The relationship of Ukraine and Armenia recently became the topic of numerous speculations, aimed to worsen these relationships for the two people. Moreover, this damage is done in favor of specific forces.
Usually a rather primitive form of anti-Armenian argumentation is used. For Ukrainians the facts like Armenia`s participation in Collective Security Treaty Organization, inadequate point of its political elites in Crimean question and actual dependence on Russia are stressed. A separate point is comparison of Karabakh and Eastern Ukrainian war scenarios. Typical adepts of “territorial unity” usually don`t mention the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus which looks much more like Ukrainian situation than Armenia- Azerbaijan conflict.
It is interesting that praised Azarbaijan solidarity with Ukrainians abruptly terminated after them winning the war. Azerbaijan did not participate in the 8th of December UN vote on the Crimean resolution. It seems they do not care about the problem of Ukrainian borders at all.
At the same time Armenians remind about so to say friendly relations of Ukraine and Azerbaijan or increasing dependence of Ukraine on Turkey. Usually this kind of propaganda is originated by forces totally blind to Ankara and Moscow anti-Armenian revolt, continuing stressing the concept of “Russian allies”. Such a position typically reminds “pro-Turkish” forces in Ukraine who do not see obvious alliance of Russia and Turkey. It sometimes seems that both sides use same propaganda manuals.
Speaking about relationship of Ukraine and Armenia two moments must be noted. Ukrainians will always be grateful to Sergiy Nigoyan for his sacrifice on Maidan in the name of our freedom. We must remember that he was not only a Ukrainian patriot, but an Armenian nationalist from Artsah as well, and he would never agree to give it up to aliens.
A less known is the Ukrainian nationalist Mykola Kichmar buried on the military cemetery Ierlabur, as Armenian national hero. Struggler for Ukraine`s independence and Ukrainian Crimea where he purposely moved from his home in Vinnytsia region. Mykola Kichmar supported Armenia`s struggle in Artsas and creation of National Karabakh Region. For him it was a quite natural decision for it was Armenian struggle in Karabakh that started USSR`s decline and liberation of enslaved nations. Only from nationalistic point of view it would be strange to adore Communist Party`s drawn borders.
Also fundamental geo-political, economic, military and cultural circumstances exist, and they not only presuppose the Ukrainian-Armenian alliance, but moreover remain no other healthy alternative.
We have to pay attention to the reality of Osman-Moscow alliance, to begin with. It would be a true geo-political nightmare both for Ukraine and Armenia. Both of these powers would be a threat for the two nations in the state of conflict between them, but their union brings the problem to a new level. Obviously, a hope for the conflict remains, but in this case Russian Federation and Turkey would lose much more than win anything, and it is pretty clear for both capitals.
What Turkey is striving to?
The Turks clearly entered the path of renovation of Osman project; moreover, they actually do not hide that.
Erdogan`s epoch is marked with leaving previous principles of Turkey`s development and birth of a totally different kind of society and state. After Kemal Atatturk`s reform the Turkish republic was based on the principles of secularization, social and language nationalism, republican form of government, integration into the Western world, abandoning of imperial ambitions. But after Erdogan`s come to power the situation change into opposite direction…
First of all, the policy of Turkey`s islamization. Obviously, most of the Turks remain Muslims, but during the last years other behavior standards were implemented on them. For instance, prohibition on wearing a hijab along with other traditional Muslim clothes; system of religious education was under pressure, as well as discrimination of believing Muslims was quite spread. All of this resulted tension between most of people and the ruling class. Majority supported pro-Islam forces in the election, the government responded with military revolts. The army was considered the main guard of the secular state.
Christian sanctity – St. Sophia Cathedral was officially turned into a mosque by Erdogan.
But during the last year the re-Islamization of the country took place. Hijab is allowed again. Islamic educational institutions get the state support. Also religious upbringing is back to state schools, though as a form of additional class. State leaders openly declare support of Islamic principles and it is clearly seen in cultural politics.
Secondly, the idea of neo-osmanism replaced the civil-language nationalism mixed with rejection of imperialism. Kemalist nationalism oriented itself on modern nation, united by single language and citizenship. Ethnic factor was not taken into account. Apart from that this specific form of nationalism did not support the actual Turkish cultural traditions. Alas, even the Turkish language itself was thoroughly reformed, transformed into other one. Modern Turks without specific education have a hard time reading text even a hundred years old. And integration into the EU is considered top of these political ambitions.
Neo-Osmanism, on the other side, declares the struggle for restoration of traditional Turkish culture. But we have to add that we are talking about the Turkish culture of Osman type, not the Islamic culture in general, promoted by majority of Islamists. The time of Ottoman Empire is seen as a certain ideal.
But geo-political dimension of neo-osmanism is a far more important aspect. It is about bringin back the empire, but on the new level of development. Instead of conquering there is cultural and economic expansion, but the ambitions do not lessen.
“Yes, we are the new Osmans. We have to deal with neighboring countries. And we are even going to Africa. Big states view it with confusion”- Minister of foreign affairs of Turkey told A. Dvutoglov.
It is interesting that in modern Turkey the true rehabilitation of Osman monarchy took place. Moreover, strengthening of the President`s authoritarian power is compared to restoration of sultanate by both his followers and opponents.
Neo-osmanism can be well combined with the pan-Turkism ideas, though it should have been contradicting them. Modern Turkish politics uses Turkish ethnic nationalism in some cases and un-ethnic Islam idea or heritage of Osman imperial project of kemalist view as a “most eastern of the western countries” in others.
Pan-Turkism is a real and active political ideology, which on the contrary to pan-Slavism or similar European-originated projects already influences most Turkish people. Most of them have a rather vague national consciousness, that`s why language, religious identity along with Turkey`s attraction in economic or civilization plan have more success. Of course, some people like Yakut or Gagaus are on the edge of Turkish community due to cultural and religious factor. But influence on them can be very effective. In case of Middle Asia or Azerbaijan we speak about pan-Turkism as almost main foreign policy factor.
Turkey`s neo-Osman plans, if fully carried out, are hardly combined with Russian. They intend to make the Black Sea the “Turkish Lake” and uniting Turk people who make up a large part of Russian population.
But we have to pay close attention to two moments.
First of all, Neo-Osman project threatens Ukraine no less then Russia. If it is carried out fully, we speak not about Crimea, but all the Southern Ukraine.
Secondly, the full realization of geo-political ambitions of Turkey will evolve during the next 10-20 years, and in nearer future other problems shall be important. But if these are solved, Osman-Moscow project has a lot more common points than disagreements.
What common interests do they have?
First of all, both Russia and Turkey are interested in limiting external players from their sphere of priorities. Long passed the times when Turks tried to show their loyalty to “collective West”. Nowadays they consider any influence of Western partners as something unwanted. And the Putin`s Russia position of “rising from its knees” does not require introduction.
Secondly, the factor of inner politics. Even if a conflict between Russia and Turkey bursts out, none of them will aim to change the government of the other. They could struggle for the spheres of influence but do not interfere into inner affairs. From this point of view both Putin and Erdogan are likely to deal with one another than with the “western partners” who will not abandon attempts to influence their inner politics even when weakened themselves.
The third moment is the Chinese factor. On one hand, bot Moscow and Ankara are interested in keeping good relationship with the PRC. Erdogan even betrayed the Uighur – eastern Turks, doomed to enslavement and genocide by Chinese government – all of this in order to keep cooperation with Beijing. But Chinese interests are the same and to maintain balance both Turks and the Russians will need a strong partner, together they could hold China especially in the Middle Asia.
The fourth point is the actual need of an ally for both countries, which are drawn into struggle with stronger enemies or at least competitors. Turkey must oppose the coalition of monarchies of the Persian Gulf (except friendly Qatar), Egypt and French-Greek coalition, which is supported by main part of the EU. All of that occurs in the light of the worst relationships with the USA since 1945. Each of the listed players alone is stronger than Turkey. The situation for Russian Federation is not better, that`s why Putin and Erdogan are forced to compromise, even if their contradictions were more serious. Thus we see the direct interest of Russia and Turkey in coordination of actions at least from Kirgizia to Libya.
But what does it mean for Armenia and Ukraine?
For Armenia this means the most negative result of the “Russian-Turkish dilemma”, choice between possible genocide from the Turks and occupation by Russia. But the most tragic thing is that the Russian government does not give any guarantees of protection. Moreover, if the Armenian state is seen by Russia as a negative fact, its territorial and national identity is treated indifferently. Thus the Russians will always sacrifice Armenians in their conflict with the Turks.
Moreover, the brightest example of Moscow-Osman`s union strength is common understanding of “Turan border” and control over Sunic – South Armenia.
Conquering most of Karabakh was not Turkey and Azerbaijan`s biggest success in the last war, it was forcing Armenia to be-block transportation between them and giving Turkey way to the Middle Asia. They will gladly give this very important transport corridor to Russia, and they will gain their profit from it.
Foreign control of Sunic means its almost inevitable loss, and that will result impossibility of Armenia`s independence whatsoever.
As the famous ideologue and active Armenian nationalist Garegin Nge truly noted a hundred years ago: “Sunic is the spine of our motherland, without it Armenia cannot exist”. Today`s geopolitical realities only support this position.
The situation is so threatening that we might ask whether Armenia will become a fortress or a trap for their people in case of realization of Moscow-Osman`s plans.
Phantasmal choice between Osman genocide and Russian occupation means no choice at all. In case of loss of sovereignty Armenia will have no interest for Russia as a region of the empire. Directly occupied Armenia is doomed to social and economic decline and depopulation in very short period, probably no more than one generation. If part of the territory is given to Turkey, the decline will proceed in a natural way.
Armenia`s only alternative is leaving Russia`s influence; any other variant means, in a better case, slow extinction as a national and territorial unit. In the worst case it will be conducted like the agreement of Moscow treaty of 1921.
For Ukraine situation is not much better, though our size and geopolitical position will give us better chances.
The very fact that Russia agreed to support the Turkish presence in the Southern Caucasus shows that it develops its power in other direction—to the West, where it has the only enemy against whom activity can be held—Ukraine.
Of course, different maneuvers can occur prior to it, like occupation of Belarus, though this case on this phase will be unnecessary and unwanted. Turkey imitates a reliable partner and potential defender of Ukraine. But it is clearly visible that most likely the scenario of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict will happen, only Turks will play the role of Russian “allies”.
In case of potential big-scale conflict with Russia no one will fight for us, as it already happened in 2014, except several rare foreign volunteers. EU is the structure varying between powerlessness and pro-Russian position. USA experience political crisis and inner struggle. Biden can call Putin “a killer” as many times as he wants, but he will not engage in a conflict on Ukraine`s side. Great Britain can supply a more valuable support, but not go to our war either. By the way, Turkey can try to neutralize British influence if it considers such action profitable.
Seeing this Turks look like a country that can possibly support Ukraine even in the armed struggle. But would it be useful for them to break relationship with Russia if they can play in two ways.
Military and technological cooperation always makes a customer dependable on the seller, who nearly always offers not only the product, but support for it as well, especially if we speak about highly technological weapons.
The question is not about favored “Bairactars” being not the best product of the market. Besides, Ukraine can easily develop its own analogues. The problem is that in the crucial moment we may find ourselves critically dependent on the allies who can easily betray us.
We should not be surprised to find out that “Bairactars” and “Iskanders” are alike not only by exotic names.
In case of big-scale military loss of Ukraine Turkey can easily pretend to be a loyal “peacemaker”, whom Russia will have to give place. And thus everything that remains of our country will fall into direct dependence on Ankara. If it is not yet time for Crimea, perhaps they will be satisfied by Odessa, Mykolaiv and Herson, controlled not in the role of “occupant”, but of the “peacekeeper”.
Economic aspect of Ukrainian-Turkish cooperation is a separate topic.
At the end of 2020 Ukrainian entrepreneurs asked to be as careful as possible when working with Turkish “partners”.
“As Ukrainian manufacturers and employers we are suspicious that desire to obtain political benefits from signing the trade agreement with Turkey can overcome trading and economic interests of our state and each Ukrainian citizen. While it is not only the import from Turkey that will get cheaper in some points, but also people can lose working places, country – local manufactures and budget income. And we will lose perspective of development as well” – the Head of the Employer Federation of Ukraine Dmytro Oliynyk said.
Now the huge expansion of Turkish business in Ukraine is at process. It would be good to neutralize Russian influence this way, but we are talking about ousting of Ukrainians by Turks. We can imagine the scale of it in case Ukraine loses the war and becomes directly dependent in military and economic way.
We must clearly understand that Ukraine may not orientate itself on same region countries. We are doomed to conflict with the Turks not because of our wish but because of geography. If Ukraine does not try to dominate in Black Sea region, it becomes the object of expansion. We cannot be even the “minor partner” due to the size, for we are more beneficial as an object of division than a whole state.
In case we do not conduct the best independent and active policy, both Ukraine and Armenia are doomed to catastrophe, and this draws us to union.
How can a union of Ukraine and Armenia look like?
Ukraine is doomed to active external policy on Caucasus. We simply don`t have a choice due to our geopolitical location. If we do not influence Caucasus, it is going to be used to influence us.
“Caucasus is the hope for Ukraine in its expansion to the South, but Ukraine is also a hope for those who struggle for Caucasus` unity. This unity is only beneficial for Ukraine, this bridge leading to the Persian Gulf itself. From Don, Kuban and to Caucasus the ancient voices of Assyria, Aravia, Mongolia and China speak to Ukraine”, stated Ukraine`s most famous geopolitician Yuriy Lypa.
Ukraine without Caucasus balances on an edge of geopolitical catastrophe, but together they create a state of European meaning.
Lypa insisted on the necessity of Caucasus` unification and its fruitful cooperation with Ukrainians. Trying to analyze perspectives of this geopolitical project he systemized local people into four groups: European colonists, autochthons, local Indo-Europeans (including Armenians) and Turks.
“The 2nd group includes ancient Caucasian tribes (Georgians, Kabardinians, Hevsures and other more than 30 language groups) inhabiting two strategic most important Caucasus territories: Georgia and North Caucasus and during the last quarter of century found the most understanding for the idea of unity of this region. The third group is made of Iranian tribes, like Armenians, Osteons and Kurds. It is composed of indifferent to Caucasus` unity people. Importance of Armenians and Kurds is in their hatred from Turks, for they have been too long killed by the latter.
Though the 4th group is very pro-Turkish, composed of the Turks of Azerbaijan. They appeared in the region if 12-13th ct. During the last 25 years they considered themselves bound mostly with the Turks and Mongols of Turkestan, Iran and Turkey and betrayed the unity of Caucasus in 1919-1921.
It is interesting that the concept of this division did not get obsolete.
Georgia and Anti-Moscow forces of mountain people express the most enthusiasm in Caucasian projects; they also best cooperate with Ukrainians. Azerbaijan people consider themselves a part of Turkish world with the interests of their own, clearly far beyond Caucasus.
Armenia has the more complex position.
On one side, Armenia`s heart and head is the Armenian Plateau and the nation itself is very bound to Caucasus. On the other side, their ethno sphere is much broader, so it is only natural for Armenians to think in wider than just about Caucasus.
Unlike the Azerbaijanis the Armenians see themselves as not just a part of a bigger unit (Turkish community), but a separate subject, to whose influential sphere the entire Middle East belongs. We also have to take into account the impact Spurk – the Armenian diaspora – has on their mentality.
Armenian factor in the question of realization of Ukrainian geopolitical plans is more complex, but far more perspective in wider geopolitical dimension. But it cannot be adequately solved without de-occupation of Western Armenia.
The modern Armenia is just a small part of this land in historical meaning of this word. A hundred years ago, considering the catastrophe of Armenian genocide, the situation was much different.
On the 10th of August 1920 the Sevres Peace Treaty has been signed between the Sultan Turkey and Entente with its allies. Thus Turkey recognized Armenia as a free and independent state. Both of them agreed to follow the direction of USA President Woodrow Wilson about the boundaries Wan, Bitlis, Erzrum and Trabzon and Armenia`s access to the Black Sea.
Armenia gained three times more area than now, and the sea access was more than necessary. We are talking about the country with much more possibilities that had very large influence in its region. Moreover, being a Christian state, it became the leader of this religion in the Middle East.
Only due to common actions of Turkey and Bolshevik Russia the “Wilson`s Armenia” was destroyed. It was an act of violence conducted unpunished only due to passive position of big states tired by the World War I, though there are no legal grounds of these actions.
Ara Papaian in his collection of articles “Airenatirutun” writes the following: “Arbitrage decision is final and necessary to follow. It has no limits in time and its status does not depend on the future fate of the decision. The international law, including the 81st article of Hague convention (1907) stating and generalizing the status of arbitrage decisions does not presuppose any cancellation of such a decision. According to the international law the two sides, if they agree to present their controversy for an arbitrage decision adopt any such decision necessary to be followed by them forever. Rejection of one of the sides does not influence the truth of the decision. In this case, while the arbitrage summon was presented not only by Armenia and Turkey but also 16 other countries, all of them must follow the decision. Now there are the following countries among them: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. It is also necessary for the arbiter – the USA, while any official position of the President of the USA is the position of the country and steps presupposed by the arbitrage are necessary to follow. Armenia, being the UN member can testify the authenticity of Wilson`s arbitrage decision and claim its title for the territory granted by this decision – with the help of the UN International Court, based on point A and B Article 36 of the Court`s statute”.
The most important thing is that here we speak not about the visible side of international law, but about the necessity to create the fully fledged Armenian state. The diaspora includes more than 2\3 of the Armenians worldwide, moreover, modern Armenian Republic is not capable to exist in its current boundaries.
This question is important for Ukraine, for its fulfillment as a grand state is not possible without maximizing the Caucasian influence. Also we have to note that the very existence of Ukraine will be threatened if this influence is not strong enough. The geographic position is ideal to begin the expansion, but almost impossible to organize defense for a long time.
Ukrainian influence of Caucasus will never become possible without liberating Armenian from Moscow`s occupation. On the other hand, we are doomed to confront Turkey just because of the geopolitical factors, even without its alliance with Moscow. But neither Russian nor Turkish influence is acceptable on Caucasus for both of us.
The realization of Grand Armenia project can change the situation very much, transforming the state from a weak ally requiring permanent support into a powerful partner opening the way to the Middle East for Ukraine.
Of course it is the question of strategic perspective, but common struggle against Moscow-Osman alliance must be started now, for its alternative is the geopolitical catastrophe leading to destruction/
Also we must not underestimate Ukraine`s capabilities, which is the 2nd in Europe by size and ideal geopolitical placing, Spurk, which is one of the most influential diaspora in the world and many world players, who can benefit in case the region is reloaded against Moscow`s and Turkey`s interests.
Ukraine can exist in case it becomes the grand state. Influence on Caucasus is impossible without the union with Armenia, and such a union is possible only in case of origination Grand Armenia.