The Debate

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Spiralling violence risks pulling in regional powers

THE DEBATE © France 24

Tonight we look at Nagorno-Karabakh through the eyes of the powers behind the conflict which started on September 27. The death toll can only be put as an estimate: at least 600 so far.  While Armenia and Azerbaijan are at loggerheads over the ownership of the enclave, there are other powers who also are taking a keen interest. Among them, Turkey.


Nagorno-Karabakh was named by the Russians in pre-Soviet times. It has always been an enclave of Armenians separated from Armenia by a mountain range. As the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, the autonomous region declared independence, and a war erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 1994, Russia brokered a cease-fire, and Nagorno-Karabakh has since been in a frozen conflict, with the exception of minor skirmishes.


So why is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan making this a key foreign policy issue? What exactly is Ankara's interest in the region? Can Erdogan’s worldview of Turkey be achieved through conflict, in Syria, in Libya, and, most recently, in Nagorno-Karabakh?

Caught in the middle, the region’s civilians, mostly Christian Armenians, are under fire in an enclave which has been the centre of a dispute for almost as long as it has existed. Estimates say over 70 civilians have been killed in the latest conflict so far.

Produced by Andrew Hilliar, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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