Politics 15:35 01/11/2023 World

Uzay Bulut։ Pan-Turkism has received a boost through the 2020-23 Azeri-Turkish genocide against Artsakh

Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist, political analyst, researcher of "The Philos Project" formerly based in Ankara. She has extensively reported on and analyzed Azerbaijan's 2020-23 war and genocide against Artsakh. Ermenihaber.am spoke with Uzay Bulut.

- Why do you think Turkey has actively supported Azerbaijan's illegal blockade, bombardment, and the invasion of Artsakh?  

- Pan-Turkism and Islamic jihad are the driving ideologies behind the 2020-2023 Azeri-Turkish war which included genocide against Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh.

The ideology of Pan-Turkism (i.e. Turkism, pan-Turanism or Turanism) argues for the superiority of a supposed Turkish race and wants to unite all “Turks” under one country called "Turan" which would span from Europe to the Far East. It mainly targets Central Asia, including some parts of Russia.

For instance, look at this 2021 photo. It shows a map of the Turkic-speaking world being accepted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from his coalition partner and leader of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli.

The map includes not only Turkey, but also large areas of southern Russia and Siberia, parts of Greece, parts of the Balkans, Central Asia, China’s Xinjiang region, Mongolia, and Iran. In other words, it depicts a so-called “Great Turan”.

Hence, the governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan see Armenia as an obstacle blocking their Turkist-Turanist project.

That’s why, they aim to wipe out Armenia from the map. That’s why, the war and genocide against Artsakh is not just about Artsakh. Turks and Azeris openly say their next target is Armenia. Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, refers to Armenia as “western Azerbaijan”.

If implemented, then this expansionist and Islamic-supremacist project would endanger the security and stability of both the West and Russia.

- What do you think about Armenian-Turkish current relations? In your opinion at what stage is the relationship at this moment? 

- Since 2020, the world has witnessed a repeat of the 1915 Armenian genocide in Artsakh committed by Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Turkey is acting like a Nazi government against Armenians. In Turkey's eyes, Armenia should either cease to exist or be completely dependent on Turkey, just like an Ottoman province (vilayet) would. Both are unacceptable options for the security and sovereignty of Armenia. That is why, Armenia should not fall into the trap of those so-called normalization claims by Turkey.

Normalizing its relations with Turkey right now would have suicidal consequences for Armenia. There should be no normalization between Turkey and Armenia until Turkey becomes a civilized State.

- What do you think of Russia's role in the Pan-Turkist project?

- For centuries, history included Turkish-Russian wars and competition over the vast lands of Crimea, Ukraine, Moldovia, the Black Sea, and the Caucasus Mountains. As Mikael Yalanuzyan, a researcher of history, notes:

"The first Russo-Turkish war took place in the 16th century. To date, the two empires have faced off on the battlefield 12 times. The rivalry between the Russian and Turkish empires extended to the Caucasus, Crimea and the Balkan Peninsula, highlighting their military-economic interests in the Black Sea basin. Despite alternating successes, Russia was able to oust Turkey from the north and northeast during those wars, and also from the Caucasus."

These same areas and many more are also within what pan-Turkists today claim as Turkic lands.

If this pan-Turkist project materializes, Russia will certainly not remain a main player. Russia will eventually be discarded and excluded from the region by Turks. For pan-Turkism is a Turkic- and Islamic supremacist ideology. Russia’s belief that it will eventually benefit from pan-Turkism and the jihadism of Turkey and Azerbaijan is delusional.

Unfortunately, pan-Turkism has received a boost through the 2020-23 Azeri-Turkish genocide against Artsakh. The outcome emboldens Turkey to bypass Russia by establishing a direct commercial energy route to Central Asia and Siberia.

As prominent journalist Alison Tahmizian Meuse noted: "As for Russia, they failed to outmaneuver a Trojan horse [in Artsakh] and allowed the ruin of people [Armenians] they've fought shoulder-to-shoulder with for centuries."

The State of Turkey, clearly, does not see Russia as an ally. The strategic goals and worldviews of these two states are fundamentally different. Turkey is just using and exploiting Russia for its expansionist goals in the region to eliminate Armenians. If pan-Turkists gain victory in the Caucasus and Central Asia, they will also constitute a major threat against Russia. A 2011 report by Paul Goble for the Jamestown Foundation noted that Russia was increasingly concerned about Turkey’s growing influence over Moldova’s Gagauz minority.

Russia and Armenia, however, previously had a meaningful historic relationship. Russia should strive to stop this disastrous pan-Turkist project not only for Armenia's future, but also for the security of Russia, the Balkans, eastern Europe, and Asia.

In fact, this is an area where Russia and the West could cooperate for their mutual interests. Both the US and Russia should thus defend and support Armenia’s self-defense against the genocidal crimes committed by Turkey and Azerbaijan. They should stop the implementers of this imperialistic pan-Turkist project, which is trying to recreate Central Asia as a “Turkic empire” by eliminating Armenia and turning it into a non-sovereign, Turkic province. This is what the government of Armenia must strive to make the world understand.

- You don’t share the main principles of Erdogan’s policy and government at all even though Erdogan was re-elected. What consequences has this stance created for you?

- I've been in self-imposed exile for the past 8 years.

- In Your opinion, will the “Zangezur Corridor” become a reality? Will the Turkey succeed, or will Armenia not allow it?

- The pan-Turkist project requires the "Zangezur corridor" to connect Turkey through Nakhichevan with Azerbaijan and further with the entire "Turkic world". Armenia has always prevented this simply by its very existence.

Now the Turkish media is busy with anti-Armenian propaganda targeting southern Armenia. The headline in the pro-Erdogan newspaper Turkiye on October 5 was particularly striking. It refers to Armenians in Syunik (Zangezur) as "a snake", "gangs", and "terrorists" who are receiving military training from Western soldiers and Iran. When the Turkish media uses such words, its intent is to prepare the public for an upcoming war against an "enemy".

Meanwhile, on his plane returning from Azerbaijan, President Erdoğan told journalists on September 26: "The realization of this [Zangezur] corridor, which is very important for Turkey and Azerbaijan, is a strategic issue and must be completed."

I believe that Armenia's strategy should be to urgently strengthen its alliances with regional and global powers rather than Turkey and Azerbaijan.   

- After the 44-day war, Turkey's role in the South Caucasus has increased significantly. Considering this fact, when do you think a new war will erupt?

- Turkey and Azerbaijan have not stopped their war against Armenians since 2020 despite many “ceasefires.”  Appeasing genocidal tyrants such as Erdogan and Aliyev cannot prevent a war. On the contrary, the more compromises made, the more demands come. Hence, I think Armenia needs to strengthen its regional and global alliances, fix its relationships with its allies and partners, empower its military and raise a world-wide information campaign to tell the world that if the pan-Turkist, imperialistic project of Turkey and Azerbaijan materializes, Turkic forces will continue to bring death, damage and destruction not only to Armenians but also to millions of others in the wider region.

Source Panorama.am
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