The European Parliament’s Laçın Statement and Its Possible Harms

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

Karabakh is a frozen conflict zone inherited from the Soviet Union era. Because, according to international law, Karabakh, which is the territory of Azerbaijan, has been under the occupation of Armenia for 30 years. In this process, Europe generally displayed a pro-Armenian stance. However, as a result of the Second Karabakh War, which started on September 27, 2020, the balances and equations in the region have changed. With the victory of Azerbaijan, the necessary environment for peace and reconciliation was established in the Caucasus.

On the other hand, the war that started between Russia and Ukraine made the Caucasus one of the priority areas for Europe. Because European states, which have imposed various sanctions on Russia, have turned to alternative sources in this process. The Caucasus is important in two aspects in terms of reaching the mentioned resources. First of all, the Caucasus and the Caspian region have important energy resources. The underground riches of Azerbaijan can be effective in overcoming the energy crisis in Europe.

Secondly, the Caucasus constitutes the most important transit route for Europe to reach Central Asia. Because Azerbaijan is the key country in the transition of Europe to Central Asia via the Caspian Sea on the east-west route.

With the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, Europe, which wanted to be effective on the Caucasus-Caspian-Central Asia route, started to follow a more active policy regarding the developments in Karabakh. Because the reconciliation and peace environment to be achieved in the region will make it possible for Europe to reach alternative underground resources in the shortest time, at the least cost and in the most trouble-free way.

The normalization process in the Azerbaijan-Armenia line is also faced with various problems, criticisms and the effects of peace-breaking actors, as in other examples in the world. In particular, the parties’ inability to agree on various issues causes problems in the normalization process. In this context, the Lachin Corridor, which is one of the most important issues in the normalization process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, has been drawing attention recently.

Looking at the developments in the Lachin Corridor, it should be emphasized that Azerbaijan’s sovereignty rights were violated in the region and illegal mining was done through the destruction of nature. However, it is also known that people/groups who want to use the corridor uncontrollably smuggle weapons into the area.[1] In this way, the actors aim to eliminate the possibility of reconciliation by disrupting the normalization process.

The Yerevan administration, on the other hand, instrumentalizes human values through the claim that the Armenians in the region are cut off from the outside world.[2] In this context, it can be said that the Yerevan administration, which is trying to influence the world, has achieved its goal to some extent. Because the European Parliament (EP) claimed that on January 19, 2023, the protesters blocked access to the Lachin Corridor and this caused a humanitarian crisis in Karabakh.[3]

The statement of the EP is inconsistent with the realities in the region and harms the normalization process. The developments especially serve to strengthen the Karabakh Clan, which is against the normalization process in the Caucasus. In addition, this situation causes Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who has taken various steps towards normalization, to be subjected to more pressure. The pressure of the Pashinyan administration may hinder the normalization process.

The deterioration of the normalization process in the Caucasus is not only due to the normalization efforts between Azerbaijan and Armenia; It will also harm Europe’s regional policy. Because Europe is trying to reach the Caspian Sea and Central Asia via Azerbaijan. In order to implement this policy, it is necessary to ensure regional stability and lasting peace.

On the other hand, Europe is faced with the need to keep its relations with Azerbaijan strong both within the framework of bilateral relations and within the scope of the European Union (EU). The accusation and marginalization of Azerbaijan by ignoring the interests of Azerbaijan in the statements made about the region may cause Baku to reconsider its relations with the EU. Azerbaijan, which is an important regional power in such an environment, has the political, economic and military capacity to facilitate or complicate Europe’s strategy towards the Caucasus, Caspian and Central Asia. The damage to be done by the marginalizing and unrealistic discourses of Europe can be given as an example through France.

It is known that France, both in the past and today, is one of the states that took part in the search for the solution of the Karabakh Problem in the context of the Minsk Trio. However, the Paris administration, instead of developing a will to solve the problem; It has adopted a policy that ignores the rights of Azerbaijan. This situation both damages Azerbaijan-France relations and limits the presence of Paris in the Caucasus.

France, which was once an influential state in world politics, cannot show a serious presence in the Caucasus today. Being isolated from a region like the Caucasus, which has high geoeconomic, geostrategic and geopolitical advantages, makes it difficult for this country to become a global actor.

On the other hand, these developments do not serve the interests of Armenia. The increase in tension at the regional level causes the deepening of the political and economic crisis in the mentioned country. In addition, this situation causes the disruption of the implementation of regional projects. Thus, Armenia is not able to gain profit from the projects it can be involved in thanks to regional cooperation.

As a result, the AP’s explanation does not match the realities on the ground. As a matter of fact, it is obvious that the statement made will cause serious damage in a multidimensional way. The first actor to suffer from these statements is Europe itself. Because EU countries will be isolated from the Caucasus and have difficulty in reaching the Caspian and Central Asia. In addition, the normalization process on the Azerbaijan-Armenia line will also suffer. Because the statement in question will strengthen the hand of the Karabakh Clan. In addition, the increasing pressure on Pashinyan and the marginalization of Baku may deepen the political and economic crisis in Armenia. This will cause the implementation of regional projects to be delayed and Yerevan to experience significant losses.

[1] Sabina Mammadli, “Russia Probing into Azerbaijani Info on Weapons Smuggling into Karabakh via Lachin Road”, Azernews,, (Date of Accession: 24.01.2023).

[2] “Thousands of Armenians Trapped in Nagorno-Karabakh Face Humanitarian Crisis”, France 24,, (Date of Accession: 24.01.2023).

[3] Ömer Tuğrul Çam, “AP Milletvekilleri Karabağ’daki Laçın Koridoru’nun Açık Tutulmasını Talep Etti”, Anadolu Ajansı,, (Date of Accession: 24.01.2023).

Dr. Emrah KAYA
Dr. Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı Dr. Emrah Kaya, Akdeniz Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezundur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2014 yılında Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde hazırladığı “Latin Amerika'da Sol Liderlerin Yükselişi ve Uluslararası Politikaya Etkisi: Venezuela-Bolivya Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Kaya, doktora derecesini de 2022 yılında aynı üniversitede hazırladığı "Terörle Mücadelede Müzakere Yöntemi: ETA-FARC-LTTE-PKK" başlıklı teziyle elde etmiştir. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Kaya'nın başlıca çalışma alanları; Orta Asya, Latin Amerika, terörizm ve barış süreçleridir.