Erdogan Triumphs as Putin Stabs His Best Ally in the Back

With tension ratcheting up over Russia’s possible plans for an invasion of Ukraine, David Boyajian examines some other major issues of the region, especially in the Caucasus.

Erdogan Triumphs as Putin Stabs His Best Ally in the Back

by David Boyajian
January 19, 2022

President Putin has been making some astonishing demands, including:

  • NATO mustn’t admit additional countries near Russia, such as Ukraine and Georgia.
  • NATO must cease military activity in non-NATO territories: Georgia, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and parts of eastern Europe.

Yet, incredibly, Putin has himself been enabling a NATO member’s aggression bordering Russia.

In 2020, the Kremlin embraced Turkey’s sending American-designed/equipped F-16s and Bayraktar drones containing NATO components into Azerbaijan.

Turkey and Azerbaijan (“one nation, two states”) subsequently defeated the Armenian populated Artsakh Republic/Nagorno-Karabagh and Russia’s longtime ally, Armenia. Israel backed Azerbaijan militarily.

The brutal 44-day war ended with a so-called peace agreement on November 9, 2020.

Russia facilitated Turkey’s (and, de facto, NATO’s) participation in Putin’s self-defeating grudge war against Armenians:

  • Putin stood aside as Turkey openly deployed troops, weapons, and thousands of Russian-hating international terrorists into Azerbaijan.
  • Turkey and Azerbaijan struck parts of Armenia, not just Artsakh. Yet Russia and the Russian-led CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) patently ignored their defense pacts with Armenia.
  • For decades, Russia had stopped battles over Artsakh between Azerbaijan and Armenians at an early stage despite Artsakh’s lacking a defense treaty with Russia. This time, though, Moscow intervened only belatedly (November 2020) as it posted Russian “peacekeeping” troops in parts of Artsakh.
  • Moscow welcomed Turkish soldiers to partner with Russians in “monitoring” the peace agreement.
  • Since the war ended, Putin and the CSTO (Azerbaijan isn’t a member) have shamelessly humiliated their Armenian ally. For instance, Russia is permitting Azeri troops — unquestionably at Turkey’s urging — to invade southern Armenia, seize highways, kill civilians, and attack Armenia’s diminished military.
  • Russia and the CSTO continue to rebuff Yerevan’s legitimate requests for assistance.
  • In contrast:
    • In January, Putin promptly dispatched CSTO troops into member-state Kazakhstan to subdue violent protests.
    • NATO never signed a formal agreement barring eastward expansion. Therefore, despite the Kremlin’s contention, NATO isn’t legally required to bar Ukraine’s possible membership. Russia and the CSTO are, however, legally required to adhere to their signed, formal defense pacts with Armenia but aren’t doing so.

Russia’s Angry President

Elected on an anti-corruption platform in 2018’s democratic “Velvet Revolution,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was reelected in 2021.

Russia dislikes democratic leaders. They’re harder to arm-twist and bribe. True, Pashinyan has been somewhat friendlier to Western nations than Armenia’s earlier leaders.

Yet, post-independence (1991), Yerevan has maintained excellent political and economic relations with the EU, U.S., and NATO. In 2005, America built one of its largest embassies in the world under President Robert Kocharyan, a Putin favorite.

Regardless, Putin hated Pashinyan, barely spoke to him, and never gave him a chance.

European-Armenian relations go back thousands of years. A strong U.S.-Armenian friendship dates to the 19th century. This is natural for an ancient Christian nation speaking an Indo-European tongue.

Armenia has, nevertheless, allied itself with Russia for historical reasons and as security against genocidal Turkey and Azerbaijan. A more reliable Russian ally doesn’t exist.

Yerevan and Pashinyan certainly made mistakes before and during the war. But Putin’s angry betrayal of Armenians has been undeserved and irrational.

Pashinyan never oriented Yerevan away from Moscow. He couldn’t.

Moscow’s Grip

Russia supplies nearly all of its ally’s gas, oil, and weapons, controls much of its energy infrastructure, including the Metsamor nuclear power plant, and has two military bases in Armenia.

The Kremlin’s imperialist attitude towards small allies: ‘You wouldn’t exist if not for Russia, so be eternally grateful. Otherwise, we’ll punish you even if it severely damages Russia.

Indeed, due to Putin’s grudge war against Armenians:

  • Turkey and NATO are now embedded deeper than ever in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus — militarily, politically, and economically.
  • Russia’s foremost ally lost.

No wonder the neo-con U.S. State Department’s and NATO’s condemnations of Turkish/Azerbaijani aggression have been generally low-key.

True, Russia may now have more control over Armenia and has deployed 2000 troops in Artsakh. But Russia could have been gotten these without the war. Instead, the Kremlin chose anger and war over sound judgment.

Ironically, though livid at Pashinyan’s mild Western outreach, Moscow seems fine with Turkey’s Western military, economic, and political memberships: NATO, EU Customs Union, and scores more.

Similarly for Azerbaijan: The UK has invested $100 billion, the EU is a major trade partner, and American investment is massive.

Western money helped build Azerbaijani energy pipelines which avoided Russia, going instead through Moscow’s adversary, Georgia. Even Donald Trump attempted to build a $200 million hotel in Baku.

But no, Moscow prefers to bully and betray its best ally.

Is Armenia really an important ally?

The Turkish/NATO Threat to Russia

Were Armenia somehow to exit Moscow’s camp, Turkey and NATO would rapidly displace Russia from the Caucasus because:

  • Azerbaijan, a Western source for gas and oil, has long sided with Turkey, not Russia.
  • Georgia is supported by the West, links Turkey and Azerbaijan, and is, in effect, a NATO candidate.

The Caspian would become a NATO/Turkic lake.

Moreover, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey’s pan-Turkic aspirations lie just across the Caspian.

Russia would face a future grimmer than that posed by NATO in Europe.

Is Russia Reliable?

Besides Moscow’s recent treachery, Armenians remember Moscow’s gifting Artsakh, Nakhichevan, and Western Armenian territory to Azerbaijan and Turkey in the 1920s.

Russia’s growing weakness also makes Armenians question its reliability.

Russia has lost most of eastern Europe to NATO. Despite territorial gains in Ukraine and Georgia, Moscow may eventually lose them (and Belarus) unless it invades some or all of them, which is possible but risky.

Central Asia looks shaky due to Turkish, Western, and Chinese inroads.

Without allies in the Black Sea, Russia worries about NATO exercises such as Sea Breeze 2021.

Turkey poses other problems for Russia.

Over Putin’s protests, Turkey sells Bayraktars and other weapons to Ukraine. Ankara demands that Crimea be returned to Kyiv. President Erdogan has threatened Russia with a Muslim uprising and declared that Turkey is ascendant in Central Asia. Russia still can’t oust Turkey from Syria.

Influenced by Russia’s Eurasianist theorist Aleksandr Dugin, Putin thinks he’s luring Turkey away from NATO. Erdogan is unlikely to fall for that trap.

Armenia’s Dilemma

Suppose Yerevan could escape the Russian bear’s grip. Joining NATO would not guarantee its security. Turkey, which has murderous plans for Armenia, would vastly outweigh it.

Turkey threatens Greece, Cyprus, and others, invades whatever countries it pleases, and supports ISIS and other international terrorists while the U.S., NATO, and Europe look the other way.

Kowtowing to Turkey for 100+ years has destroyed the West’s credibility.

The Caucasus’s future is hard to predict, but some major things — unlikely as they seem now — could reshape the region in the medium and long terms.

  • To create a permanent Caucasus base, Russia may strong-arm Armenia into the Russian Federation and even, perhaps, make it Russia itself.
  • Russia — enchanted by Eurasianism — could sell Armenia to Turkey and Azerbaijan in pursuit of a Russo-Turkish alliance.
  • At great political cost, Russia could shut down the entire NATO/Turkish eastward adventure by invading Georgia and Ukraine.

As for Armenia, it must maneuver between the region’s competing powers as it has for 3000 years.

David Boyajian is an Armenian-American freelance journalist. His primary foreign policy focus is the Caucasus. Many of his articles are archived at www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/David_Boyajian.

For his previous essays at Gates of Vienna, see the David Boyajian Archives.

8 thoughts on “Erdogan Triumphs as Putin Stabs His Best Ally in the Back

  1. It is surprising that the Armenians did not go to defend their small proud homeland, but preferred to sit in warm places in Russia and sell barbecue.

    They thought that the Russians should die for them.
    During this time, they will kill, rob and rape Russians in their historical cities.

    In general … we are tired of them, and of the Armenians and Azerbaijanis. So many headaches from them, from these Eastern peoples. Most Russians don’t care what happens to them.
    It was necessary for them to try so hard to have such an attitude towards them.

  2. 1- Erdogan Triumphs as Putin Stabs His Best Ally in the Back
    No, Putin cannot stab Erdogan in the back. Neither can Macron, who was crapped publicly by Erdogan last year. Neither can USA.

    I wanted that to escalate but Macron quickly gave up and begged for friendship , to which triumphant erdogan agreed but France had to import many Turks and 400 imams instead of 300 every year. Or no reconciliation, to which Macron acquiesced. Plus paying some jizya.

    With tension ratcheting up over Russia’s possible plans for an invasion of Ukraine,
    Same scenario as in Afghanistan: USA pretended they did not want Russia to enter Afghanistan. While in reality they were doing everything to make it enter.

    President Putin has been making some astonishing demands, including:
    2- NATO mustn’t admit additional countries near Russia, such as Ukraine and Georgia.
    NATO must cease military activity in non-NATO territories: Georgia, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and parts of eastern Europe.

    Isn’t that logical? Why squeezing Russia on all sides but you cannot have a base in Cuba. It is too near and dangerous.

    3- Yet, incredibly, Putin has himself been enabling a NATO member’s aggression bordering Russia.
    3. Putin has no choice: confronting Turkey mean confronting NATO, something Putin does not like. But NATO like Turkey’s plan to unite all Turkik Nation/ ummah but distinct countries preparing them to one day invade Europe which is getting weaker by day and that weakness is noticed by erdogan. He smells blood.
    Ottoman the sick man 1914. eUROPE THE sick man with huge wealth and fair girls. Perfect for muslims “fertilizers”

    – In 2020, the Kremlin embraced Turkey’s sending American-designed/equipped F-16s and Bayraktar drones containing NATO components into Azerbaijan.
    – Has no choice. By the way, by whose technology Turkey developed F-16s?

    – Turkey and Azerbaijan (“one nation, two states”) subsequently defeated the Armenian populated Artsakh Republic/Nagorno-Karabagh and Russia’s longtime ally, Armenia. Israel backed Azerbaijan militarily.
    – NATO countries have been helping turkey to defeat Armenia, Greece , Syria, PKK, the Netherlands, … only silently now.

    The brutal 44-day war ended with a so-called peace agreement on November 9, 2020.

    – I am not Russian. Armenia, thought it would get its independence like other muslim countries. The difference is that the west does not care about Christian Armenia: their default enemy. But with muslim countries it is different. They can give money, weapons girls to them and be thankful to muslim masters.

    Putin stood aside as Turkey openly deployed troops, weapons, and thousands of Russian-hating international terrorists into Azerbaijan.
    Turkey and Azerbaijan struck parts of Armenia, not just Artsakh. Yet Russia and the Russian-led CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) patently ignored their defense pacts with Armenia.

    Why NATO did not stand with Armenia? What happened to human rights mantra? But human rights are there only for muslims andto invite them to the west as invaders.

    All the aggression by Azerbaijan and turkey is inspired by NATO. Turks understand every nod from NATO. Afetr the massacres of Greeks 1923, Armenians 1915. and Assyrians 1918 Turkey was welcomed by Britain and USA as the noble entity to found a noble institute to keep world peace: Namely UN.

    That’s how stupid the west is.

    Moscow welcomed Turkish soldiers to partner with Russians in “monitoring” the peace agreement.

    Isn’ t that choosing the less eveil. Any other choice when NATO is under Turkey’s command.

    In contrast:

    Why USA liberated Kuwait but are afraid to do the same for Armenia?

    Russia dislikes democratic leaders. They’re harder to arm-twist and bribe.

    Only NATO countries like these lame democracies ” diversity, multiculti” because through democracy and stupidity NATO countries are being liberated by muslims to join the DAR of Islam.

    – Yet, post-independence (1991), Yerevan has maintained excellent political and economic relations with the EU, U.S., and NATO.

    – Western politicians will even profess Christianity if they get elected. No need for that professing islam gurantees the votes.

    – Regardless, Putin hated Pashinyan, barely spoke to him, and never gave him a chance.
    – Doesn’t he do that to appease NATO?

    = European-Armenian relations go back thousands of years. A strong U.S.-Armenian friendship dates to the 19th century. This is natural for an ancient Christian nation speaking an Indo-European tongue.

    — Not true. NATO nations care nothing for Christianity or honor. Remember Serbia was western ally and suffered a lot under hitler. Did Clinton remember that honorably. Did USA remember Shah honorably. No he was betrayed.

    – All suffering of Christians in Nigeria, Pakistan, Europe, Middle East is promoted by Nato countries.

    Sweden is sacrificing its own people on the altar of islam daily.

    – And why Georgia is so inimical to Russia and Armenia and so friendly with Azerbaijan and Turkey.? Did they forget what Ottomans did to their kids and 11 year old girls?

    == The Kremlin’s imperialist attitude towards small allies: ‘You wouldn’t exist if not for Russia, so be eternally grateful. Otherwise, we’ll punish you even if it severely damages Russia.‘

    So is USA Britain. Their fondness of islam is so intense they have been blinded even when their countries are colonized.

    — Turkey and NATO are now embedded deeper than ever in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus — militarily, politically, and economically.

    – No wonder the neo-con U.S. State Department’s and NATO’s condemnations of Turkish/Azerbaijani aggression have been generally low-key.
    Muslims all over the world understand the green lights and promotion of islam amongst themselves very well. A nuance to fine for the beer swilling, druggies and sex addicts in the west to even catch a glimpse.

    Even Russian- Iranian, Russian-Syrian friendship is always being forced by NATO’s mistreatment of Russia. If USA, Britain. .. want smaller countries to breathe and trade with, then why is that forbidden for Russia and China. Even USA mistreatment of Venzuela, it finds no escape but to befriend even the devil, Iran.

    The same policies Of Russia in 1905 forced it to adopt communism. Marx and Engel were western, not Russians.

    — Similarly for Azerbaijan: The UK has invested $100 billion, the EU is a major trade partner, and American investment is massive.
    – That explains everything: The west have no honor everything is up for money and votes. They invest in Azerbaijan. Get profits and then spend it on muslim inmates and welfare checks, and donations to Pakistan to get 4 women each and multiply the ummah.

    = Western money helped build Azerbaijani energy pipelines which avoided Russia, going instead through Moscow’s adversary, Georgia. Even Donald Trump attempted to build a $200 million hotel in Baku.
    – To avoid the pipeline going through Russia, even if the distance is shorter. Just ponder the western hatred for Russia. Oh, who invaded Moscow in 1912.

    The Turkish/NATO Threat to Russia
    – Yes it is real. NATO and Turkey are itching for a war. Will destroy the earth unless Jesus interferes as in Revelation.

    Georgia is supported by the West, links Turkey and Azerbaijan, and is, in effect, a NATO candidate.
    Of course, spare no enmity towards Russia.

    Moreover, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey’s pan-Turkic aspirations lie just across the Caspian.
    – yeas that Develish Ally Against Nato. Nato don’t worry Turkey is your friend.

    Russia would face a future grimmer than that posed by NATO in Europe.
    – The west will support that.

    — Besides Moscow’s recent treachery, Armenians remember Moscow’s gifting Artsakh, Nakhichevan, and Western Armenian territory to Azerbaijan and Turkey in the 1920s.
    – The same did the Allies: in 1936 they gifted Iskandarun to turkey. Same betrayal to disuade turkey from supporting Germany in WW2.

    – Russia’s growing weakness also makes Armenians question its reliability.
    – It cannot rely on the west, at all even if Armenia wants to. The west rejects it because friendship with Armenia offends turkey.

    Russia has lost most of eastern Europe to NATO. Despite territorial gains in Ukraine and Georgia, Moscow may eventually lose them (and Belarus) unless it invades some or all of them, which is possible but risky.
    There was a reason for Russia to keep an eye on Eastern Europe. History has shown that Russian expectation were correct.

    – Without allies in the Black Sea, Russia worries about NATO exercises such as Sea Breeze 2021.

    Over Putin’s protests, Turkey sells Bayraktars and other weapons to Ukraine. Ankara demands that Crimea be returned to Kyiv.
    Ukraine, Sweden Ireland . . . are happy to be usurped by muslims.

    — Influenced by Russia’s Eurasianist theorist Aleksandr Dugin, Putin thinks he’s luring Turkey away from NATO. Erdogan is unlikely to fall for that trap.
    – That trap… No. Infidels are stupid. Muslims are clever, they never let infidels occupy their countries.

    Suppose Yerevan could escape the Russian bear’s grip. Joining NATO would not guarantee its security. Turkey, which has murderous plans for Armenia, would vastly outweigh it.
    – Just like Greece. A member of EU but with in sway. The real force to direct EU affairs is Turkey. EU does nothing unless Turkey approves it.

    All these problems come from the blind west.
    By the way I am not Russian. Truth seeking only.

  3. Re your first para, when communism ended in the Soviet Union, the Russian government was given assurances by Western leaders that NATO would not expand to the east. Not that Putin needs excuses for his behaviour, but by reneging on that undertaking we gave him one.

  4. This territory, which you call “Armenia”, was conquered by Russian blood and donated to the Armenians.
    Instead of populating these lands with Russians, the Holstein usurpers, who sat on the Russian throne, resettled Armenians from Persia there.

    Why didn’t you defend it and make it an outpost like Israel? Ask yourself this question.
    It’s called “pulling chestnuts out of the fire with someone else’s hands”

  5. When communism ended in the Soviet Union it started in America Canada and the west in general if it was a bad why today it is embraced

  6. The calculating Putin is drawing Turkey into conflict with everyone. A emboldened Turkey will strike west, probably Greece and let Turkey extend itself so the Russians can step in.

  7. I think Turkey will strike Armenia.
    Azerbaijanis are in the zone of influence of the Russian language and I can read what they write.
    Now they look longingly at the territory called Zangezur. (look it up on wikipedia).
    And already keep knives and forks at the ready.

  8. Chess. All pieces can be sacrificed. But a king, never kill a king. Old game, wise explanation. Putin is not a king. He is elected. He must execute orders. I am not talking about kings, as royalties. Many of today kings, are not even peons.

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