A new era may open for Armenia
He said it already. It was very painful for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to agree to a accept defeat in the war with Azerbaijan trying to liberate its occupied territories, under Armenian invasion for the past almost 28 years. He said the terms of the cessation of hostilities deal with Azerbaijan and which was brokered with the help of Russia were “unspeakably painful for me personally and for our people.”
Though it might be very painful for now, the decision Pashinyan felt compelled to undertake to avoid a far bigger humiliation and a peace agreement with far wider consequences, by agreeing to a phased but quick withdrawal from all occupied territories, abandoning local Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh to an ambiguous future, yet under truce deal to be monitored by Russia, and agreeing to the establishment of Russia-protected civilian and economic five-kilometer-wide corridors between Armenia proper and the Nagorno-Karabakh (the Lachin corridor) and between Azerbaijan’s autonomous Nakhichevan and Azerbaijan proper along the Armenia-Iran border. It was not yet clear whether the two countries might exchange territory – a proposal floated by late Turkish presidents Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel at several occasions in the 1990s. Yet, the agreement signed through an online conference by Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev and Russia’s Vladimir Putin and separately by the Armenian prime minister while underlined that the Russia and Armenia would “guarantee the security of transport links” but what will be the status of Nagorno-Karabakh – where Armenia is not withdrawing – was yet to be clarified. But if the two corridors could be used only for civilian and economic transfers, and if Nagorno-Karabakh remained an autonomous area of Azerbaijan, the deal cannot be said liberated all occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Yet, probably now Azerbaijan sat talks with its autonomous and rebellious Nagorno-Karabakh and negotiate a new future for the area where Azerbaijani Turks were subjected to an ethnic cleansing and genocidal attacks during the 1992-1994 Armenian attacks and subsequent occupation. Against the Geneva convention, over the past decades not only in Nagorno-Karabagh, but in other occupied Armenian regions as well Armenia engaged in gross war crimes by trying to change the demography.
It was a “unspeakably painful” act to accept defeat. Nationalists plundered government offices and harmed many senior politicians, including the prime minister who has been under strong pressure of almost all political parties to step down since the liberation of Susha on Nov. 8 by Azerbaijani forces. Apparently for many Armenians, Pashinyan – accused by Azerbaijan’s Aliyev of signing the cessation of hostilities protocol like “a mouse, hidden in a basement” – is public enemy number one for the time being. Things might change soon drastically. Change? How?
It is too early and there are some serious questions to be answered first. What will be the eventual status of Nagorno-Karabagh? To what extend peace will hold? There might be surge of terrorist activities funded and supported by the Armenian diaspora, as well as by extremist elements inside both countries, who might be unhappy with the “painful” deal agreed by Pashinyan.
But if peace holds, Nagorno-Karabagh status is peacefully redefined and the two countries move along the road to a permanent truce, Turkey may decide to open the border gate with Armenia, closed because of the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territory. Through the Armenia border gate, as well as the Nakhichevan border gate and the civilian and commercial corridor to be established under Russian protection, not only Turkey might establish a land connection to the countries down the Asian continent, through Turkey Armenia may no longer become a land-locked country. The economic benefits, increasing commercial activity and prospering Armenia might make today’s number one public enemy Pashinyan a statesman who cut the painfully and courageously the Gordian knot Nagorno-Karabagh that has been holding his country hostage for so many decades and opening the path of prosperity. The defeat indeed might open a prosperous new era for Armenia.
This is a world of relativity after all.