both sides switched from cross-border shelling to the use of longer-range artillery and other heavy weaponry. In early October 2020, Russia negotiated a cease-fire, which broke down;
two additional cease-fires were negotiated by France in coordination with Russia and the United States, and then the United States directly. These cease-fires also collapsed almost immediately as fighting continued with reported violations by both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

These recent hostilities follow a series of cross-border attacks that occurred over the summer, including four days of clashes and shelling in July 2020 that killed an Azerbaijani general and nearly twenty people.


The peace deal, which was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s prime minister, took effect on Tuesday from 01:00 local time (21:00 GMT Monday), 10th nov.

Under the deal, Azerbaijan will hold on to areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that it has taken during the conflict. Armenia has also agreed to withdraw from several other adjacent areas over the next few weeks.

The peace deal, which was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s prime minister, took effect on Tuesday from 01:00 local time (21:00 GMT Monday).

Under the deal, Azerbaijan will hold on to areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that it has taken during the conflict. Armenia has also agreed to withdraw from several other adjacent areas over the next few weeks.

But Turkey, indeed, has a say in the region not only because of the UAVs it sent.

There is a more important reason why Turkey has a say in the South Caucasus that goes
beyond the UAVs it sent. The international community has not taken any helpful steps
to end the yearslong occupation and has turned a blind eye to it. Turkey, on the other
hand, is one of the few countries that has contributed to the solution for the first time in
almost 30 years by providing the necessary support for occupied Azerbaijan both on the
ground and at the table.

If countries such as France and Canada, instead of fighting against Turkey’s growing
influence, first make a call to urge Armenia to withdraw from the occupied territories, to establish an international guarantor mechanism and to set a schedule for this withdrawal, perhaps they can sit at the same table as Turkey. This may be the only method promising hope for solving this problem, which has become like gangrene in the current situation.





Iran is officially neutral and has sought to play the role of a mediator,[223] most notably in 1992. In its official statements, Iran calls for a peaceful settlement[224] and restraint during skirmishes.[225] At the same time, Iranian officials have repeatedly reaffirmed their support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.[g] Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi stated in 2020 that “While respecting the territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, Iran is fundamentally opposed to any move that would fuel conflict between the two neighbouring countries of the Azerbaijan Republic and Armenia.”[231]


UPDATE: 28.02.21

Armenian President Armen Sarkisian said on Saturday he had refused to sign the Prime
Minister’s order to dismiss the Army’s Chief of Staff, deepening a national political crisis.

The ex-Soviet nation has faced turmoil since Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a Moscow-brokered peace accord in November, sealing a humiliating defeat to Azerbaijan after six weeks of fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Divisions widened on Thursday when Mr. Pashinyan defied a call by the military to resign, accused the Army of an attempted coup, and ordered the Chief of the General Staff Onik Gasparyan to be fired.

On Saturday, Armenian President Sarkisian said that he would not back the sacking. “The president of the republic, within the framework of his constitutional powers, returned the draft decree with objections,” the presidency said. It added that the political crisis “cannot be resolved through frequent personnel changes”.

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