“Baku is testing the international community, with the certainty that its reaction will be slow”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on October 26, 2021. MURAT CETIN MUHURDAR / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP

MAINTENANCEThe number of violent clashes on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan rose on Thursday, September 15 to more than 170 dead. For Franck Papazian, Baku has been over-arming itself for the last twenty years, helped a lot by Erdogan’s Turkey.

Franck Papazian is a member of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Associations in France. He just published it The Erdogan Regime. A threat to France (Versilio/Robert Laffont, 144 pages, €18).


LE FIGARO. – The number of violent clashes on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan rose on Thursday, September 15 to more than 170 dead, according to a provisional assessment. How can this resurgence of violence be explained?

FRANCK PAPAZIAN. – Armenia has officially announced at least 105 dead on its side. Azerbaijan launched this impressive military offensive with the aim of further conquering the territories of the Republic of Armenia. Baku tested the international community, while there is certainty that its reaction was too weak. Thus Azerbaijan can continue its murderous offensive with impunity.

France has announced that they will usurp the UN Security Council. Is it enough? Should France, and wider Europe, intervene to end the hostilities?

This is a good thing, but it is far from enough. The UN Security Council should send blue helmets to protect the Armenian population. Azerbaijan ignores verbal condemnations. Since 1994, Baku has violated the ceasefire about 6,000 to 10,000 times per year. The 44-day war in the fall of 2020 is a ceasefire violation. Azerbaijan completely disrespects international orders. And if the UN refuses to send peacekeeping forces, then France must accept its responsibilities. Will we, in 2022, allow someone to be massacred in front of television cameras?

Erdogan and his team are trying to justify the Azerbaijani intervention.

Frank Papazian

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu called on Armenia “Stop his provocations”. Is the process of normalization between the two countries, which started last year, collapsed?

The Turkish government is in an intense propaganda phase. Erdogan and his team are trying to justify the Azerbaijani intervention. Armenia was never in a posture to challenge. Armenians want peace. They want to live in their homes safely. But Turkish and Azerbaijani forces want to occupy and control the country. The “normalization” proposed by Erdogan is not aimed at peace with Armenia. Erdogan wants to get his hands on the country. “Normalization” and the opening of diplomatic and commercial relations will allow Ankara to control the Armenian economy for several years. But, in addition, Erdogan issued conditions for normalization: 1- That Armenia accepts that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan’s borders. 2- That the Armenians left the question of recognizing the genocide in Turkey.

During the 44-day war, Erdogan sent to Azerbaijan 80 Turkish military experts leading the entire war, 1,200 elite Turkish mountain warfare soldiers and 2,000 Syrian jihadists.

Frank Papazian

Should we see behind Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan a more identity-based approach than a political one?

The Turkish-Azerbaijani force is the pan-Turkism force. In the name of Pan-Turkism the Armenians were killed in 1915. This alliance is a danger in the area for the Armenians.

How does Ankara’s support for Baku affect the conflict?

During the 44-day war, Erdogan sent to Azerbaijan 80 Turkish military experts who led the entire war, 1,200 elite Turkish soldiers specializing in mountain warfare and 2,000 Syrian jihadists, Turkish army back-ups. Erdogan also armed Azerbaijan. The Turkish president has made the war against Armenia his war. Baku has been over-arming itself for the past 20 years. We are talking about the acquisition of 2 to 3 billion pieces of equipment per year, including an industrial amount of kamikaze drones, phosphorus bombs and cluster munitions. The massacre of Armenians continues in 2022. We must react.

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