Importance of Zangezur corridor for the region explained With opening of Zangezur corridor running through Azerbaijan, Armenia, economic, logistic, and political ties of Turkic world will strengthen

Importance of Zangezur corridor for the region explained With opening of Zangezur corridor running through Azerbaijan, Armenia, economic, logistic, and political ties of Turkic world will strengthen

*The writer is an international expert focusing on foreign policy and security.

ISTANBUL 

The Zangezur corridor is located in a region that is of interest to several countries including Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Türkiye.

 

1. Why does the opening of the Zangezur corridor matter?

The victory of Azerbaijan at the end of the Second Karabakh War led to the reshaping of the balance of power in the region. According to the agreement signed at the end of the war, Armenia was expected to withdraw from the lands it had held for nearly 30 years. It was stated that the new transportation corridors would be implemented thanks to the peaceful environment created after the war. The new transportation corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan was one of the most important articles of the agreement.

If implemented effectively, a route that will run through the Caspian and Türkiye between Central Asia and Europe will exist with unrestricted access. Therefore, there would be an increase in Türkiye's trade volume not only with Azerbaijan but also with the entire Middle East region. With the opening of the Zangezur corridor, the economic, logistic, and political ties of the Turkic states will be strengthened. The Zangezur corridor has the potential to be the rising star of the Turkic world.​

 

2. What are the roles of actors in the Zangezur corridor?

The Zangezur corridor is located in a region that is of interest to several countries including Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Türkiye.

On the one hand, Azerbaijan, which defeated Armenia to liberate its occupied territories, is also sending gas to Türkiye and Europe through the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), and trying to strengthen its ties with several countries, especially increasing its influence on the Organization of Turkic States.

On the other hand, Iran is making extraordinary efforts to be a dominant power in the region through various ways, such as establishing relations with non-state actors and imposing nuclear ambitions. But at the same time, the Middle Eastern country was rocked by nationwide protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody, and could not use their hydrocarbon resources due to embargoes. In other words, the two neighboring countries are trying to establish a sphere of influence in the region.

Iran, which sees itself as a regional power, fears that Azerbaijan will become an attractive destination for Iranian Azerbaijanis, and anticipates that with the opening of the Zangezur corridor, its connection to the Black Sea will be prevented since its link with Armenia will be removed. This situation is considered a border change and geostrategic regression to Iran's detriment.

For Iran, this is perceived as not being able to reach the Black Sea and Russia, slashing its influence on the Caucasus, and losing its power to be a transit country on the Belt Road. Aside from all these perceptions and arguments of Tehran, the main reason for Iran’s concern over the Zangezur corridor is about Türkiye and Azerbaijan’s potential active roles in the region. Thanks to the solidarity and military cooperation between Ankara and Baku in the Second Karabakh War, the two actors stand out as rising powers in the region. In this case, it is seen that Iran does not want the balance of power in the region to change to its detriment, so it sharpens its rhetoric.

According to Article 9 of the cease-fire deal, Russia will retain control over the Zangezur corridor, which enables Russia to assume a strong position in the region and emphasizes its upper hand over the corridor's control.

 

3. What will the Zangezur Corridor change?

Since several actors have different interests in the Zangezur corridor, the conflicting interests also spark tension in the region. The opening of the corridor will make it easier for all countries in the region to connect and other regions, and tensions will be replaced by new economic ties as well as a boost in prosperity with the strengthening of relations in trade and logistics.

The development of the Trans-Caspian Transport Route (CTN) and the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) means the strengthening of Eurasia's supply lines and transit position. It is necessary to develop a discourse in which the benefits will be brought to the fore for all the countries in the region. In addition, new ideas and solution proposals can be implemented if ways are sought with common sense to develop commercial and political ties without excluding any regional actors.

The future of the Zangezur corridor and how security will be provided there must be on the agenda of the countries in the region. The Zangezur corridor may be the shining star of the Turkic world, but the uncertainties need to be removed to take advantage of its potential.

Turning this region, which is a historical Turkish homeland, into a shining star is directly related to the development and sustainability of wealth, prosperity, and multidimensional cooperation in the region.

 

**Opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.

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