threats and sanctions from Russia
, Turkey on December 4 went to its Turkic cousin Azerbaijan to get some much-needed love and economic reassurance. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu received not only an ardent, mi-casa-es-su-casa welcome in Baku, but also promises of more business and energy supplies just as Russia is trying to starve Turkey of both of those things.
Sitting next to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the Turkish prime minister melted into a lengthy toast to kinship between Azerbaijan and Turkey; one country that fate divided in two, he said. Azerbaijan is Turkey’s “soul,” “spiritual homeland,” and Turkey’s ministers are Azerbaijan’s ministers, in
For Azerbaijan, which relies on heavily on Turkey for energy transit projects and efforts to reclaimed breakaway Nagorno Karabakh, this means, in theory, that Turkey’s problems are Azerbaijan’s problems. “Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and politics have a stabilizing effect on the region,” said Azerbaijan’s Aliyev.
mindful of Moscow
, Azerbaijan’s Soviet-era overlord and still the region’s traditional mover-and-shaker, Aliyev avoided calling Russia by name. After all, of late,
Baku and the Kremlin
have been making nice. Instead, Aliyev noted, diplomatically broadly, that “stability in the region has been regrettably disturbed, with new risks and threats taking shape.”
“We should be ready and we are ready for these challenges,” he added, without elaboration.
Davutoğlu, ever the dear relative, remained poetic. “Our great leader Heydar Aliyev [the iconic late president of Azerbaijan and father of the current president] said ‘one nation, two states…’[Famous Azerbaijan poet] Bakhtiyar Vahabzade said ‘Turkey and Azerbaijan are two sons of one mother.’”
“We, too, have missed the wind of Baku,” the prime minister continued. “We have come to revel in this love.”
For all the diplomatic lyricism, the two men were ultimately talking business. They agreed to expedite the TANAP project, their shared major gas export pipeline. Among pay-back measures against Turkey for the November 24 downing of Russia’s SU-24 fighter jet, Moscow on December 3 suspended its
Turkish Stream pipeline
project, leaving billions of dollars and billions of cubic meters of gas meant for Turkey and Europe in limbo.
Aliyev said that Turkey will get all the gas Azerbaijan can give and promised to invest $20 billion in the Russian-boycotted Turkish economy.
Meanwhile, as Davutoğlu and Aliyev were showering each other with affection,
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
continued threatening Turkey off-scene. “We will again, more than once remind them of what they did, and we will make them regret it more than once,” he said.
Originally published by