‘Neo-Ottomanism’ vs ‘Greater Armenia’: What caused the war in Nagorno-Karabakh?

War won't end until this fascist ideology is defeated once and for all, repudiated by Armenians the same way as Nazism was eventually condemned by the Germans themselves after the war, writes Andrew Korybko

blank

The global pro-Armenian lobby has been propagating the infowar narrative that Turkey’s policy of so-called “Neo-Ottomanism” is responsible for the Nagorno-Karabakh continuation war, and that if it isn’t soon stopped by the international community, a “second genocide” is “imminent”. This warped version of events relies on rising Western dislike of Turkey’s increasingly independent foreign policy under President Erdogan and the growing influence of right-wing sentiment in Western countries. It doesn’t have any truth to it either. The real cause of the latest conflict is the regionally destabilizing ethno-religious ideology of “Greater Armenia”.

It’s not Turkey that is implementing a grand strategy of ethno-religious expansionism, but Armenia, and the latter proved that by forcing practically all Muslims to flee the country in the late Soviet era, invading Azerbaijan

Before explaining how Armenia is responsible for recent events, it’s important to dismantle the weaponized narrative against Turkey. Like the Ottoman era, the country is multiethnic and polyconfessional, but that is where the comparisons end. Modern day Turkey is constitutionally secular and has no intention to expand its territory. It’s also far from the so-called “sick man of Europe” that its Western peers used to mock it as. President Erdogan has restored Turkey’s regional prestige and is on the path to making it a globally significant great power once again. This frightens neo-colonial European powers.

Read more: Armenians flee Karabakh after Azerbaijan shelling, turning capital into ghost town

Those governments and their people have been preconditioned over the past decade to fear Turkey’s rise, just like they have been made to fear Russia’s and China’s as well. This makes it all the easier for their Armenian lobbies to fearmonger about Turkey’s strategic intentions in the south Caucasus. All that Turkey wants is to protect its borders even if the means that it employs have been controversial. For example, its military intervention in Syria was condemned by Damascus, though Ankara has a point in claiming that it’s motivated by anti-terrorist concerns stemming from the PKK terrorist group that’s taken power along swaths of the border.

The ideology of “Great Armenia”

Equally concerning for Turkey and its kindred Azerbaijani ally is the similar ethno-centric expansionist ideology of “Greater Armenia”, which conquered the universally recognized Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and its seven surrounding districts in the early 1990s. The armed separatists then ethnically cleansed over one million people. Unlike Kurdish ethno-nationalists, the Armenian ones incorporate a religious dimension to their ideology by portraying their cause as a Christian one trapped in an existential struggle with Islam. Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan hinted at this by recently describing the latest conflict as a “clash of civilizations”.

Armenia’s reported dispatch of PKK terrorists to Azerbaijan represents a dangerous development whereby, a joint alliance between Armenian and Kurdish extremists might soon threaten Turkey.

Read more: Putin invites Armenia, Azerbaijan foreign ministers for peace talks

Ironically, it’s the ideology of “Greater Armenia” which embodies everything that it’s lobbyists wrongly accuse “Neo-Ottomanism” of being. It’s not Turkey that is implementing a grand strategy of ethno-religious expansionism, but Armenia, and the latter proved that by forcing practically all Muslims to flee the country in the late Soviet era, invading Azerbaijan, and ethnically cleansing the non-Christian and non-Armenian locals there. Recent history isn’t the first time that “Greater Armenia” reared its head either since it was  first exploited by the Russian empire during its expansion into historic Ottoman and Persian domains.

Armenian Question

The so-called “Armenian Question” was a decades long imperialist plot to partition the northeastern part of the Ottoman Empire. Azerbaijani scholar Jamil Hasanli’s 2010 academic article titled “Karabakh: Looking Into The Past In Search Of The Truth” meticulously documents how Russian imperial authorities encouraged Armenian migration into that former khanate to advance their strategic aims at the time. It’s little wonder then that the Ottoman authorities feared that the “Eastern Anatolia Reform” which immediately preceded World War I would have made the partition of that part of their empire a fait accompli if successfully implemented.

Read more: Armenia, Azerbaijan agree ceasefire, start of ‘substantive’ talks

It also won’t end until this fascist ideology is defeated once and for all, repudiated by Armenians the same way as Nazism was eventually condemned by the Germans themselves after the war.

The tragic events of that global conflict which put a stop to those speculated plans led to the loss of many Armenian lives that this community and several dozen countries including Russia recognize as genocide, but it also saw the deaths of many non-Armenians during those wartime conditions who are often forgotten by many. The demographic changes resulting from those events made it impossible to repeat any Armenian-driven partition plot of post-war Turkey’s territory. It also saw the Armenians receive the first recognition of their own homeland during their brief period of independence, then incorporation into the USSR as a separate republic.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: A clash of civilizations

Armenia has been a member of the UN since early 1992 shortly after it regained its independence several months prior, yet it immediately sought to expand by supporting ethno-religious separatism in Azerbaijan. Its death squads massacred the non-Christian non-Armenian locals there, most infamously during the Khojaly massacre, and ultra-nationalists based in Armenia regularly claim that they one day intend to do the same within Turkey too. Armenia’s reported dispatch of PKK terrorists to Azerbaijan represents a dangerous development whereby, a joint alliance between Armenian and Kurdish extremists might soon threaten Turkey.

Read more: Pompeo voices sympathy for Armenia, hopes country will ‘defend’ itself against Azerbaijan

Armenia’s history of ethnic cleansing, the religious motivations that drove its death squads to carry out war crimes against over one million victims, and Pashinyan’s proclamation that the latest conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is a “clash of civilizations” prove what a regional threat the ideology of “Greater Armenia” has become. Ultra-nationalists in Armenia envision violently redrawing agreed upon international borders through genocide in order to reclaim the frontiers of their long-lost ancient kingdom. This intention goes against everything that international law stands for and should therefore, be condemned by all.

It was “Greater Armenia”, not “Neo-Ottomanism”, that provoked the Azerbaijani armed forces into launching their recent counteroffensive. Turkey did not occupy universally recognized Azerbaijani territory for nearly three decades, Armenia did, and it was Armenia which ethnically cleansed over one million non-Christian and non-Armenian locals from their homes. The war first began because of “Greater Armenia” and has continued until this day for the same reason. It also won’t end until this fascist ideology is defeated once and for all, repudiated by Armenians the same way as Nazism was eventually condemned by the Germans themselves after the war.

Read more: Missiles hit Azerbaijan after shelling of Armenia capital

Andrew Korybko is a political analyst, radio host, and regular contributor to several online outlets. He specializes in Russian affairs and geopolitics, specifically the US strategy in Eurasia. The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.


blank