Former State Minister of Artsakh Ruben Vardanyan was arrested on Wednesday, September 27 by Azerbaijani authorities while trying to leave Artsakh. Azerbaijani media outlets report that he has been transferred to Baku. Shortly after his arrest, the spokesperson of the Republic of Armenia’s Representative for International Legal Issues, Hasmik Samvelyan, announced that the Armenian government has applied to the European Court of Human Rights for the protection of Vardanyan. The representative has demanded Baku provide information about Vardanyan’s whereabouts and his current condition.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a one-day visit on Monday to Nakhichevan upon the invitation of his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. Erdogan and Aliyev discussed bilateral relations, as well as regional and global issues, particularly the recent developments in Artsakh. Ankara and Baku agreed in 2020 to supply natural gas from Turkey to Nakhichevan in a memorandum of understanding. The new 85-kilometer-long gas pipeline will run from Turkey’s eastern province of Igdir to Sederek in Nakhichevan. During the groundbreaking ceremony of the pipeline, Aliyev said, “Unfortunately, Soviet leaders took western Zangezur (referring to the Syunik region of Armenia) from Azerbaijan. Because of this, the land connection between the main part of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan was cut.” A military complex was also opened during the ceremony.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation about the ongoing crisis in Artsakh. Putin spoke about the activities of the Russian peacekeeping troops, including the provision of humanitarian aid to the civilian population and the protection of the rights and security of the Armenian population of Artsakh. The presidents of Russia and Iran emphasized the importance of solving all issues exclusively by peaceful, political and diplomatic means. Bilateral interest has appeared in the activation of the “3+3” consultation platform (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, Turkey).
While returning from Nakhichevan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his commitment to opening the Syunik Corridor (which he refers to as the Zangezur Corridor). In a conversation with journalists, Erdogan said, “The opening of the Zangezur Corridor is a strategic issue and will undoubtedly be implemented.” Erdogan again called Nakhichevan “a gate opening to the Turkic world.” Erdogan expects that Armenia will express willingness to compromise on the matter, rather than prolonging the process. He is adamant that the direct line of communication with Nakhichevan by automobile and railway lines will further strengthen their relationship with Azerbaijan. “That is why we will make every effort to open that corridor as soon as possible. When that corridor opens, a car or train departing from Baku can reach Kars directly. The Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood will become even stronger,” says Erdogan.