Turkey seeking to stonewall ceasefire, control Caucasus’ oil and gas, Armenia says

Turkey is working to undermine a Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan for the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabah, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told the Russian state-run TASS news agency.

“I am sure that so far we have not managed to implement the Moscow agreement because there are forces that are preventing it, sabotaging it for sure,” Pashinyan said in an interview published on Monday.

Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies within Azerbaijan’s territory but is majority Armenian, has persisted despite a renewed ceasefire agreement at the weekend. An initial accord failed last week.

“First and foremost, it is Turkey, Turkey is interested in seeing the Moscow agreement fail,” Pashinyan said. “Turkey's actions are aimed at elbowing Russia out of the South Caucasus.”

Russia is the dominant player in the Caucasus region and maintains a security pact with Armenia, a close ally. The pact does not cover Nagorno-Karabakh. Moscow has also cultivated warmer relations with Azerbaijan in recent years. It sells weapons to both sides.

When the border clashes began on Sept. 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared his country’s firm support for Azerbaijan, saying it was ready to do whatever was necessary to eject Armenian forces from the region.

Erdoğan agreed that a peaceful resolution was the only option to end the conflict in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin last Wednesday, according to the Kremlin. However, TASS said Moscow was sceptical about a proposal by Turkey to allow it to join peace talks on the side of Azerbaijan while Russia represented the interests of Armenia.

Turkey provoked the latest round of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh to take control of oil and natural gas pipelines extending to Europe from the Caspian region, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian told Russian newspaper Kommersant, according to news network RT.

Turkey used to be “a consumer (of energy), but now will be a manager”, Sarkissian said.

 “Turkey will be a neighbour of Russia, and they will essentially have a land border. Turkey will manage the oil and gas pipelines that are laid to Europe,” he said.