AZERTAC (the Azerbaijan State News Agency) recently conducted an interview with one Isak Novruzov, chairman of the Council of Elders of Azerbaijanis in Georgia, with the headline Shusha Declaration will serve the unity of the Turkic world, ensuring stability and security in the region.
Shusha, known as Shushi to Armenians, is a city in that part of Nagorno-Karabakh conquered last year in the Turkish-backed invasion of the region by the armed forces of Azerbaijan. Arguably the most brutal attack by a major military power – or rather two major military powers – on a minuscule entity in modern times, the world sat back and watched 44 days of the war with unconcern. That will be a blot on the consciences of the world’s nations forever.
The day after attending the NATO summit in Belgium, where he had several one-on-one talks with other heads of state, including Joe Biden, Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Baku, Azerbaijan to pick up his brother Ilham Aliyev and travel to the captured city of Shusha/Shushi in Nagorno-Karabakh to gloat over their joint military “victory” over the 145,000 residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, including 70,000 people displaced and the relatives of over 4,000 troops killed. Erdogan and Aliyev are proud of their handiwork and so are their NATO sponsors.
The Azeri in Georgia celebrated the visit because:
- Erdogan became the first foreign head of state to visit the liberated city of Shusha
- The festive atmosphere and proud moments we have observed since the first moment of the Turkish President’s visit to Shusha are proof of the inviolability of our unity
- the signing of the Shusha Declaration between the two Turkic brothers
Not forgetting that the person speaking is a Georgian national, though his loyalties clearly lie elsewhere, the assertion was made that the declaration, which is really a bilateral cooperation pact with a military component at its core, “will serve the unity of the Turkic world, ensuring stability and security in the region, the development of Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship in new strategic directions.” A Georgian citizen is celebrating a strategic relationship between two nations other than his own with the overriding concern being that of the broader Turkic world.
He also said the Shusha Declaration demonstrates to the “whole world” the inevitability of pan-Turkic dominance in the South Caucasus and “marked the beginning of a new regional order in the form of the union of Azerbaijan and Turkey.”
Virtually declaring his (nominal) homeland an extension of the new neo-Ottoman empire, he added: “As the Council of Elders of the Azerbaijanis of Georgia, we consider this Declaration to be the beginning of a new order and reality for the Azerbaijanis of Georgia.”
Along the same lines, he said “Georgian Azerbaijanis believe that the Azerbaijani-Turkish unity and brotherhood serve not only the development of these two countries, but also Georgia and other countries in the region….” By region he appears to mean the Caucasus (Russia’s North Caucasus as well?) and the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions.
With some 650,000 troops, Turkey could overrun Georgia in a day – if it would even take that long. If it did so, even though Georgia has been a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner since last year, the U.S. and NATO wouldn’t do anything about it except to recommend “both sides” exercise restraint. NATO wouldn’t do any more than it has when Turkey has engaged in acts of military intervention and aggression in Iraq, Syria, Nagorno-Karabakh and Libya (except provide it with military assistance); it wouldn’t do any more than it would – which is say nothing – if Turkey were to invade Cyprus; if it were to announce it was creating a “humanitarian corridor” into Crimea to deliver Tatars from genocide. Russia, Azerbaijan’s strategic partner, would do no more if Georgia invaded.
To learn what the terms of the Shusha Declaration mean for “Georgia and other countries in the region,” here are verbatim excerpts from the document:
- Expressing the need for mutual coordination of activities in regional and international strategic issues of common interest,
- Proceeding from the principles of solidarity and mutual assistance in bilateral and multilateral formats in such issues of national interest as independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey, inviolability of their internationally recognized borders,
- Combining efforts in promoting joint activities on the regional and international plane aimed at the stable development of the Turkic world,
- Emphasizing that the wise sayings of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and the national leader of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev, “The joy of Azerbaijan is our joy and its sorrow is ours too” and “One nation, two states”, are regarded as the national and spiritual heritage of our peoples,
- The sides proudly declare that Azerbaijan, having won a victory during the 44-day Patriotic war, put an end to the aggressive policy of Armenia that lasted for 30 years, liberated its lands from occupation, secured the victory of justice and the restoration of international law.
- Azerbaijan highly appreciates the moral and political support of the Republic of Turkey in ending the 30-year Armenian aggression, liberating the occupied lands and restoring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
- The parties note the importance of coordinating their foreign policies and holding regular bilateral political consultations and emphasize in this context the importance of activities between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey within the framework of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.
- The parties will encourage the exchange of personnel aimed at strengthening the defense capability and military security, conducting joint exercises and trainings, increasing the interaction capabilities of the armed forces of the two countries, cooperating closely in the management of weapons and ammunition on the basis of modern technologies, and ensuring coordinated activities of authorized agencies and institutions for this purpose. Azerbaijan and Turkey will support the implementation of military exercises together with the armies of other friendly states.
- The parties, carrying out mutual technological exchange in the maritime, air and space spheres, and taking into account their national and international obligations, will encourage the implementation of common projects in order to develop joint capabilities and make a positive contribution to the development of mutual technologies in the defense industry, provide their weapons and ammunition, and mutually encourage production technologies and support the creation of production industries that do not currently exist in their countries, the implementation of joint research and production activities, cooperation between defense industry bodies of the two countries in the field of technology, military products and services in the domestic and international markets.
Rick Rozoff is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.