Nagorno-Karabakh emerged alongside Azerbaijan and Armenia out of the messy break-up of the Soviet Union. Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnically Armenian enclave within the territory of Azerbaijan internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory.
But people of Nagorno-Karabakh want to govern themselves or they once voted to join with Armenia. A brutal war over this finally ended with a ceasefire in 1994 after the death of more than 30,000 troops.
However, in the intervening 30 years, little has been done to resolve the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and there have been periodic military skirmishes between the two sides. But this one that has broken out is the most serious that there has been.
Azerbaijan has said that now is the time to resolve this conflict, that the ceasefire has done nothing for them and now they want to regain control of the territory that is internationally recognized as theirs.
On the other hand, Armenia claims that the ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh should be allowed to determine their own destiny. What is different about this outbreak of fighting apart from the fact that it’s more serious since the ceasefire in 1994.
Is Turkey’s involvement and Turkey’s over support for Azerbaijan. Hence, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogen claims that Turkey’s role supporting Azerbaijan is part of Turkey’s quest for it’s deserved place in the world order.
Turkish drones have been at the forefront of the Azeri military assault on territory within Azerbaijan. Both sides, Armenia and Azerbaijan, have been using also Russian- provided weaponry and both sides have been launching long-range missiles at civilian territories on both sides of the line of contact and civilians have been caught in the middle of the crossfire.
There have also been allegations by Russia and France that mercenaries from the fighting in Syria have been sent to work with Azerbaijan by the Turks. However, the Turks strictly denies these allegations.
Russian, the U.S. and France are leading calls for a ceasefire but President Erdogan claims that these countries have neglected the situation for too long and they should not be involved in the peacemaking.
However, the Russians have extensive diplomatic influence in that part of the world, the South Caucasus including Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russian supplies weapons to both countries. But Russia has not taken sides in this conflict.
Russians have only called for an international ceasefire and further regulations. Nevertheless, in the wider region Russia and Turkey are in a competition for influence. In Libya, they’re on different sides of the fight.
In Syria, they’re on different sides of the fight. And now in this situation, Turkey is backing Azerbaijan and there is a risk that Russia could end up being drawn into the fight if it spreads beyond Nagorno-Karabakh to a direct conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
However, with all the political heat between the countries the people continue to suffer and more more soldiers continue to fight without a proper goal in sight.