Oct 28, 2020 Turkey as soon as once more assumed the function of “game changer” — this time within the Nagorno-Karabakh battle. As with earlier instances in Syria, Libya and the japanese Mediterranean, the large query is whether or not Ankara can achieve diplomatic dividends for its “hard power.” Since hostilities erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh on Sept. 27, Turkey’s previous navy gross sales to Azerbaijan — particularly assault drones — gained consideration. Field studies point out that, in contrast to the inconclusive skirmishes of the previous, the Azerbaijanis have gained appreciable territory from the Armenians. The Nagorno-Karabakh dispute goes again a long time. An Armenian-majority autonomous enclave inside Azerbaijan’s borders throughout Soviet occasions, Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azerbaijani territories got here underneath Armenian occupation within the early 1990s, displacing some 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians. For nearly 30 years, the so-called Minsk Group — co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States — has failed to supply a diplomatic answer to the battle. Now, with Turkey’s backing, Azerbaijan appears to be slicing the Gordian knot. Of course, Turkey’s features in Nagorno-Karabakh and elsewhere fear different events. Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey of transferring jihadis from Syria to Azerbaijan, a declare Ankara denied. Macron’s statements adopted the tried and drained evaluation that the whole lot that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan does overseas have to be for “religious” causes. Others declare that Erdogan is overreaching geopolitically and militarily — simply as he had executed in Syria, Libya and the japanese Mediterranean. And but the Turkish juggernaut retains marching on. Istanbul-based political analyst Yoruk Isik thinks that studies of Turkey’s “overextension” are exaggerated. Isik instructed Al-Monitor, “I think many people have problems understanding the power of the Turkish military and how it has many people who do their jobs well. Of course, it is also a gigantic military. We could count 10-20 negative sides to having a gigantic military. But it is a military that can conduct a variety of operations in many different locations.” The larger drawback for Turkey appears not a lot overreach as understanding the place to cease — having a diplomatic “endgame.” As Al-Monitor columnist Fehim Tastekin reminds us, Turks typically complain about successful within the discipline, however not sitting on the negotiating desk. In the spring, the Turkish navy saved the day in opposition to Syrian regime forces and their Russian backers in Idlib. The Turkish intervention in Libya propped up the UN-backed authorities in Tripoli. Operations in opposition to the Kurdistan Workers Party in Iraq happen on the time and place of Ankara’s selecting — even when they arrive on the expense of civilians and Iraqi officers generally. And but Turkey fails to transform these navy features into diplomatic clout. What would “diplomatic gains” for Ankara appear like in Nagorno-Karabakh and elsewhere? One thought that might put a mild face on Turkey’s muscle is to affix the ranks of France, Russia and the United States as a co-chair of the Minsk Group. But Russia analyst Kerim Has instructed Al-Monitor that Turkey’s partnership with Azerbaijan and perceived enmity towards Armenia complicates that. Has stated, “It is no secret that the United States, Russia and France all have close relations with Armenia. But none of them have a hostile attitude toward Azerbaijan.” He added, “I am not sure that Russia would want to open up a space for Erdogan in the south Caucasus or in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict when it considers Erdogan highly unpredictable and as a source of instability based on its experiences dealing with him in Syria and Libya.” Of course, Moscow has loads of causes to fret about Turkish affect in its neighborhood — much more than Ankara’s Western companions who’re involved about “losing” Turkey to Russia. As Al-Monitor’s Metin Gurcan lately identified, Turkey is quick establishing a strategic partnership with Ukraine, a lot to Russia’s consternation. According to the BBC’s Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg, the Russian press considers Ankara’s latest strikes “an unprecedented breakthrough into [Moscow’s] political space.” For Hakan Gunes, a professor of worldwide relations at Istanbul University, there are numerous methods to interpret Russia’s diplomatic sport within the south Caucasus and what Turkey can do about them. “The first scenario is Russia enables Azerbaijan to reclaim its seven occupied rayons [departments] around Karabakh and wear down Armenia’s pro-Western prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. That way, Russia will keep Azerbaijan on its side. The second scenario is that Russia may be looking for a new equation in the south Caucasus where it flashes a ‘yellow light’ to Azerbaijan while also keeping Turkey at arm’s length by creating additional trouble. We can see that with the Russian Embassy’s recent statements supporting Greece’s position against Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean and the Russian navy holding exercises with Egypt in the Black Sea.” Gunes additionally factors out that “surprising developments” may ensue to finish the Nagorno-Karabakh battle. “It would be surprising but not impossible to conceive of a scenario where Russia agrees to jointly deploy peacekeeping forces with Turkey between Armenia and Azerbaijan. That would serve Russian aims by further distancing Turkey from NATO. It is unlikely, but not impossible. We saw such a surprising development in Syria with the Astana process even though Turkey had shot down a Russian fighter jet in November 2015.” Working with a various set of companions and mediating conflicts is a good suggestion — one thing that the Erdogan administration has executed in lots of battle zones anyway. But Isik stated turning Turkey’s rising energy into the function of peacemaker — in Nagorno-Karabakh and past — would require investing in its diplomatic corps the way in which it has invested in its navy. He stated, “Why can we not serve as a mediator? Turkey is not effectively using its diplomats — who are just as qualified as their military counterparts and who inherit deeply rooted institutional traditions like the Turkish military.” To make certain, the Turkish diplomatic corps’ personal recollections and the acrimonious language flying between the leaders of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan might make that concept sound far-fetched. But Gunes reminds us to not dismiss Turkey’s “soft power.” He stated, earlier than the latest battle erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh, “More Armenians preferred to open the borders with Turkey than having visa-free travel to Russia.” Ten years in the past, Turkey and Armenia have been in search of methods to normalize relations — a sentiment Pashinyan had reiterated in late 2018. The easy system for Turkey’s diplomatic success could also be to proceed investing in its navy capabilities however talking extra softly, unclenching its fist and increasing a hand to its opponents.