By Theodore Shoebat
In a recent interview with TIME Magazine, the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, warned that what Turkey is doing is working to reestablish the Ottoman Empire in the Caucasus. He said: “Turkey’s action is nothing short of action aimed at reinstating the Ottoman empire.” He also claimed that the Syrian mercenaries who Turkey sent into Azerbaijan were harassing villages and trying to impose Sharia law. As TIME reported:
“Pashinyan said Armenia’s conditions for a ceasefire are Turkey “discontinuing [its] engagement” and “the withdrawal of mercenaries and terrorists or their elimination.” He claimed, without presenting evidence, that mercenaries were harassing Azerbaijani villages, demanding the implementation of shariah law, and ransacking shops selling alcohol.”
Turkey is soaring above the barriers of the American hegemony, being enabled and allowed to become not just a regional power in the Middle East, but now a reigning powerhouse that can control the political atmosphere of the Caucasus. This is really of no surprise, since the Turks once controlled Azerbaijan, and even went to battle with the Russians to control its capital city, Baku. We are speaking of the Battle of Baku of 1918. The Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan had been granted freedom from the Russian Empire (thanks to the Brest-Litovsk agreement with the Bolsheviks), but Baku was still under Bolshevik control. The Ottomans wanted Batum in Georgia, Kars and Ardahan in Armenia, and Baku in Azerbaijan. On April 19th of 1918, the Turks entered Batum, and on April 25 they moved right into Kars. But their eyes were still on Baku. The city was rich in oil, and the empire needed that black blood of the earth for which so much crimson blood has been spilt.
The Bolsheviks controlled Baku with an Armenian proxy, the nationalist Dashnak Party, under the banner of the “Baku Commune”. There was horrendous violence committed by the Armenian nationalists in the prior month. In March of 1918, the Baku Commune’s forces let loose on the Azeri population a vicious pogrom that slaughtered up to 12,000 Muslims. It was then that the Azeris called to the Ottomans for help, and Enver Pasha did not waste time on such an opportunity to not only take more territory but to acquire the oil. Moreover, by taking Baku the Ottomans would have a center point from which to deploy troops to Iraq where they wanted to retake Bagdad from the British. Enver brought together an army of native Azeris and it was given the title of “the Caucasus Army of Islam” (Kafkas İslâm Ordusu). This army, under the command of Nuri Pasha, eventually took the city of Baku from the Russians on September 15th. The strategical reasoning behind winning this battle was to get Azerbaijan to become a loyal state to the Ottomans. (See Rogan, The Fall of the Ottomans, ch. 13, pp. 371-2) And to this day, we see this strong loyalty, to the point that the ex-president of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, described the relation between Azerbaijan and Turkey as “one nation with two states”.
Looking at the times of 1918 and of now, we see a continuous pattern with conflict between Armenians and Azeris and Turkey intervening to establish its control under the justification of helping Azerbaijan. History does not repeat exactly, but it does rhyme. It is a rhythmic trend of the political experience, always returning to the chorus of chaos. Looking to the past, we see a rhythm that parallels with the song that we hear today, and it is mesmerizing the world into yet another path of destruction.