The Russian minister of foreign affairs Lavrov visited Baku in the morning of November 20 and met with Ilham Aliyev, discussed the Russian-Azerbaijani bilateral relations and spoke about the Artsakh process. Both Lavrov and Aliyev expressed their interest in rapid settlement.
Earlier the Turkish president Erdogan made an important statement. In a press conference with Turkish journalists last week Erdogan said, commenting on the discussion with Putin on the Artsakh issue, that Putin has no hope for “return of territories”. Erdogan talked about the UN SC resolutions adopted twenty years ago and said he had brought them up during his meeting with Putin. Putin, according to Erdogan, agrees but is not optimistic that they will be implemented.
In fact, the statement of the Turkish president following his meeting with Putin in Sochi indicates that Putin thinks change of status quo is not possible. Lavrov arrives in Baku amid this atmosphere. In addition, the Turkish president’s statement has another important aspect. Speaking of the UN SC resolutions he said their implementation was impossible due to controversial positions of the sides.
In other words, the Turkish president blames Azerbaijan for the situation. This is an important detail, considering that Turkey has found itself trapped in the moral-political web made by the Azerbaijani president Aliyev.
For Erdogan the Artsakh issue or the issue of Aliyev is an extra load, especially in a period when Erdogan is addressing crucial problems in Turkey and in the relations with the West in terms of Turkey’s geopolitical role.
On the other hand, while playing the role of “junior brother”, Aliyev regularly expects assistance in addressing his problems, the primary one being the Artsakh issue, using the moral press “one nation, two states”.
Erdogan visiting Baku to attend the opening of Kars-Akhalkalak-Baku railway stated that he was going to discuss the Artsakh issue in his meeting with Putin a few days later in Sochi because Putin has a deciding role in that issue and if he focuses on it, the issue will be solved quickly.
Apparently, during the opening of the railway Aliyev asked Erdogan not to leave him alone in the discussion with Putin and raise the issue. It was in Sochi that Putin was tough ahead of the meeting with Aliyev in July. Apparently, Erdogan promised Aliyev to talk to Putin. A few days after the November 13 meeting, Erdogan’s statement ahead of Lavrov’s visit to Baku that Putin is not optimistic about changing the status quo was a signal to Alyev that he tried but did not succeed though he tried as promised.
At the same time, when Erdogan says that the UN resolutions were not brought into being due to the positions of the sides, he hints to Aliyev that he is to blame for the current situation and for Putin’s “pessimism”, at least due to the failed adventure of April war which eventually unmasked Russia and Turkey.
Russia gave up on Azerbaijan more easily and quickly than Turkey which is restrained by the status of an “elder brother”.
In other words, Erdogan pushes Baku’s “moral-political press” and Aliyev meets with Lavrov in a situation when Erdogan has washed his hands.
And Erdogan has washed his hands of Aliyev’s problems because on November 22 he will meet with Putin on Syria in an Iran-Turkey-Russia meeting. The Turkish president needs a “free” hand to pursue his own issues, especially that NATO has almost bluntly declared him an enemy.
Erdogan has nothing else to do but to “hand” Aliyev to Putin again. And Putin “hands” him to Lavrov who has been longing for revenge after his humiliation in Baku.