Gulnara Mammadzade: "The interests of Turkey, Russia and Azerbaijan coincide and in no way contradict each other"
The Shusha declaration on allied relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey signed the day before is of historical importance, Director of the Baku Network Expert Platform Gulnara Mammadzadeh said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- In your opinion, what does the Shusha Declaration signed yesterday mean for Turkish-Azerbaijani relations?
- This declaration has historical significance, given the day on which it was signed - National Salvation Day. (On June 15, Azerbaijan celebrated one of its important state holidays. On that day in 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan - this was his return to the leadership of Azerbaijan, which had only recently restored its independence, ed.). As for the Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, this is an exit to a higher level of allied relations. But it is important to emphasize that the signing of the Shusha Declaration is important not only in the context of Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, since these relations are already, and have been, and will be at the highest level, but also for the entire region.
The document emphasizes the importance of maintaining stable peace, stability and security in general in the South Caucasus - laying the foundations for long-term peace and security, economic cooperation, taking into account the interests of all countries in this region. Russia, Iran, Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and even Armenia, if desired, receive great opportunities as a result of cooperation, which is indicated in the declaration. Items related to military-political cooperation are not directed against third countries. This is a certain guarantee that Azerbaijan and Turkey support each other at all levels. The declaration was signed after the participation of the Turkish President in the meeting of NATO members, which once again underlined the importance of Turkey as one of the leading powers in the region, not only in the South Caucasus, but also in Central Asia and the Middle East. This is a certain guarantee of safety over a large geographic area.
It is also about the opening of the Zangezur corridor, and about the construction of the Nakhchivan-Kars railway, which will contribute to the intensification of relations between the countries. These are serious economic projects that will bring the entire region to a higher level of economic development and provide serious security guarantees.
- How do you assess Erdogan's visit, during which he visited the liberated territories of Azerbaijan?
- Erdogan is the first leader of a foreign state to visit the liberated territories. This is symbolic, because Turkey has provided moral and political support to Azerbaijan throughout the 44-day war. The peoples of Azerbaijan and Turkey have close historical, cultural and political ties. Therefore, it is very important that Erdogan visited the territories.
The true owners have returned to these lands, which will revive the region in its cultural and historical significance. We see what the Armenian occupation left behind. Absolutely all territories are mined. If the maps of the minefields are not provided, it will take ten years to clear them, return refugees, displaced persons there, and establish an economic revival there. Azerbaijan returned to its ancestral territories, it is making great efforts to return these lands to cultural and historical economic significance. Therefore, the cultural and historical context of this meeting is very symbolic. This is the land belonging to the people of Azerbaijan, the Turkic peoples - this also has a certain symbolism.
- At the press conference, the leaders noted the importance of Russia's participation in the post-war processes in the region. In your opinion, what are the current relations in the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Russia triangle? How will the Shusha Declaration affect them?
- Everything that happens in this region, including in the context of Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, does not come into conflict with the interests of Russia. A long time ago a geopolitical, strategic triangle was formed, which is now receiving new development through specific situations. The interests of Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan coincide and in no way contradict each other. Unfortunately, with the submission of certain information resources, sometimes an incorrect interpretation of the ongoing processes occurs. But the President of Russia and the President of Turkey have repeatedly stated that they are coordinating their actions.
Russia has strengthened its presence in the South Caucasus region, acted as a key moderator in the negotiation process, and a Russian-Turkish monitoring center is operating. All these processes provide a balance of interests in the South Caucasus. Russia and Turkey agree on many issues, and Azerbaijan is an important mediator in these processes.
Russia is no less interested than Turkey and Azerbaijan in opening communications, since we are talking about highways and railways, including between Russia, Iran, and Armenia. The opening of communication simplifies the solution of many economic problems, but the most important thing is that a serious security platform is now being formed in the region.
I think that all these processes correspond to the interests of Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and other countries of the region. Unfortunately, so far Armenia does not react in any way to these initiatives. Perhaps the pre-election situation is affecting. Much will depend on what political forces will come to power in this country after the elections. But in any case, Armenia will have to fit into this process. In the meantime, it is trying to use the support of certain political forces to destabilize the situation in the region.
The Shusha Declaration just showed that no attempts to violate the status quo, which has formed in accordance with international law, can be violated, since there are forces that act as guarantors of security in this region.
- What, in your opinion, are the prospects for the 3 + 3 format with the participation of all regional states? What needs to be done for its full-fledged work?
- For its full-fledged work, everything necessary is being done. This economic configuration, which is being formed in the region, taking into account the opening of communications, will meet the interests of all three countries. When such an economic platform is formed, transport flows open up, and a political dialogue is established. It should be normalized, proceeding from the logic of the processes laid down by the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. In the future, it will be possible to talk about the establishment of relations between Russia and Georgia, between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Preconditions will be created for the signing of a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In a word, there is no serious alternative to these processes.
It is important to emphasize the role played by the President of Azerbaijan in initiating regional processes. The triangles Russia - Azerbaijan - Turkey, Russia - Azerbaijan - Iran were formed earlier. Today, these intersecting triangles provide a solid platform for regional cooperation. Now we need to minimize the destructive role of Armenia, which so far falls out of the process and even tries to hinder it. It is necessary to follow the spirit of the signed trilateral statements at the level of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia - these statements must reach the level of agreement. If the trilateral statements are fulfilled, then economic cooperation will begin to develop, which will entail the strengthening of this platform in the South Caucasus.