Staunton, Sept. 27 – Countries that consist of contiguous units are invariably concerned about transit issues among them, and these concerns can ultimately trigger efforts by their central governments or others to seize the territory between their parts. That happened in Danzig in the middle of the 20th century, an event which opened the way to World War II.
Now, Vladimir Prokhvatilov, a pro-Kremlin Russian commentator says, the space between Azerbaijan proper and its non-contiguous region, Nakchivan, a space the Armenians call Syunik but the Azerbaijanis and Turks call Zengezur, is on the way to becoming another such generator of conflict (vpoanalytics.com/2023/09/27/zangezurskij-koridor-stanet-dantsigskim/).
Having successfully reintegrated Karabakh by force, Prokhvatilov says, “it cannot be completely excluded that Azerbaijan by foce will occupy the current Syunik Oblast of Armenia as at one time, the Third Reich by force ‘solved the question’ of the Danzig corridor” and took another step toward a general war.
The Russian commentator stresses that he isn’t in any way “comparing the current leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan” with Hitler. “But at the same time, the road through Zengezur to Turkey is important as air to both countries; and for the achievement of their goals, they are capable of applying a classical operation under a false flag or by force.”
Indeed, he says, “Ilham Aliyev has spoken about this completely openly.” But of course, this can happen only if Russia pulls back, disbands its military base in Gyumri, Armenia, and if Armenia exits from the Organization for the Collective Security Treaty, although that grouping did little for Yerevan in the recent fighting in Karabakh.
However that may be, the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey met in Nakchivan on September 25 and discussed expanded links between both countries and that exclave. The Turkish leader said that Turkish gas will reach Nakchivan later this year and a Turkish railroad by 2028 (report.az/ru/energetika/bajraktar-zhiteli-nahchyvana-smogut-poluchat-gaz-iz-turcii-zimoj-sleduyushego-goda/trtrussian.com/novosti/turciya-k-2028-godu-planiruet-prolozhit-zheleznuyu-dorogu-v-nahchyvan-15165603).
And he expressed the hope that if Armenia refuses to open a transit corridor across Zyunik/Zengezur, then Iran will step in and professed to see positive signs that Tehran would agree to open a transit route if Armenia didn’t (trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/3803029.html and vestikavkaza.ru/material/426767).
Erdogan’s optimism may be misplaced, and neither Baku nor Ankara appears ready to accept Iranian guarantees on this point, especially given the tensions between Iran, on the one hand, and these two Turkic countries, on the other. As a result, a Danzig corridor-type operation cannot be excluded.