Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is deeply worried about a possible rapprochement
between Armenia and Turkey. A thaw and a newly open border would mean that Azerbaijan would lose what little leverage it has over the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
What's more Aliyev's government is upset that Turkey seems to be approaching this normalization with Armenia without consulting Baku.
Speaking at a National Security Meeting on April 6, Aliyev said, "We will not interfere in bilateral relations between other countries, but it is our right to behave in reaction to any new situation which may arise in the region."
In response, the Azerbaijani government has launched an unprecedented nationwide media campaign, with prominent public officials and influentials criticizing any potential Turkish rapprochement with Armenia and appealing to Ankara to consider Azerbaijani interests in the matter.
But while Ankara is certainly taking Baku's concerns seriously, it seems to be moving forward regardless.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Istanbul, attending a press conference today with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, reported that the minister said that other countries should be sensitive while Turkey was normalizing relations with Armenia.
The main question in all this is that even if Turkey does open its border with Armenia, what can, or will, Baku do about it?
Baku will gain little by undermining its historical relations with Turkey. Baku's oil and gas strategy is almost entirely dependent
on Turkey. And relations with Turkey are so important for Baku, when push comes to shove they will likely just have to find a compromise.
The famous slogan of late Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev, "One Nation, Two States," is facing a real challenge now.
-- Kenan Aliyev