Why has the Lachin corridor been under Azerbaijani blockade for 23 days?

No one is writing about it, so let us.

For over 20 days now, people in Karabakh have been cut off from the outside world. The Lachin corridor, held by Russian peacekeeping forces who are responsible for ensuring security in the area, has now been under the control of Azerbaijani “activists” for 23 days.

As such, neither food, nor medicine, nor cash can enter the country.

On the one side, there is Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s efforts which continue in vain; on the other, a world that has shut its eyes and turned its back, as if waiting for Karabakh to fade from existence.

Meanwhile, Turkish media is busy filming tourism programs in Shushi.

NTV recently produced a “let’s travel and see” program in Shushi without sparing a single sentence to mention Armenians in 45 minutes.

There is no reason to expect any better from the mainstream media, but alternative media are also waiting idly.

No one writes about it, so let us write.

No one sees, so let us look.

The Karabakh government announced that the mine Azerbaijani “eco-activists” had been protesting has been temporarily closed to provide better service later while the blockade of the Lachin corridor, the only connection the 120,00 Armenians in Karabakh have to Armenia, persists. Yet, this did not help end the blockade.

The Aliyev administration has achieved its goals once more. The aim was for the company that employs 1800 people to be shut down. This company is also the largest source of tax revenue for the Karabakh government.

A vital economic lifeline was thus severed.

The notion that Azerbaijani permission is required for all activity in Karabakh and that the region must pay its taxes to Azerbaijan, based on the assumption that Karabakh is within Azerbaijani territory, forms the basis of all this pressure.

On the other hand, the Armenian world was reminded yet again of the vital importance of the Lachin corridor if Karabakh is to remain autonomous.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attended the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States to personally convey his message to Russian leader Putin on this issue. The news that made its way to the press reported that Pashinyan voiced his criticisms to Putin that the peacekeepers in Lachin were not fulfilling their duty. According to news that did not appear in the press, however, wild theories that Armenia might consider leaving the Collective Security Treaty Organization were being discussed.

The explanation that came out of Russia was also interesting. Spokesperson Zakharova spoke along the lines of, “worse situations have been experienced. Russia is trying to deescalate the situation.”

All this goes to show that the problem in Karabakh is not one that will be resolved easily and might even be sowing the seeds of a great war.

In this regard, the International Crisis Group has already pointed to the Armenia-Azerbaijan border as a conflict area that is a possible site of war in 2023.


On the one hand, Iran does not take kindly to any Nakhchivan-Azerbaijan connection — that is, a potential Zangezur corridor passing through Armenia's southern border that will be completely under Azerbaijani control — whereas Armenia has no patience for a Zangezur that will pass through its territory yet be outside its control.

This enclave system* used by the Soviet Union to hinder the dominance of a single nation within its member states has evidently deeply rooted itself in the countries of the Southern Caucasus.

Because Armenia wants the Zangezur corridor to exist — so long as it exists under its control — as this will allow it to protect itself against a Lachin corridor that might fall under Azerbaijan’s control.

Many other political scientists have said the same for Azerbaijan.

That is to say, Azerbaijan was compelled to put Lachin aside if it entertained any hope for a future Zangezur corridor. Amidst all the theories and news, this reality also exists.

This was a theory heavily criticized in Armenia after it was voiced by Gerard Libaridian, once the senior adviser of the first President of Armenia Ter Petrosyan who met with many Armenian politicians and shared his views on Armenia-Turkey relations and the Azerbaijani crisis with statesmen.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe, Libaridian responded to the question, “Why hasn’t Aliyev taken Karabakh despite all its military superiority?” by saying that Aliyev might need leverage to advance towards Turkey and perhaps for this reason, he may want to prolong the use of a corridor in Lachin through which transport can occur even when he has the military power.

It is a logical question. You have Shushi. You have leverage. You most certainly do not listen to either Russia and Europe or the United States. Why stop now?

It is clear that Aliyev cares little for many of his own military losses.

While the wailing of mothers during the demonstrations for the soldiers who died in Baku were circulating on alternative Azerbaijani channels, we have not yet heard a single voice from Aliyev and his government.


Perhaps what Aliyev wants is to create an Armenian minority, ensnared and dependent on him, within the borders of Azerbaijan.

Libaridian has offered opinions on this topic as well. In his lectures at universities and other speeches since 2018, Libaridian has espoused the view that Karabakh Armenians will meet the same end as Turkey Armenians.

Though I do not fully agree with this view, it does have his merits.

The fact that the disadvantaged situation of the Armenian community in Turkey is constantly held over Turkey’s head through EU reports, and that Turkey tries to put on the show that Armenians enjoy equal citizenship rights, must have suggested to Aliyev that he could learn a thing or two from Erdogan on this matter.

Aliyev seems to have learned his lesson from Erdogan.

The situation of 120,000 Armenians, who will be bound to Azerbaijan according to the law, presents Azerbaijan with a bargaining chip that can be used continuously in energy deals with the EU and arms deals with the USA.

So, what does Aliyev want now?

Although the case of the corridor, which he has held closed for 23 days, has been covered by several international agencies, the situation has not received any response from governments besides weak voices of “we are concerned.”

What this means for the potential corridor in Nakhchivan is that the bargaining chip falls a little short as the necessary international attention has not been garnered.

There is no doubt that Aliyev’s approach to Karabakh Armenians is a genocidal policy.

Closing the country's only transport route is a war strategy.

Why does Aliyev, who persistently claims that "Karabakh Armenians are our citizens" fight a war with the very people he expects to acquiesce to being his citizens?

Does this recall the Talat and Enver of 107 years ago, who said, “Armenians are Ottoman citizens?”

I hope that in the time leading up to the election, the Turkish public realizes that no peaceful neighbors remain around it.

Those who have pushed the country from "0 problems" to "war on all sides" while going to the ballot box, must be held accountable.

*In political geography, a political region that exists within the borders of an entirely separate political region is called an “anklav” from the French, “Enclave” meaning “land”

*Aris Nalci: He began to work at Agos in 1998 with Hrant Dink and his colleagues. He took on various roles as news director, editor, and editor-in-chief. He presented programs on IMC television and for some time took on the position of news director. In the same period, he worked as the editor and presenter of Gamurc – Kopru, Turkey’s first program about minorities which continues on ARTI TV. At various civil society organizations, Nalci worked in the field of minority rights, created exhibitions, and wrote reports. He is one of the editors of the book “1965.” He is also the translator of the book “Paramazlar,” published by Evrensel and Kor publications.

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