US officials have declared that the United States regards the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia as separate processes. This policy, however, ignores the interests of Washington’s main partners in the region -- Azerbaijan and Turkey. Brushing off Baku and Ankara’s objections to this policy risks further undermining US influence in the South Caucasus.
The reason why Washington wants to keep the Turkey-Armenia reconciliation process separate from the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations is clear. The White House considers that normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia will reduce Armenia’s dependence on Russia (and Iran) and allow Yerevan to maneuver beyond the reach of Russian pressure. With Armenia less dependent on Russia, the entire South Caucasus could be removed from the Kremlin’s reach. Or so the reasoning appears to go.
But this aim does not take into consideration certain realities in the South Caucasus.
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Vusale Mahirqizi is the general director of APA, a news agency based in Baku, Azerbaijan. The views expressed in this commentary reflect the opinion of the author alone and do not reflect the views or policies of EurasiaNet.org or the Open Society Institute.