Azerbaijan wants to wriggle out of a diplomatic dilemma by trying to reconcile Turkey, its closest strategic ally, and Russia, with whom it shares a Soviet past. But experts believe the risk of Azerbaijan getting dragged into the brewing confrontation may be higher than Baku’s ability to broker a solution.
Since Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter last November, Russian-Turkish relations have been in a downward spiral. Russia has stepped up efforts to bomb Turkish-backed rebels in Syria, while providing support to Kurdish fighters who Ankara deems to be terrorists. Speculation is now running high that Turkish forces could invade Syria to defend Ankara’s strategic interests. That would be a step with unpredictable consequences, given Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s evident hostility for his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
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Durna Safarova is a freelance journalist who covers Azerbaijan.