Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Turkey and Azerbaijan Cooperated to Promote Independence of North Caucasus during Russian Civil War, New Azeri Book Published in Ankara Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 31 – One of Moscow’s greatest concerns about Ankara’s promotion of a Turkic world is that it will involve not just Turkic states but Turkic nations and especially those within the borders of the Russian Federation. A new book by an Azeri historian published in Ankara will only heighten nervousness in the Kremlin.

            Sevinj Aliyeva, a historian at Baku’s Aero Pedagogical University, has just published in Turkey a book entitled The Assistance of Turkey and Azerbaijan to the States of the North Caucasus (1918-1920) (in Turkish; Ankara: Gazi Kitab, 2021), 322 pp.) (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/83772/posts/52140).

            She describes the combined role of Turkish and Azerbaijani officers and civil officials in promoting independence and unity among the peoples of the North Caucasus a century ago, but most Russian readers are going to view this book less as a retelling of past events than as an indication of what Ankara and Baku may do in the future.

            The events of 1918-1920 in this region were dramatic. Turkish officers helped organize the armies of the peoples of the North Caucasus, and both Turkish and Azerbaijani volunteers fought alongside them against both Red and White Russians. Both Turkey and the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic supported “all movements for national independence” there, Aliyeva says.

            Significantly, both Ankara and Baku were active supporters of the formation of a common Mountaineers Republic uniting all the peoples of the North Caucasus and even of its aspirations, expressed in April 1919, to become part of Azerbaijan. That was not to be, as in 1920, Bolshevik forces seized Azerbaijan and suppressed the ADR.

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