Kyiv: On September 27 Azerbaijani armed forces started bombardment Armenian military positions in Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the government of self-proclaimed Artsakh Republic, Azerbaijani loss exceeded 3 thousand people since the conflict escalation, while analogic number is 157 for Armenia.
Front News International interviewed vice-chairman of Republican Party of Armenia, former minister of education and science Armen Ashotyan who told what could help de-escalation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Moreover, he talked about Turkey’s role in the war.
Besides that, he mentioned that due to general mobilization in the country he would be conscripted into the army and he would go for serving his duty soon.
Front News International: How civilian population regards military activities in Nagorno-Karabakh? Is there any excitement among Armenians?
Armen Ashotyan: Situation is calm in Armenia. Armenians are said to have expressive eyes and what you can see in my compatriots’ eyes in these days is unique blend of proud, commitment, patriotism and certain sort of anxiety, of course.
FNI: What can you tell about political situation within Armenia after starting of conflict escalation?
A.A.: Domestic politics is at a standstill as soon as the war broke out. All main political parties either separately or jointly expressed that they froze internal political fight, put off entire domestic agenda of discords to work together, inform each other and rally behind Armenian army, Nagorno-Karabakh, our statehood. The enemy was counting on last-period internal tensions and dividing Armenian society with war but their hopes were dashed because it couldn’t be otherwise. I don’t know, how Turkish and Azerbaijani intelligences work but I can assure you that they failed in this regard. Despite all our domestic controversies, on September 27 whole Armenian political elite began to work in the same direction.
FNI: What kind of measures are conducted, or were conducted in the past by political forces of Armenia in order to settle the conflict?
A.A.: For instance, Republican Party of Armenia works very intensively in the information field. Providing for our foreign large ties, in particular, with European political structures, we are members of European People’s Party. We work very intensively also with international institutes in the diplomatic field, tell world the truth about this war. So, there are some tangible results, for example, announcements of prominent European politicians accusing Azerbaijan for kindling the war and calling on it to deescalate conflict immediately. Few times ago, European People’s Party made announcement with which it called on Azerbaijan to re-establish pre-war positions of troops. European People’s Party is the leading political force in EU, you know.
On the other hand, our party works intensively in humanitarian field too. Our members swell intensively the ranks of either volunteers or regular army in the background of general mobilization. The president of party, third president of country Serzh Sargsyan heads all this process. As for himself, he connects operatively to his current and former military associates from the first war of Nagorno-Karabakh.
There won’t be a rift. Erdogan’s plans about splitting Armenian society with the help of Azerbaijani-Turkish military actions are failed. Armenian army, Armenian society, political elite and worldwide community stand together even more because the danger towards Armenians and Armenian Republic in Nagorno-Karabakh, is actually existential.
FNI: Official representative of State Department of U.S. already confirmed information about transferring Syrian mercenaries to Azerbaijan by Turkey. What role is played by Turkey in this conflict?
A.A.: Turkey is genocidal country who is openly on the side of Azerbaijan. It’s not only aggressive rhetoric from Turkish government, not only announcements of president or foreign minister of Turkey about direct military support for Azerbaijan. It’s also particular military assistance. There are lots of facts about using final series of drones made in Turkey. After recent Azerbaijani-Turkish military trainings part of Turkish troops stayed in the territory of Azerbaijan. It’s confirmed to use F-16 planes and, unfortunately, one of the Armenian fighters was hit by Turkish bomber of F-16. All of these actions shows us that, in fact, Azerbaijan is merely Turkish proxy in South Caucasia in all, and in Nagorno-Karabakh partially.
International media published results of his investigations about involving Syrian mercenaries in this conflict. Syrian militants are recruited and transported in Azerbaijan with the help of Turkey. They are Erdogan’s soldiers being pure military mercenaries and, in fact, military offenders. Also it’s emphasized that Erdogan is equally responsible for kindling this war with Aliyev.
If international community and EU truly want peace in South Caucasia, they should show Turkey and his South-Caucasian proxy Azerbaijan their place. This place isn’t in the family of civilized countries. With its involvement Turkey lost any right and any groundwork for being part of negotiation and should be removed from OSCE Minsk group.
FNI: It’s conflict or full-scale war?
A.A.: I often see in the international press, in the assessments of international observers and politicians that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict broke out and might transit to the full-scale war. I want to say that these expert assessments have nothing common in reality. It’s already full-scale war which can transit to regional and global catastrophe.
FNI: Armenia’s appeal to CSTO. How much is such scenario possible?
A.A.: It’s known that jurisdiction of CSTO extends to the territory of the member states which part is Armenia of, but not Artsakh Republic. Military actions in Artsakh, according to CSTO agreement, don’t belong to jurisdiction of the organization.
But several days ago Azerbaijan attacked the border Armenian villages in the territory of Armenia, military positions and civil population around the city of Vardenis. Moreover, it defies openly with its drones near the capital of Armenia Yerevan. Armenian army repulsed these attacks successively. At present, Armenian armed forces perform on the task with success. The issue of addressing to CSTO must be discussed by current military-political administration of Armenia in the basis of existing data and the relevant military-political situation.
I am very conscientious about discuss on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Russian analytical expert groups. Some expert-analytical establishments tend to keep ,,equal proximity’’ of either Azerbaijan or Armenia to Russia. I just want to remind that Armenia is the ally and strategic partner of Russia, thus, not only through CSTO. Armenia and Russia have separate two-sided legal framework for military-technical and military-political collaboration. Those lobbyists, who try to equalize Armenia and Azerbaijan in the eyes of Russian society, must remember this. I am sure that if it is necessary, Russia will fulfil its alliance obligations to Armenia as in the case of clear Turkish aggression from the side of Armenia-Turkey boundary or in the case of clear and full-scale Azerbaijani aggression towards Armenia. Although, as for political assessments, Armenians expect more from CSTO today.
FNI: Peacekeeping missions in Nagorno-Karabakh can resolve the problem? Or it accentuates de-escalation process anyway?
A.A.: As for possible entering or interfering of peacemakers, I want to emphasize openly and clearly: Full-scale war, which is going on the perimeter of Nagorno-Karabakh frontiers and has affected Armenian border already, is the aftermath of pending Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. International mandate for allowing this conflict belongs to co-chairs of OSCE Minsk group. I want to remind that single peacekeeping contingent won’t resolve the problem until status of Nagorno-Karabakh isn’t estimated that would be an international confirmation of right of Nagorno-Karabakhian people for self-determination up to the independence… Until this right isn’t recognized by Azerbaijan under pressure of international community. In 2011, Azerbaijan refused itself to sign a document of principles about settling the conflict including internationally recognized right of Artsakh population for self-determination. Without allowing this conflict in the package (as the main issue of the conflict is people’s right for self-determination) any interfering of peacekeeping contingent won’t resolve the conflict but only changes its geopolitical formula. Anyway, Azerbaijan will be compelled to keep a peace at first, and recognize Nagorno-Karabakh then.