T-ArmenNagor93

Turkey on war in Nagorno-Karabakh (1993)

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Greek-Turkish Negotiations and Crises 1983-2003 Dataset , Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/Greek-TurkishNegotiationsandCrises1983-2003/#d.en.173636)

The six-year (1987-1993) Nagorno-Karabakh conflict results in around 10,000 deaths and 750,000 Azeri refugees, a tenth of the national population of Azerbaijan.[i] At the end of the war Armenians occupy nearly 20 percent of the neighboring country (four times the area of Nagorno-Karabakh, the original source of conflict). President Özal argues that the issue is no longer a question of Nagorno-Karabakh alone: “It must be viewed as part of an attempt to create a Greater Armenia.” [ii] The crisis attracts the attention of international media, and LexisNexis (world news/ European News Sources) reports 31 results for search terms “Armenia,” “Turkey,” and “crisis” for September 1993.

Case Study Features:

Offensive vs. Defensive Signals Indistinguishable:  1

The Armenian advances, primarily the support Armenia has gained from the US, Russia, and Iran, is a source of worry for Turkey. Azerbaijan is closely related culturally and linguistically to Turkey, and its military setbacks are being compared in the Turkish press to the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "We cannot and will not allow another Bosnia on our doorstep," is a common cry in Turkish newspapers, according to the Financial Times.[iii] It is difficult to distinguish between what is happening between Armenia and Azerbaijan and a future conflict between Turkey and Armenia. To this point, the Times suggest that the current conflict conjures up the specter of Armenian claims to much of Eastern Turkey, claims which helped to provoke the Turkish massacres of the Armenians in 1915, and which remain a source of contention between Turks and Armenians up to today. [iv] 

Effectiveness of offense versus the defense :  1

On the one hand, the possibility of Turkey being involved militarily in the conflict is very limited. There are explicit Russian warnings not to do so,[v] despite the fact that Turkey has a legal right to intervene in some affected areas, such as the Nakhichevan enclave close to its own border.[vi]  On the other hand, an economic embargo is not only effective (against landlocked Armenia), but also relatively costless for Turkey.  

Domestic Challenge: 1

Turkey faces a major political crisis after the sudden death of PM Özal on April 17, 1993.[vii] The parliament has to elect a new president and a government. The new government faces a series of scandals and needs the support of the military to survive politically.[viii]

Enduring Ethnic Rivalries: 1

Rivalries exist over the Armenian demand for recognition of the 1915 genocide and Asala terrorism.[ix]

Confrontational Policies: 1

One of the criteria for defining confrontational policies is the presence of a unilateral embargo in violation of UN resolutions reported on May 1993.[x] Even though some leading figures rule out intervention in Azerbaijan,[xi] others insist on Turkey “showing its teeth” to Armenia.[xii] Newly-elected Prime Minister Tansu Çiller warns in an interview published by Turkish daily Hurriyet that if Armenia launches action against Nakhichevan, she will call on parliament to declare war and send in troops.[xiii]  Security dilemma and diversionary theory are present and confirmed.

 

 


[i] Dilip Hiro, “Azerbaijan: Turkish Troops Build-Up Fuels”, Inter Press Service, September 7, 1993.

[ii] Anatol Lieven,Turks Raise Prospect of Azerbaijan Alliance,” The Times April 15, 1993.

[iii] Andrew Borowiec, “Turkey's Female Prime Minister Turns to Military for Support,” The Washington Times, September 4, 1993, Pg. A7

[iv] Anatol Lieven,Turks Raise Prospect of Azerbaijan Alliance,” The Times April 15, 1993.

[v] Dilip Hiro, “Azerbaijan: Turkish Troops Build-Up Fuels”, Inter Press Service, September 07, 1993; Sami Kohen, “Turkey Avoids Force in Armenia Strife,” The Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 1992, p. 6.

[vi], The Russian Information Agency, “Aliyev Does not Rule out Turkish Involvement in Crisis”, ITAR-TASS June 22, 1992.

[vii] “Turkey faces political crisis after death of President Ozal” Toronto Star, April 18, 1993, p.5. 

[viii] Andrew Borowiec, “Turkey's Female Prime Minister Turns to Military for Support,” The Washington Times, September 4, 1993, p.7.

[ix] Jean-Marc Theolleyre, “Bombing discredits Armenian cause”, Manchester Guardian Weekly/ Le Monde, July 24, 1983, p.1.

[x] “Turkey Accused of Violating U.N. Resolution,” Agence France Presse, May 20, 1993

[xi] “Demirel Rules out Turkish Troops Intervention in Azerbaijan enclave”, Agence France Presse May 20, 1992.

[xii] Hugh Pope, “Turkey 'must show its teeth' to Armenia” The Independent, April 7, 1993, p1.

[xiii] “Prime Minister's ‘Hurriyet’ Interview Warning Armenia of ‘Possibility of War’,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, September 7, 1993.