Azerbaijan Slams Turkish President For Congratulating Sarkisian

Harut Sassounian


While Armenia is grappling with the fallout from the February 18 presidential voting and trying to accommodate a newly energized opposition, its two hostile neighbors, Azerbaijan and Turkey, are entangled in a feud with each other over the Armenian election.

A year ago, in a column titled, “Who Rules Turkey: Erdogan or Aliyev?” I expressed my astonishment that Turkey was allowing Azerbaijan to repeatedly interfere in its sovereign policies, as in the case of the Armenia-Turkey Protocols. Now there are two fresh examples of Azerbaijan’s unwarranted interference in Turkish decision-making.

No sooner had Turkish Airlines announced that it would distribute a copy of Agos, a bilingual Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper to its international passengers, Fikret Sadikov, an Azeri professor and political analyst, objected to its dissemination, calling it an “absolutely absurd and irresponsible gesture.”

Sadikov also complained that Turkish President Abdullah Gul had sent a congratulatory letter to President Serzh Sarkisian for his re-election. “Such steps would cause great sorrow both in Turkey and Azerbaijan,” Sadikov told Trend, an Azeri publication. Prof. Sadikov’s objection was part of a larger campaign orchestrated by Azeri leaders, accusing Turkey of undermining their efforts to pressure Armenia into making territorial concessions regarding Artsakh (Karabakh).

Here are some of the objections leveled at President Gul by leading Azeri officials:

“Turkey must clarify the issue of Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s sending congratulations to his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian,” stated Novruz Mammadov, chief foreign policy of Azerbaijan President.

“This hurt us…. It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that no matter how many signs of politeness may be expressed to Armenia, it uses it for other purposes,” stated Oqtay Asadov, Speaker of Azerbaijan’s Parliament.

“We didn’t expect this…. It is regrettable that the President of Turkey, a strategic partner of Azerbaijan, hastily congratulated Sarkisian, who was elected as a result of fraud,” stated Mubariz Gurbanli, member of Parliament and Deputy Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party.

“Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s sending of congratulations before the official announcement of the results is the wrong step. This is the continuation of Turkey’s zero-problem policy with neighboring states. But, actually this policy failed. With this policy, Turkey’s relations with most of the states in the region have become tense. Moreover, the Turkish President’s congratulations to Sarkisian contradict the interests of Azerbaijan. At a time when the international community is expressing views that an illegitimate government exists in Armenia, the Turkish government sealed the legitimacy of the Armenian leadership. This is wrong and regrettable,” stated Arif Hajili, Central Executive Board Member of Azerbaijan’s Musavat Party.

“If someone thinks that Armenia and Armenians will give up the so-called genocide and territorial claims thanks to these steps, they are mistaken,” stated Gudrat Hasanguliyev, Chairman of the United Azerbaijan Popular Front Party.

“President Gul’s congratulations of Serzh Sarkisian was a hasty decision,” stated Nizami Jafarov, Parliament member and head of the working group on inter-parliamentary relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey.

“This step will not gain Turkey positive assessment by the global community. Turkey can be sure of it. Congratulating Serzh Sarkisian was a hasty step. This is not in the national interest of either Azerbaijan or Turkey,” stated Parliament member Fazail Aghamali.

“Serzh Sarkisian is Turkey’s enemy. He accuses Turkey of so-called Armenian
genocide and makes territorial claims. It is not clear why Abdullah Gul decided to be one of the first to congratulate Sarkisian on his re-election. This is unacceptable,” stated Vafa Guluzade, foreign policy advisor to the former president of Azerbaijan.

Rather than lashing back at the undue Azeri interference in Turkey’s decisions, the Turkish Foreign Ministry sheepishly explained that President Gul’s congratulatory letter to President Sarkisian was “a diplomatic courtesy and a gesture of goodwill.” Gul had also congratulated Sarkisian’s first presidential election in 2008.

How long will the all-powerful Turkish government, which projects its political, economic, and military clout far and wide, tolerate Azerbaijan’s repeated interference in Turkey’s policies? When will Ankara dare to tell Baku to mind its own business and make it clear that Turkey will not subordinate its national interests to Azerbaijan’s self-centered wishes?

Armenia is fortunate that, while it is dealing with the repercussions of the presidential election, its two hostile neighbors, Azerbaijan and Turkey, are busy feuding with each other!

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  1. George said:

    Azerbaijan is condemned to isolation and poverty, while Turkey can have a bright future once issues of the Armenian Genocide, Kurdish claims and others are solved, Turkey is not as dumb as Mr.Aliyev

  2. Satenik said:

    Height of ignorance and bullying on behalf of a very desperate roghue state, called ficticiously Azerbaijan!

  3. said:

    Despite the stolen phrase “One nation, two states” Turkey and Azerbaijan are not brothers, but rather rivaling distant cousins.

    Azerbaijan’s ruling clan is all Kurdish. They are persecuting observant Muslims, especially Sunny minorities. Turkey is being used by the Big Oil to transport oil and gas out of Azerbaijan and that’s what puts that boiling “brotherly” conflict on hold until Azerbaijan oil runs out.

    They already had the peak production last year. There is maybe 8-10 years to wait for a complete collapse of Heydaristan.

  4. Ara said:

    George, Satenik, as much as we all have and love our nationalist agenda, you cannot be ignorant of the facts, Azerbaijan has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and if anything its global presence and influence grows day by day, in large part due to being a major energy supplier to Europe which provides Europeans with the only alternative in the region to Russia, this European Energy strategy is also at the heart of Nato and has a large effect on US policy in the region. Furthermore, as we are all aware (I hope) Azerbaijan is a close partner of 2 of US’s major allies i.e. Israel and Turkey

    The only way to counter Azerbaijan’s influence in the region is to allow Iranian energy in to European markets. This is not gonna happen with the Iranian Islamists in power. Therefore, Armenian national strategy should be aimed towards this goal. However, we do the opposite out of necessity, i.e. Iran and it current Islamist Government (or more correctly West Azerbaijan) is Armenia’s major trade partner due to blockade on most our borders. Likewise, Armenia cannot survive without Russian aid and support.

    If we consider the above, it is clear that Armenia has taken the side of Russia/Iran and its actions contradict US and European efforts in the region. But and a very big but it is, the problem with Armenia supporting the US/Nato position is that the Iranian region with which Armenia does most of its business is mostly populated by ethnic Azeries, and there are over 16 million of them.

    If the current Islamic Iranian government goes down, it is not unlikely that the Azeries on both sides will want reunification with Azerbaijan Republic and reestablishing borders which were carved up around the treaty of Turkmenchay. As I am sure you can see, this would be a disaster for Armenia and Russia would not be able to do much about it.

    So please, look at the facts (and I mean real, verifiable facts) and the political, geographical and socioeconomic factors involved and think from there and realistically. Blindly repeating the same thing for 20 years is pointless, the situation is fluid and dynamic and we must act accordingly.

  5. Meral said:

    I am a Türk and yes Azerbaycan and Turkey are one nation two states. We are not cousins or brothers. Aliyev has the right to critise Turkey and most of the Türks side with Aliyev’s view against this government. Azerbaycan is not isolated, It has Caspian link to many countries, good relations with Georgia, Baku-Kars railroad is on the way, has a booming economy, sells cheap gas to Turkey and have billions of dollars investments in Turkey. Armenia is a country run by international aid and it is amazing how blind you are

    • edward demian said:

      In our recorded 4000 year history, we have had many crisis, and many invaders far more powerful than our present enemies. History is on or side. What is changed in the last 20 years in DNA studies. The knowledge that the Azeris and the Anatolian Turks are acculturated Armenians, is a game changer. It now becomes an intellectual struggle, not a military one. As the Muslim population becomes aware of their roots, and religion starts to take a back seat to politics, we expect that millions of Turks will revert back to Armenians. All we have to do is wait. The oil will be gone someday, The successive dictators steal all the money, Western interest in your countries will diminish and you will be partitioned, and sold like the rest of us. But we have lasting power because we are culturally more advanced and resilient. We will bury the idea of Turkishness in the annals of History. In the meantime, as you keep up the embargo against us, please do not lift it. It is the best thing that happened to the present Armenian Lands. Oil, who needs it when you have water. So we will divert all the water going to Azerbaijian and sell it to Iran. Our water will never run out, and Azerbaijian will have to drink Oil or the salt water out of the Caspian; which, without sweet water replenishing it, will wither over-salinate and all life in it will die. So if anyone is blind, I think you Muslim Armenians are the blind ones.

      • Ara S. said:

        And to add to this there is a unerasble fact: majority of Turks belong to Armenoid race.
        For example open Websters dictionary and read.