"Zangezur Goyche Republic" opens contact office in Ankara
It has gone largely unnoticed by the global public that Turkish state media reported on 7 September, six days before Azerbaijan launched coordinated attacks against Armenia on 13 September, that a contact office of the "Zangezur Goyche Republic" has been opened in Turkish capital Ankara.
Armenia's Zangezur region, located in the Syunik Province, is referred to as the "Zangezur Corridor" by Turkey and Azerbaijan, who attribute strategic importance to the region as it links Azerbaijani territory to the Nakhchivan Autonomus Republic, bordered on the west by Turkey.
As Nakhchivan is a landlocked exclave of Azerbaijan, opening of the "Zangezur Corridor" to transportation will signify an uninterrupted land route from Turkey to Azerbaijan, and to the rest of the so-called Turkic countries.
While Ankara and Baku have repeatedly urged Yerevan to fulfill its obligation to open the "corridor," referring to the ceasefire agreement signed at the end of the 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the agreement neither specifies Zangezur as the route for the lines, or says anything about Armenia giving up some of its sovereignty rights along the route.
The ninth article of the agreement says:
"All economic and transport connections in the region shall be unblocked. The Republic of Armenia shall guarantee the security of transport connections between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to arrange unobstructed movement of persons, vehicles and cargo in both directions. The Border Guard Service of the Russian Federal Security Service shall be responsible for overseeing the transport connections."
Aliyev: "Azerbaijan will return to Zangezur, whether Armenia wants it or not"
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said during a TV interview on 20 April 2021 that Azerbaijan will return to Zangezur, whether Armenia wants it or not.
“The creation of the Zangezur corridor fully meets our national, historical and future interests. We are implementing the Zangezur Corridor, whether Armenia wants it or not. If she wants, we will solve this issue easier, if she does not want, we will solve it by force," he said.
“Just as I said before and during the war, they must free themselves from our lands, or we will expel them by force. And so it happened. The same will be the fate of the Zangezur corridor. Our main rival is time, because the construction of a railway and a highway takes time. Therefore, all forces have been mobilized to implement this project. Thus, the Azerbaijani people will return to Zangezur, which was taken away from us 101 years ago."
Mysterious emergence of "Goycha Zangezur Republic"
A Twitter account for a "Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zangezur" was quietly established in February.
The first tweet of the "ministry" was a condemnation of "the total destruction of all Azerbaijani cultural heritage in Karabakh and in Zangezur."
The Twitter account has 171 followers, most sounding like nicknames.
Exactly seven months after the first tweet, Ihlas News Agency and Dogan News Agency, both Turkish government media, announced on 7 September that "Goyche Zangezur Republic's first contact office in Turkey was opened in Ankara."
Not only the two news agencies, but dailies including a once reliable Milliyet went on to report on the opening of the contact office, contributing to an impression that the "Goyche Zangezur Republic" is a political entity that has been recognized by at least a part of the global community.
While the "president" and "ministers" of the "republic" were reported taking part in the opening ceremony, no Turkish official was mentioned attending.
A local MSN website earlier reported in mid August on an address by the "deputy president" of the "Goyche Zangezur Republic."
A statement by the "foreign minister" of the "republic" was published by Azerbaijani media as early as late April, but it remains to be discovered when exactly the "republic" was founded.