Solution to Karabakh conflict should not be expected soon - Finnish expert

News.Az interviews Dr. Igor Torbakov,
Senior Researcher, Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Russia and Turkey have recently strengthened
bilateral cooperation in almost all directions of interaction and
continue growing them. How can this factor influence the stability in
the South Caucasus?

Potentially, the coordinated actions
of Russia and Turkey in the region could promote stability in the South
Caucasus and regulation of regional conflicts, Naturally, Russia is a
more influential player in the Caucasus: Ankara has to coordinate its
actions with Moscow for implementation of any tasks of its Caucasus
policy. The recent decision of the two countries about the creation of
the interstate mechanism-the Supreme Council of Cooperation-on the basis
of the political leadership is dictated not only by the intention to
develop bilateral relations but also by the understanding of the need to
coordinate efforts on stabilization of the region.

Russia has historically had a traditional
influence on the South Caucasus. Is it timely to speak here of the
jealous attitude toward intensification of another big regional

Naturally, Russia is cautiously
watching the activist external policy of Turkey. The ideologists of
Ankara’s new course speak of the strategic depth and historical
responsibility which motivate Turkey’s interest to the South Caucasus.
Meanwhile, Russia considers itself to be the Caucasus superpower and the
main guarantor of regional security. There is an element of “jealousy”
here, but Russia also understands that Ankara’s capacities are extremely

How do you think
Turkey has advanced in the attempts to reduce tensions in the South

The modest achievements of Turkey in raising
stability in the South Caucasus prove both the extreme complicacy of
problems and limited potential of Ankara. The new regional forum
proposed by Turkey-the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation
Platform-remains a low effective mechanism for the resolution of
regional problems. Frankly speaking, it should be noted that the leading
Turkish politicians understand the difficulties of implementation of
their initiatives. Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu has recently said that
“existence of conflicts is a ground for appearance of such a structure
and the main obstacle in the process of implementation of the idea”.

Turkey has made it clear that it will
improve relations with Armenia only after this country withdraws from
the occupied lands of Azerbaijan. People in Yerevan, as well as Russia
and the West, consider that both problems should be settled in separate.
What do you think about this?

Thinking realistically, it
is possible to say that these two problems (really not bound in the
Turkish-Armenian protocols) can be settled only in process of parallel

Azerbaijan and
Armenia interpret the regulations of the Helsinki final act differently:
Baku speak of the supremacy of the principle of territorial integrity
as basic in international law, while Yerevan demands for the execution
of the rights of Karabakh Armenians for self-determination not inside
Azerbaijan’s framework but as a formation of independent state at the
occupied lands. How do you see the resolution of the problem?

appeal of the parties to a more profitable  principle of international
law should not be surprising – this is a normal event. On the abstract
level the problem of correlation between the two principles is just
unsolvable as they are (like other eight “Helsinki principles”
completely equal. However, as specialists on international law say, a
principle is an abstraction not working beyond definite historical
circumstances. Thus, the issue is not which principle must prevail but
which of them is more applicable in the said definite circumstances. It
is quite clear that the conflict settlement is possible only if both
sides are ready for serious compromises.

Do you think the Karabakh conflict settlement
is close?

As the parties seem not to be ready for serious
compromises, the soonest solution to Karabakh conflict should not be