The conflict seen from Russia
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on both sides in the conflict to stop the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and quickly enter into a new ceasefire.
The conflict in the Caucasus is clearly very important for Putin and Russia. Russian authorities view the former Soviet republics as their sphere of influence, and are skeptical that other countries are cooperating closely with these countries.
Armenia is a close ally of Russia, and participates in military cooperation with several other former Soviet republics. Armenia does not have nearly as many economic resources as the oil- and gas-rich Azerbaijan, and cannot build up as large military forces. To a large extent, the Armenians are betting that the Russian security guarantee will protect them from enemy attacks.
Military cooperation is so close that Russia has a military base in Armenia. There must be fighter jets, helicopters, tanks and several thousand soldiers. Should it develop into a full-scale war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, it could be difficult for Russia to remain passive in the background.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a region in Azerbaijan, near the border with Armenia. The area is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but Armenian separatists have controlled the region since 1994.
The conflict seen from Turkey
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has distinguished himself as a champion of Muslims and their struggles around the world, such as the Palestinians, Uighurs and Rohingya. The Azerbaijanis are no exception, and they also belong to the people of the Azeris, who have close cultural ties to Turkey.
This weekend, Erdogan said Turkey will stand with its brothers in Azerbaijan. He believes Armenia is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the region, according to the government agency Daily Sabah.
Relations between Turkey and Armenia are difficult. Due to the conflict over the massacres of 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire to be referred to as genocide, Turkey and Armenia do not have diplomatic ties.
In recent years, Erdogan has involved Turkey militarily in several countries in the region, in Syria, Libya and Iraq. The president prefers Turkey to become a great power again, as it was when the sultans of Constantinople ruled large parts of the Middle East during the Ottoman Empire, from around the year 1300 to the beginning of the 20th century.
But going into a war with your own soldiers probably takes much longer than sending military equipment like Turkey does now. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry says that Turkish military experts are fighting with Azerbaijani soldiers, and that Turkey is supporting them with drones and fighter jets. Azerbaijan denies this.
The danger of war seen from Russia
Russian authorities do not want a war at all, because Russia is selling weapons to both sides in the conflict and will not destroy relations with Azerbaijan.
Russia, along with several other countries, has tried to mediate in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but after decades of efforts, it has not yielded any particular results.
The Russians are talking about “The Caucasian knot”. Throughout history, it has proved very difficult to understand what is happening in the Caucasus, and even worse to control these countries and peoples.
The Armenian ambassador to Moscow accuses Turkey of sending 4,000 combat-trained men from Syria to Azerbaijan, which the Azerbaijani authorities reject. But as in Syria, Russia and Turkey are now on opposite sides of a conflict.
In the past, things have gone fairly well, despite major contradictions. Part of the explanation has been the relationship between Presidents Putin and Erdogan.
Both are rather authoritarian leaders who are used to speaking in capital letters. But when the military of the two countries has come close to attacking each other, the presidents have talked together and found a solution.
It is not certain that it will be as easy in the Caucasus as in Syria, but few want the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan to develop into a confrontation between Russia and Turkey as well.
The danger of war seen from Turkey
President Erdogan is keen to have a good relationship with Vladimir Putin and to be part of the world’s strong leaders and players.
The relationship between the two has been important in the bloody Syrian war, where the countries are on opposite sides. The recent ceasefire between Idlib province is due to a ceasefire between Russia and Turkey.
Turkey’s defense minister and president demand that Armenia immediately stop the hostilities that could set the region on fire.
Turkey’s foreign policy is increasingly characterized by military rhetoric and saber-rattling, more than diplomacy, writes Metin Gurcan in Al-Monitor. Gurcan served as Turkish military adviser in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Iraq.
But behind the rhetoric there are always open channels. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is in constant contact with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov about developments in Azerbaijan.
Moreover, another military engagement will be unpopular with most Turks. When 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack in Idlib in February this year, Turks asked what they actually died for inside Syria. Syria policy has cost the country dearly. That Turkey should enter with its own soldiers in Azerbaijan and risk its lives there, will hardly meet understanding among most people.
However, the international community is concerned about the full crisis as oil and gas pipelines pass through the Nagorno-Karabakh region.