Moscow, Russia- Russian General Ivashov’s fear of ‘Turkey’: “we are watching the Grand Turan, the Turkish Union project .”

“Turkey is clearly moving towards the Grand Turan, the Turkish Union project” said retired Russian Lieutenant General Leonid Ivashov, who said that they are concerned about Turkey’s policies towards Crimea, Azerbaijan and the Turkish Republics. We we’re watching. Russia will become dependent over time,” he said.

Retired Russian Lieutenant General Leonid Ivashov, referred to as the father of ideas of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, made assessments of Turkey and Russia’s policies in Asia during a program he attended in his country. Ivashov, who said that they are concerned about Turkey’s policies towards Crimea, Azerbaijan and the Turkish Republics, said:

“For Turkey, the most important thing in Karabakh was the Lachin corridor and Zangezur corridor; to connect Azerbaijan with Turkey and then exit to Central Asia. Turkey’s presence in the South Caucasus is a strategically important topic of the geopolitical project for them.

“They sign agreements in our area of responsibility”

“During his visit to Kazakhstan, the Turkish Foreign Minister says that the United army of Grand Turan should be established, and the Kazakh Foreign Minister does not deny this. And we shut up. A few days later, they sign a military strategic agreement with Uzbekistan in our area of responsibility.”

“These show that Turkey is clearly moving towards the Great Turan project. And Russia will become dependent over time, even today it is.”

“Turkey is playing its own game”

“Turkey is also playing its own game in Crimea. At the official level, they are negotiating with the President Zelensky government on the Crimea issue. Turkey also works with Ukraine at the state level. There is also a lot of information about the shipment of UAVs that appear to be working successfully in Karabakh to Ukraine by the end of the year.”

The Zangezur Corridor

The Zangezur Corridor is a large piece of flat and well-watered land in an otherwise rugged, arid region. It lies where the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, the Anatolian highlands and the Zagros Mountains meet. The Zangezur’s relative arability makes it a valuable asset in its own right, but its true value is its role as a transport corridor.

Whoever controls the Zangezur Corridor can project power into the Turkish sphere of influence in Anatolia, the Russian sphere of influence in the intra-Caucasus and directly into the Persian core territories. This small, seemingly forgotten patch of land has been the crossroads of regional competition since long before there were Turks and Russians.

Currently, the Zangezur is not under singular political control. The bulk of the Armenian population lives in the Zangezur’s northeastern quadrant, the corridor’s most arable zone. The northwestern quadrant is the least arable, but holds the strategic high ground of Mount Ararat and is exclusively Turkish. The southwestern quadrant is Iranian territory jutting up between Turkish and Armenian territory.

The southeastern quadrant is the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan. The four portions do not have any significant geographic insulation from one another. Although Turkey, Russia and Iran have not paid much attention to the Zangezur Corridor in recent years, they are certain to revisit the Zangezur issue in time.

Iran and Turkey are both rapidly rising powers already competing for influence across much of the Arab world, and Zangezur is by far the most strategic spot along their shared border. Russia, in contrast, is in sharp demographic decline. Its position in the Caucasus generally and Zangezur/Armenia specifically are only sustainable as long as the Russian army can continue to be a numerically massive force. Collapsing demography could make that impossible by 2020.

Turkic Council

The Turkic Council, officially the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, is an international organization comprising some of the Turkic countries consisting of Turkey and four former Soviet republics. It is an intergovernmental organization whose overarching aim is promoting comprehensive cooperation among Turkic states. It was founded on October 3, 2009 in Nakhchivan. The idea of setting up this cooperative council was first put forward by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2006.

The General Secretariat is in Istanbul, Turkey. The member countries are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Hungary is an Observer state, possible future observers are Tajikistan and Ukraine. Turkmenistan is currently not an official member of the council due to its neutral status. However, by default of its Turkic heritage, it is a possible future member of the council.