Current hysterics is the second major one after Zurich Protocols. The Protocols were doomed to oblivion form the onset, the Yerevan-Van flights, on the other hand, belonging to a realm of business, are much more likely to work. Formally, the flights were initiated by a private Turkish company Bora Jet. Baku, however, suspects that Ankara might actually be behind the private initiative, with Turkish President’s congratulatory message to Armenian leader on the latter’s reelection further undermining Azeri authorities’ trust towards Turkey’s policy line.
The executive secretary of Yeni Azerbaijan ruling party Ali Akhmedov stated that Baku is waiting for Turkish explanations over the launch of the flight. He further expressed Baku’s reluctance to accept a possible Turkish-Armenian rapprochement while “Azeri lands remain occupied.”
Azeri president’s administration expressed a similar stance, with the officials stressing Baku’s “sensitivity” to any contacts with Armenia or Nagorno Karabakh. “Baku deems such contacts to signal support for Armenia,” the Head of the Presidential Administration’s Department on Social Political Issues Ali Hasanov said.
Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ismail Alper Coskun reassured Baku, noting that the launch of the private company’s flight shouldn’t cause doubts as to the official position of Ankara. However a political analyst Mubariz Ahmedoglu, who’s known to be close to governmental circles, refuted the envoy’s version of a “private initiative.” “No flights in Turkey can be allowed without the official permission of the Turkish government, regardless of financials gains. There’s no need trying to trick Azerbaijan,” he said.
Baku, however, is the only one to blame for the trap it got caught into. The flights might well be followed by a resumption of a Kars-Gyumri railway connection. Also, the change of power in Georgia may alter the regional position of Azerbaijan, which is the main cause of concern for he latter. And the “countless oil-brought riches” which Baku will soon run out of won’t affect the situation. It’s hard to believe Ilham Aliyev is unaware of the fact, but the inertia of thought prompts him to continue dictating conditions.
Turkey is currently facing an unpleasant situation – with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Empire to be marked in 2 years, Ankara feels constrained to take some steps. Yerevan-Van flight is the first step which can be followed by Kars-Gyumri railway opening and even cancellation of visa regime. However, one must say, Armenian citizens have no problem getting visas at Georgia’s Vale or Sarpi check points. As for Baku, it may continue its demarches till they actually make Ankara sick.